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Being Human: There Goes the Neighborhood, Part 1

Josh: "We'll have full moon parties. We'll invite the neighbors over and eat them."

I've been feeling torn by the advent of the new Being Human. I love the UK original (hereafter referred to as BH/UK). It's unique and wonderful and we're reviewing it. Reboots of good stuff usually suck, and I was totally prepared to hate this new version. But – surprise – I don't. It's good.

The producers of BH/US are promising us that they're using BH/UK only as a jumping off point, and they may actually mean it. Yes, part one of the pilot covered some familiar set-up ground, but I wasn't constantly going, hey, deja vu. It feels somewhat the same, but a good bit different.

One of the big changes they made was giving the characters new names. Instead of Mitchell, George and Annie, we now have Aidan, Josh and Sally. I like what the name change implies -- that this is a different series. And I really loved Sam Witwer (Aidan) and Sam Huntington (Josh). They're both strong actors and completely different personality types, but they felt like friends. Yes, I know there are way too many brooding, unhappy vampires on television and in the movies right now, but Witwer was a bright light (in a dark way) on Battlestar Galactica and Smallville; I've been hoping for quite awhile that he would land a good series, and I think he just did. I was less enthralled by Meaghan Rath as Sally, but there wasn't a whole lot of her so I'll reserve judgment.

Although the cliffhanger was werewolf-heavy – will Josh kill his sister Emily? I don't think so – a lot of this episode was about Aidan. The flashback showing Bishop and Aidan taking out a wedding party was pretty nasty. Did Aidan kill the child hiding under the table? Even if he didn't, he's got a seriously evil past to live down. And it's not that much in the past, since he killed one of his workmates at the beginning of this episode, and visited a vamp brothel later on. Aidan finds death beautiful, even though he's trying to give it up. Bishop, the truly scary vampire who turned Aidan and with whom he has a two-hundred-year Lestat/Louis relationship, is going to make it even harder for him.

And how cool is it that Bishop is played by Mark Pellegrino, who guest starred on both Lost and Supernatural last year? Did they do that on purpose to pull me in? Because it's working.

Bits and pieces:

— Josh has been away from his family for two years.

— Josh and Aidan work at the Suffolk County Hospital in Boston. New England. Little ha-ha there.

— Vampires don't eat in this version. That's different, because Mitchell definitely eats.

— The actor who plays Mitchell on BH/UK is Aidan Turner. I don't suppose they did that deliberately?

— I particularly liked that Aidan didn't care if their landlord Danny (Sally's fiance) thought he and Josh were a couple, while Josh was having a cow.

— I loved the comment that everything Sally knows about ghosts came from Whoopi Goldberg.

— The empty picture frame they put over the fireplace was this episode's Most Obvious Symbolism. They're trying to define themselves and so far, their humanity is only an outer shell.

Quotes:

Sally: "How can you see me?"
Aidan: "Think of us as sort of different countries on the same continent."
Josh: "Omigod, that's beautiful. Really. We're Africa."

Sally: "At least I don't masturbate to Nova."

Bishop: "You don't call, you don't write, you move in with a werewolf..."

I'm not ready to take BH/US on permanently -- not on the strength of one episode -- but I'm looking forward to part two. What did you guys think? I'd love to know.

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

9 comments:

  1. I can't get into this show, US or UK. It doesn't click for me.

    Although, because I was committed to watching the pilot all the way through, I am glad that I finally had the chance to really clean all that grime off of my remote controls, do the dishes, straighten the desk, mop, clean the sides of the refrigerator...

    Perhaps I should just schedule an hour of cleaning on Mondays at 9/8 central.

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  2. I had the same reaction to you, Billie. I didn't particularly want to like this. But I did. I suppose I don't see the point of American remakes. I can understand if maybe a show is in a different language. Then it makes sense (although subtitles are fine too). But I'd be mortified if someone made an British version of Lost, BSG or Dexter. There's no need. I might miss the odd cultural reference, but, more often than not you know you've missed something, look it up, and you're suddenly in the picture. We have the internet now. We're an international community. These things really aren't that hard.

    Whining aside, as I liked the original series, since US/BH didn't stray too far from that template, I liked this one too. I do hope there are differences as the series progresses. Otherwise I'll already know all of the twists and turns and there'll be a distinct lack of drama. But an encouraging first episode. I liked all the characters and loved the feel of the show. It's certainly better than I was expecting.

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  3. I'm having trouble with BH/US. Mainly because I've committed myself to BH/UK. I have yet to actually watch the episode, but I'm thinking of tentatively having a look. After the travesty that is the US version of SKINS, I'm curious to see how this version will work.

    I do like Sam Witwer and Mark P. They might be able to get me to watch it.

    And I do love the little nods to the original series.

    Based on your review, Billie, I think I'm willing to give the US version a chance. A little one. Aidan is no Mitchell.

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  4. Yes, I too find myself liking this one a LOT more than I expected to.

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  5. This one pleasantly surprised me. I definitely will keep watching more of it.

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  6. a way way WAY better remake than the american version of Skins. I found BH/UK a bit hard to get sucked into, but this pilot seemed a lot more accessible for me, maybe its because they had prettier people in it ;)

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  7. I liked this episode (and haven't yet seen the UK original). But I don't have a problem with the idea of remakes in general. To my thinking, it's similar to when a book I love is made into a film; even if the film is a disappointment, it's not as if the book has been erased.

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  8. The reason for remakes is that although we both spreak English, America clearly doesn't speak yours. The same goes for liostening to it. We understand the majority of Brit-speak but, let's face it... like the American South, Brit-speak can swing wildly in accent (to the US, at least). Add to that local/cultural references, legendary Brit-slang and well.. we tend to get lost. I really don't think it's that we think we can make it better.. it's just that we can make it more familiar. (That plus they don't have to pay syndication rotalties.)

    Love your review. :)

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