Monday, November 02, 2009

TV NEWS: Syfy is Remaking BBC's "Being Human"

Finally there's a British-to-American adaptation that I'm looking forward to. (Although I do appreciate "The Office.") The Syfy channel is bringing the BBC's "Being Human" concept to their network during the Summer or Fall 2010 season. Syfy shows always do best in summer, so fingers crossed. What makes this one so special is that it's about "three twentysomething roommates—who happen to be a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf—as they help one another navigate the complexities of living double lives." I've seen several episodes of the original and it's actually funny, scary, and heartwearming all at the same time. Check out the cast:

Mitchell = Vampire
Aidan Turner, an Irish 26-year-old, plays your typical vampire—sexy and isolated. He's a WWI hero, who traded his life for the life of his men, allowing an old vampire to turn him in exchange for their release. Of the trio, he represents the one who wishes to integrate himself into human society and behave as normal as possible, which to him means becoming a hospital janitor, buying a house, making friends with the neighbors, and fending off bullies for awkward little kids. He, much like all lovable vampires, longs to be human again, and struggles with his vampiric urges and temptations. He's so desperate for human contact that he even befriends a ghost. His main issue throughout the series is avoiding his old life. He's like a junkie or a former gang member in that his friends, who insist on feeding on humans, try to lure him back into the lifestyle and go to great lengths to leave him with no other choice.

George = Werewolf
Russell Tovey, an English 27-year-old, who you may have seen in the film adaptation of the lovely History Boys, plays your typical unwilling werewolf. He was on vacation with his fiancee when he and another man were attacked by a creature. The other man died, but he was only scratched. When he discovered what he was, he abandoned his family, his fiancee, and any chance of having a scholarly future, and became a hospital porter. Before Mitchell's grand idea to buy a house and act normal, he would go out into the woods every time there was a full moon and turn into the beast that he loathed. He hates himself and his inner beast so much that he deprives himself of nearly all human interaction, which is why his best friend is a vampire. He goes to geat lengths to separate his "condition" from his normal reality, but sometimes even when he's not the beast, the beast controls him. The symptoms of the change, intense anger and a heightened libido, affect his behavior, making him both dangerous and fun to watch. In the first few episodes, we actually get to see his ex-fiancee's reaction to this new side of him, to meet the man who changed him and find out why he did it, and to see him try to maintain a normal relationship with a fellow hospital worker. Oh yeah, and we also get to see him change a lot, which means we see him naked...A LOT.

Annie = Ghost
Lenora Crichlow, an English 24-year-old, plays your typical ghost with unfinished business. She lives in the house that Mitchell and George buy. Her fiancee has been trying to sell it ever since she accidentally fell down the steps and died, but every new owner runs screaming when they realize it's haunted. Mitchell and George are the first "people" to actually see her. Finally, she can get some of her questions answered from other supernatural beings. Mitchell is the most helpful, accepting her neurotic need to make tea every other hour even though she can't drink it, encouraging her to leave the house and wander the city, and introducing her to other ghosts. In the first few episodes, she sees her ex-fiancee and his new girlfriend, she learns what happens when a ghost resolves their issues, and, best of all, she remembers why and how she died. Her story is the saddest, because while Mitchell and George feel biologically unconnected to the rest of the human race, she is physically unconnected. She feels so dead and insignificant that it isn't until she starts to feel more in control of her fate that humans start to see her. There's something special about her death that makes it seem like she'll never move on. This is her afterlife.

The series is fantastic! It does a great job of posing the question of what it means to be human. It's not your DNA, but who you choose to be. I held off on watching the finale, because I wanted to make sure it was renewed before I got too attached. It was and now there'll be an American version. Now I'm not sure if they'll both follow the same plot lines or whether or not they'll go with well-known actors for the lead roles, but I am excited for season 2 of the BBC version. It seemed the first season was gearing up for an all-out battle for the right of "being human." Mitchell's maker and his minions were threatening his makeshift family, and certain tragedies that he causes leads him down a path that his friends might not be able to pull him back from.

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