Blu-Ray Review: BBC’s ‘Being Human’ Gets Better With Every Episode

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CHICAGO – When I first reviewed the BBC American premiere of “Being Human” it was framed in terms of potential and how the program wasn’t as instantly addictive as some of network’s other spectacular imports. Now that I’ve seen the spectacular first season, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD in time for the season two premiere on July 24th, 2010, I’m happy to report that I’m painfully addicted to the fascinating saga of Mitchell, George, and Annie and their attempts at “Being Human.” Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke — a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost share a flat together. And yet the brilliance of “Being Human” is in how completely the writers both give in to the ridiculousness of their set-up and transcend it. You can keep the melodrama of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” I’ll take the heartfelt tale of three young outcasts striving to keep their humanity in a world where we all seem to be losing a bit of our own with each passing year.

Being Human: Season One was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 20th, 2010
Being Human: Season One was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 20th, 2010
Photo credit: Touchpaper Television and BBC America

“Being Human” definitely contains elements of creature fiction that will be familiar to those currently on the bloodsucking bandwagon. Like HBO’s “True Blood,” vampires, ghosts, and werewolves are one hundred percent real and living among us. And like the “Twilight” series, they are all longing for contact that their alter ego has denied them.

Being Human: Season One was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 20th, 2010
Being Human: Season One was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 20th, 2010
Photo credit: Warner Bros./BBC Home Video

The trio of misfits at the core of “Being Human” are Mitchell (Aidan Turner), George (Russell Tovey), and Annie (Lenora Crichlow). The charismatic Mitchell is the bloodsucking creature of the night, the poor ladies man who knows all too well that his dark side is as accessible as turning on a switch. George is the awkward werewolf, a mild-mannered young man during the day who becomes a bit hairy under the light of a full moon. Annie is the ghost, a poor girl who haunts the flat into which George and Mitchell move to avoid the potential pitchforks and torches should their secrets be revealed. Most people can’t see Annie. George and Mitchell are not most people.

“Being Human” starts with potential that’s almost immediately delivered upon with a short-but-powerful six-episode season. Every episode plays like a mini-film with startling revelations and incredibly dark twists and turns. Describing where the narrative goes in “Being Human” couldn’t possibly do it justice just as watching a werewolf give an inspirational speech to a ghost about saving a vampire should be ridiculous (and it kind of is) but it’s also all kinds of awesome.

And like the best seasons of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the writers of “Being Human” take relatable dramatic risks. The secret behind Annie’s death, George’s attempts at finding a semblance of human love, Mitchell’s continued flirtations with his dark side — these elements are all handled seriously and with incredible emotional impact by a very talented crew of writers, directors, and performers. Just as an example, there’s a simply amazing scene at the end of episode five that gives Annie a bit of revenge that’s easily one of my favorite of any program of the last few years.

Annie’s arc alone would make “Being Human” worth a look but she’s far from alone. I can’t stress enough how much “Being Human” becomes more engrossing with each passing episode. The season plays out like a 6-act film in the way it builds and I can’t wait to see where they go in season two.

We are undeniably in the age of the vampire. “True Blood,” “The Twilight Saga,” “The Vampire Diaries” - the national appetite for bloodsucking film, fiction, and television seems insatiable. As much as I love the saga of Sookie Stackhouse and how that’s playing out on HBO, I have to admit that if I could keep only one that it would be “Being Human.”

It doesn’t hurt to be in the incredible hands of WB/BBC, who have given the show a spectacular HD transfer on Blu-ray. My satellite provider has yet to offer BBC America in HD and so I wait for Blu-ray and am amply rewarded by one of the best TV video transfers of the year to date. The special features are also notable with deleted scenes, behind the scenes featurettes, video diaries, character profiles, and an interview with creator Toby Whithouse (“Doctor Who,” “Torchwood”).

‘Being Human: Season One’ stars Leonora Crichlow, Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner, Greg Chillin, Jason Watkins, Sinead Keenan, and Annabel Scholey. It was created by Toby Whithouse. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 20th, 2010. content director Brian Tallerico

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