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Let me start by saying that I am a watched-from-the-beginning, major fan of the original BBCAmerica Being Human series. I have to specify “series” because I have never seen the pilot, which I have been informed had a different cast and feel. It seems like history is repeating itself in the SyFy re-working of the series – it also has a different cast and feel. It is also, I am happy to report, brilliant. If you are a fan of the UK series, read on to see how the specifics compare. If you have not seen the UK series, no worries, I will not spoil any potential future plot points here.
Mitchell (Aidan Turner), George (Russell Tovey) and Annie (Lenora Crichlow) are now Aidan – notably, the first name of the actor who plays Mitchell (Sam Witer), Josh (Sam Huntington) and Sally (Meaghan Rath). There are other differences, some large, some small, which affect this series. Right from the start, Aidan is poetic and narrates; Annie narrated in the UK version. The UK’s Mitchell is gorgeous, but not, strictly speaking, poetic. Josh is OCD. George probably is as well, but also seems a bit… naïve? Definitely different. Annie was sweet and bubbly, also wrecked and devastated. Sally is sweet but less bubbly, and her fear is spelled out specifically; she is afraid she will disappear permanently if she leaves the house. Herrick (Jason Watkins) is now Bishop, played in a very different, yet equally sinister way by LOST alum Mark Pellegrino – less formal, more chummy, but still chilling.
The first episode really takes a lot of its source material from the opening narration and montage of the UK opening. We actually see Aidan and Josh deciding to look for an apartment, which gave Josh a nice opportunity to outline what his life has been like as a werewolf and supports the theme of their need to lean on each other for support. Aidan’s attack on the nurse happens then – not more than 3 months earlier. The investigation into her disappearance is the introduction for the audience to the interaction between Aidan and Bishop.
Josh’s discomfort with Sally is well done, and underscores how uncomfortable he is with his life on the dark side. Aidan, on the other hand, has been a vampire for twice as long as the UK’s Mitchell (Bishop referenced knowing each other for 200 years), though vampire blood lust as drug addiction remains as it is in the original series.
Sally “can’t even move dust,” a wonderful line, so she may have a harder row to hoe than Annie, who at the beginning of the series was making endless cups of tea just because she could. It will be interesting to see how they develop the character of her former fiance Danny, and whether or not he will have the same… well never mind, no spoilers for you who have not seen the UK series.
The one thing that made me slightly uncomfortable was the way we were not told that Jackie is Josh’s sister until we had seen her three times. I am sure I was not the only one to think that she was his former girlfriend. Jackie is an entirely new character; therefore, the basis for an exceptionally good cliffhanger. No one knows what is going to happen! If Josh kills his sister, or if he even scratches her, or if she even sees him start to transform, which is likely… I, for one, am so interested to see what they are going to do with this!
I love the original Being Human series for the character interaction, great storylines and great scripts; the wonderful acting talent, and the visceral, but not overwhelming, supernatural themes. Although it is definitely an American vibe, it is equally good, with enough differences between the original and this re-working to keep fans of the UK version interested, entertained, and coming back for more. Thank you SyFy for respecting an excellent show and adapting it so gracefully.
My favorite line was when Josh spied an intruder:
Josh: “Should we call 911?”
Aidan: “You’re a WEREWOLF.”