BLOG Being Human Better Than Ever?

Steven Ellis explains why he has finally become a Being Human fan

 

I have a confession to make; I’ve never really been a big fan of Being Human. My other half and most of my friends raved about the show and SFX have always said wonderful things about it, but I’ve never really understood what everyone was on about.

I’m not saying Being Human is a bad show. It just wasn’t my kind of show. I think I would have given up on it a while ago if my other half hadn’t wanted to watch it. Now the opposite is true. She doesn’t watch the show anymore; she lost interest towards the end of series three. I, on the other hand, came back for series four. And I’m glad I did because I’m enjoying the show more than ever.

I almost didn’t come back. The third series really had stretched my patience and when I heard that the show was going to be losing both Sinead Keenan and Russell Tovey, after the loss of Aidan Turner last year, I thought the show was lost.

I could have survived the loss of Turner; I was never a fan of the Mitchell character. But Keenan and Tovey I did like, they were the heart of the show and I was worried whether it could survive without them.

As I said I’ve never been the biggest fan of the show, I’ve always felt it was a bit hit and miss with fleeting glimpses of a wider world that are either reworked in future episodes or never referenced again. I always thought individual episodes were better than the whole and stand alone storylines always outshone any series arcs.

I’ve also always found the week to week guest cast much more interesting than the main cast. I always wanted more of characters such as Lucy, Herrick, Tom, McNair, Ivan, Daisy and Nancy. And Sinead Keenan’s Nina, who also started out as a guest star, was always my stand out favourite character. I was glad they made her a main cast member, although during series two I was constantly scared that the character would be killed off… (Premature but not wrong!)

We all know that in the world of TV, shows sometimes lose cast members; actors want to move on, storylines demand sacrifices, contract negotiations fail… Whatever the reason, these things happen and shows must either re-cast or introduce new characters. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. One or two cast member changes are usually easy to absorb – odds are that there will always be other fan favourites to ease the changes – but when faced with replacing three major cast members in one go it could be a real sink or swim situation. So, with everything that surrounded the end of series three and the news of cast members leaving before the start of series four I was filled with trepidation to say the least.

[Read SFX’s Being Human Series 4 reviews]

I’m here to say I couldn’t have been more wrong. So far I’ve enjoyed series four far more than any of the previous years. Tom and Hal have much more chemistry in six episodes than George and Mitchell had in the previous 22. George and Mitchell were supposed to feel like the odd couple. Hal and Tom actually are the Odd Couple.

I’m glad to see Michael Socha’s Tom elevated to the main cast member as the werewolf replacement for George; he was one of the highlights of series three and is a worthy addition to the cast. New vampire Hal, played by Damien Molony, is the best thing about the revamped (excuse the pun) show for me, and that has nothing to do with the fact that he reminds me of my inner OCD clean freak at all. Molony brings a character who seems genuinely horrified by his past, a character who is aware of what he is, of the monster he can be and who wants to do everything he can to prevent that. And even falling off the wagon he still battles to do the right thing… Whereas with Mitchell I always felt like he just seemed to moan a lot; he blamed the world and anyone he could for his past and his constant tumbles off the blood free wagon. He never seemed particularly repentant or enthusiastic about “going straight” as it were. Especially in series three.

Annie is still the weak link for me, I always got the impression that nobody on the writing staff was exactly sure what to do with her, but even this character seems to be being used more, and to better effect, than in the previous series. I do wonder if this will be Lenora Crichlow’s last season. If so, I think new ghost Alex would be a worthy replacement. The Alex/Hal dynamic has real potential.

As ever with Being Human the guest cast this year has been excellent, I always want to know more about them; Regus, Griffin, Cutler, Fergus and Leo have all been fascinating. Cutler as the big bad this year seems like an interesting change in direction after the more obsessive characters of Herrick and Kemp.

The only character I really miss is Nina. As I said she was my favourite and I feel a little short changed in having her die off screen between series. Nina’s passing is soothed somewhat by the freshness of this new re-cast, revamped show.

I still hold the faint hope that seeing as we didn’t actually see her die she might yet come back… Pipe dream I know, but hey; anything can happen in sci-fi and fantasy can’t it?

As I write this there’s just one episodes to go before the end of series four and I think this year’s Being Human is better than it’s ever been and not only has the change in cast reinvigorated the show, I think it has allowed it to surpass earlier efforts. It has, for me, made it into the show I didn’t get, the show everyone was raving about. Now I get it. Now I’m raving too.

That thing they say about fresh blood… I guess with vampires and other supernatural creatures it’s spot on.

Read our interview with Damien Molony and our interview with Toby Whithouse about “Hold The Front Page”.