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Being Human, North American style | April 13, 2011

(It’s not a US show, it’s a Canadian show, filmed in Canada, made by a Canadian production company. SyFy just happens to the biggest network licensing the show, so everyone calls it a US show. Sheesh.)

Okay, Being Human, the UK version, is one of the best shows on tv, period. Of all time. It’s amazing, it’s serious, it’s funny, it’s engaging, the stories are tight, compelling, the actors are amazing, it’s sexy, it’s violent, the writers will punch you in the nuts, rip your heart out and you will come back for more.

When I heard that SyFy had picked up a version of the show, set in Boston, I was excited. I wanted to see how they would handle the story of a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf, living in Boston. Now, I’m one of those rare folk who don’t wank and wangst about “how dare they try to make their own version, wah wah wah” when a show I love is opted for North American tv. (Like Life on Mars. The first episode of the UK show, I thought to myself, “Man, I would love to see a show like this but set in America.” We did get it, and it wasn’t bad, except for that horrible ending.)

Anyhow. I’m rambling. (I do that.) In a nutshell, I’m a HUGE fan of the UK show, and was anxious to see how the North American version would play out. When it first aired, I was a bit “meh” for the first couple episodes, and it slowly picked up, but it was still… lacking. I was having trouble CARING for the characters – and that’s the biggest strength about the UK show – you love George, Mitchell and Annie. When George is being mamby-pamby about Nina, you’re frustrated, and you want to smack him in the back of the head and yell at him to kiss her.

When Josh (the werewolf, like George) is being wishy-washy about Nora, you just get irritated for the first few episodes she’s in. It’s not the same.

Part of the problem is that, at the same time the NA show was airing, the UK show was airing its 3rd series. The 3rd series that just happens to be the best one yet. (Sure, it starts off slow, it’s called setting up for the most fucking awesome 2nd half of a show ever.) Especially once we got into the last four episodes of the UK show (it only ran 8 episodes), watching that and then watching the NA version… I don’t think I could give the show a fair shake.

So I stopped. After episode #8 of the NA, I saw episode #8 of the UK S3 (and, honestly, if you don’t cry during that episode, either you’re a robot, you’re dead or you’re just an asshole), and there was no way I could watch the NA show. Even though, at the end of episode #8, they had their biggest deviation from the established story line, when the douchebag vampire goes to the old ones in Pennsylvania to rat out what Bishop is up to. Even though that registered and I said, wow, this is something completely different, something new, and I’m excited… once I saw S3E8, there was no way I could watch any more of the NA show for a while and give it a fair shake. I knew that. So, I stopped.

Last night, I picked up where I left off, watched episode 9. WOW. I was impressed. I’d waited the proper amount of time, and it clicked, and it was going places. So today, I watched the last four, episodes 10 through 13. And they delivered the right combination of story from the first season of the UK show, adapted for North American sensibilities, plus they took inspiration from S2 *AND* S3, mixed it in, and then added some of their own.

And it clicked, it snapped, it smacked you in the face (not quite as effective as a punch to the nuts, and that’s a great way to compare the two shows – the NA is very good, the UK show is one of the best shows ever.) They played with our minds a couple times, especially in the season finale; those of us who saw the UK show said, “Oh, I know how this is going to end… oh, wait, they’re not… oh, yes they are, I see what they… holy fuck, they didn’t. Wow.”

I’m impressed, and I want more – more deviation from the UK plots. Sure, there’s plenty they’re doing (the stuff with Nora, for instance), but there’s no reason they can’t go their own way. They’ve established a background and a world that is not the exact same as the UK show, and that’s what I wanted. (That’s another thing I don’t get – I know there are people complaining because that’s not how it happened in the UK show, or that’s not what went on or whatever – if you want the same plot, watch the UK show again! Sheesh!)

So, if you haven’t given it a chance, go ahead, you may well be surprised. If you started giving it a chance, and gave up… well, I encourage you to try again. It’s good tv, it really is.


Posted in Telly

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