I don’t watch a lot of television. The stuff I do make an exception for tends to be panel shows like QI, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Have I Got News For You, Nine Out Of Ten Cats, and other things of that ilk. Intelligent humor, satire, political piss-taking. Aside from the occasional film, I haven’t watched any real fiction for a long time.
I also watch rugby sometimes, because falling into a stereotype is easy like that. I support Wales in the six nations because I genuinely enjoy the sense of national pride I get when Wales do well. But I digress.
Recently, I’ve been introduced to the TV series ‘Being Human’. It’s about a ghost called Annie, a werewolf called George and a vampire called Mitchell who all live together and try to act normal. But once you’re dead, nothing is the same again.
They live together in the house in Bristol where Annie was murdered, and George and Mitchell work as a porter and cleaner in a hospital. However, George is plagued by a monthly monster on a whole different scale to PMS, Mitchell is in the bad books of the rest of the vampires of Bristol, and Annie has the small matter of resolving her unfinished business and moving on to the after life to deal with.
I might make it sound quite light and airy, but ‘Being Human’ is gritty and about as realistic as a story about a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf can be. The characters are very believable in everything from their attitudes, reactions, interactions and costume. The setting is familiar and easy to relate to whilst also keeping a sense of mystery and having something quite ethereal and dark.
For these reasons and more (including a very gripping storyline, great cast and very intelligent production and direction) I really enjoyed the first series of the show and can’t wait to watch more.
Amongst the highlights of the series is the theme of…well, being human. Despite their…abnormalities…Annie, Mitchell and George represent certain aspects of being human, certain things about the darker side of the human psyche that other shows have attempted to portray before but been less successful at.
George, the werewolf, represents the side of us all that doesn’t often see the light of day. The countenance of anger, aggression and ferocity hidden behind a pale, pasty, bespectacled hospital porter. We all know how it feels, that flash of rage, the moment of intense anger when someone rubs you up just the wrong way. Well, once a month, George comes face to face with that part of the id and walks away again the next morning.
Annie, the ghost, is more subtle than George. She’s more to do with the psychological damage people can do to one another. I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers, but Annie doesn’t let the person who murdered her get away with it.
The vampire, Mitchell, is all about threat, the unknown and gangs and what people can do with encouragement. The real power of the vampires (in the first series, anyway – I’ve not seen the second or third) is never really shown but is alluded to in such a clever way that you know that there is power and danger there.
All in all, ‘Being Human’ is a very good fictional series and definitely well worth watching.