Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Being Human...in Boston

I never formally blogged about the original British version of Being Human although I did use it to answer a Thursday Talk last summer. I liked it because it reminded me a little of Buffy in how it could be really funny and witty but it could also be really dark and violent. When I heard that SyFy was going to remake the show for American TV, I had mixed feelings. While I can see why the concept was appealing, I was a little skeptical of SyFy and honestly, I just wondered what the point was. And after watching the premiere of the US version, I still kind of have that question.

The US version's characters and casting stay pretty closely in line with the original. There's Aidan, the dark and brooding vampire (they strangely seemed to have named him after the actor who plays the vampire in the British version, Aidan Turner); Josh, the boyish and neurotic werewolf; and Sally, the ambiguously ethnic ghost whose house the other two move into. There's also Bishop (played by Mark Pellegrino with really bizarre hair color or a wig or something), a powerful older vampire who masquerades as a police officer. Aidan and Josh both work at a hospital, and Sally died in the house where she lived with her fiance, though she doesn't remember how. Aidan wears leather jackets, Josh is Jewish, and Sally is even permanently wearing the same kind of outfit (leggings and long cardigan) that Annie wore in the original. All this was lifted from the original.

But the story is a litle different. In the original, the three characters are already living together whereas here, we start at the beginning where Aidan and Josh move in together and meet Sally. There are also some different supporting characters, like Josh's sister Emily. I had hoped this meant that the writers would be going off in their own directions with these characters, but the preview at the end seems to indicate that they will be recycling some of the storylines from the British version.

So, I don't know. I do like Sam Huntington as Josh, which is saying a lot considering Russell Tovey is the werewolf in the original and I LOVE him. Sam Witwer is pretty but a little wooden as Aidan and I don't really see that potential for viciousness that a vampire should have. He's not outright terrible though. And there wasn't enough of Sally so I can't really comment on her yet. I thought the dramatic moments worked a bit better than the times they were trying to be light or funny but overall it was pretty watchable. I just wonder why they decided to stick so closely to the basic character setup. Especially with the British series still going on, it might be kind of weird to watch both.

I'm interested to know what people who haven't even heard of the original think of it though. It's impossible for me not to compare the two and I'm inclined to be loyal to the one that came first...


burkie said...

jenn, i don't know if i'll get around to watching this or not, to be honest. but, i have to say that i love, love, love the fact that YOU are watching it, and watching the original British version as well! you're giving them a chance to win you over on places like BBC America and the ScyFy network, but then you hold them accountable. so, just wanted to say that i appreciate it!

Kevin said...

I thought it was pretty ok, I'll keep watching for now.