Saturday, 16 March 2013

Being Human Finale - Review

Sorry for the lack of activity recently – I've been doing a lot of college stuff and once again, Skyrim has me in it's steely grip and I've taken to playing that more than going on the computer and stuff. :P
Anyway, I'm totally choked up with the cold and caught up with the final series of Being Human today after missing it for the last few weeks.
I needed a bit of a rant about it so yeah, sorry in advance for all the moaning and the usual picspam of tumblr gifs. XD

I'll return to the regularly scheduled nonsense soon enough - I need to report back on my little jaunt out at the awards do the other week!


I have loved Being Human since I first saw the advert for its pilot, tucked away in the depths of the Radio Times back in 2008, amongst a list of other potential new BBC programmes that were being shown on BBC 3 to gauge interest. It was the name that first caught my eye, then the synopsis. After all, 'Comedy-drama series about three twenty-something housemates trying to live normal lives, despite struggling with unusual afflictions - one is a werewolf, one is a vampire and the other is a ghost.' is a pretty unique selling point for a series.

I remember sitting through the god-awful 'Phoo Action' pilot which preceded it as I was really worried that I'd miscalculate the time and miss the beginning. iPlayer was still in its infancy back then so if I missed it first time round that would have been it.

When I heard it had been commissioned for a full series I was over the moon – it was so unlike everything else on tv and unlike a lot of fantasy/sci fi dramas, they revelled in the mundane – that's what made it so good. The entire premise was about getting to grips with normality in the face of the paranormal and oh, how they did. While werewolf transformations and rent-a-ghost-ing was all well and good, it was the little things that made it real; the banter, the arguments, the house meetings about cleaning rotas and when The Real Hustle was on – these were real people who just happened to be a vampire trying to go cold turkey, a werewolf in denial and a ghost who couldn't come to terms with her own death.

I read somewhere that originally Being Human was conceived as a non fantasy series with three flatmates trying to deal with problems such as addiction and depression and it's really obvious that it carried over into the actual series with very good results.  (Mitchell – a vampire abstaining from blood was perhaps the most obvious; a recovering drug addict, he fell off the wagon a few times and other people paid the price for it.)


The relationship between George, Mitchell and Annie (and later Nina, then Tom, Hal and Alex) was fantastic...then...not so.



Annie in Purgatory was genius and Mitchell's fall into chaos and subsequent guilt and death, while horrible to come to terms with, was necessary for the plot and for his character's arc to come to a natural end. Though I do wish there had been a way to end it with them all still together, I can see why they didn't so I can't really judge that.

When the next series began, sans Mitchell, I didn't really know what to expect – certainly not that they'd write out two of the main characters within the very first episode!  I can understand that they perhaps wanted to begin again with a new cast but would it have been so hard to let the remaining three – George, Nina and Annie – live happily ever after? It would have certainly been a lot more palatable than killing Nina OFFSCREEN (a horrible bit of writing) and then George, in a ridiculous scene where seemingly all the pre-established rules of the series canon were cast aside in favour of a convenient and bafflingly stupid death. (randomly deciding that a werewolf could somehow force himself to change without the full moon just by thinking about it was incredibly lazy writing and served only as a means to a very disappointing end)
While I liked the new trio of Hal, Tom (previously a recurring side character) and Annie (who was later replaced with Alex) it felt forced and to go from such familiarity to....this, so suddenly left a bad taste in my mouth. The series-long story arcs which had once been so good, now verged on tacky. The last series to this one involved a prophecy surrounding George and Nina's child who would go on to stop a war – a far cry from where the series had come from – no glitz, no glamour, no saving the world – just trying to stay grounded; to stay human. It was as if they had forgotten what the show's premise really was. It's like they thought, oh no, we can't have these 'monsters' having real LIVES, they need to save the world, not develop personalities - who'd want to watch that?!

Despite the horrible background plot which I tried my best to ignore, the characters and excellent banter kept me hooked. I loved Hal and Tom – both completely different from George and Mitchell which was a good thing, but still with similarities that kept the whole thing tied together. Tom's adorable naiveté and good nature was a joy to watch and I loved the way he constantly tried to better himself whilst being completely unaware of how good he already was.


Hal's self inflicted OCD and regimented behaviour seemed at odds with everything else but it suited him and his history and the way he would knock over things and organise them to de-stress was a really interesting way of coping with his affliction.


When Annie bowed out at the end of last series, newly dead Alex took her place and I was hopeful that the final - as it turned out to be – series would be a good one, and while the characters remained as good as ever, it wasn't what it could have been.


Whereas during other series, where I'd been concerned about the background plot and how it affected the trio, this time round I discovered that I really didn't care. I didn't want to know about Captain Hatch, or Mr Rook or 'Crumb' – they weren't what mattered and the more episodes they were in, the more I wanted them gone. When the 'devil' plotline was exposed in the first couple of episodes I genuinely groaned.  This is a thing I sent to one of my friends after watching it. XD

I've just watched both eps of Being Human and arrrgghhhh, whaaaattttt are they doing?! The whole devil thing is STUPID, I hate it already and the new vampire guy looks and acts a bit too Herricky for my liking. (Don't get me wrong, Herrick was AWESOME (although seeing him playing an actual legit nice guy in Call the Midwife was hilarious) but he went bad too quickly and all the gamer stereotyping they've labelled him with is genuinely embarrassing) The only series that has handled a whole 'devil rising' kind of plotline is Supernatural and that's only because that particular thread came about after five series of lore and things to fall back on - not to mention a consistent and fantastic cast and scenes like -this- where Lucifer is so well written and acted that instead of being the big bad villain who's evil just for the sake of it, you actually sympathise with him and treat him as a person who, granted, has a pretty damn nasty agenda. So far, the BH equivalent stinks of panto villain. :/

The thing with Being Human is that it's always been about the characters rather than the supernatural world they inhabit and so suddenly throwing in THIS thing felt ridiculous. They also seemed to delight in throwing in things that contradicted previous series – a little ghost boy who had been living in the same house the trio had been...and yet NOBODY KNEW HE WAS THERE?! The fuck? You might have got away with it if only Alex had been there as she was still new to death and perhaps couldn't sense him but Annie was pretty powerful so you'd have thought she'd have spotted him pretty sharpish. One of the other things that irritated me was actually seeing the 'men with sticks and rope' - I always loved that as a description as it had so much menace. The scariest things are always those that are left unseen but now, knowing that they just look like zombie animal control guys it just...doesn't work.

I also hated the weatherman werewolf guy – Larry? Barry? I know he was supposed to have a massive ego but this is the UK, we don't really treat news presenters as celebrities so I didn't really get why he would even imagine himself as one. If I saw Michael Fish or Heather 'The Weather' walking down the street I might point them out if I was with someone but I wouldn't really treat it as that big a deal. His character felt like it would have belonged in a US programme rather than a British one – it just didn't work!

And so, now we must address the ending.


All things could have been worse. I'm glad the trio survived and can be happy but part of me laments the fact that they had to literally become human again. When Hal said 'to want it, is to have it' before he made to leave; that was perfect – the whole series, start to finish could be summed up in that one line and what did they do? They fucked it up, that's what they did.

To me, personally, the whole 'he will rise'/apocalypse thing was so ridiculous and had so little substance to it that they would have been better off without it entirely. They could have kept in Mr Rook and his infatuation with keeping order but made him completely lose it towards the end. That way the trio would have something to fight against (aside from themselves) and once he was defeated or brought around, they could carry on as before but with more resolve.

The bit with the government broadcast and the ritual was just...god, I can't even think of a word to describe how terrible that part was. It was weak, very weak and I still can't believe they actually went with it. I still don't really understand the whole lifting of the curse thing either. Did this affect just them or everyone? If it was a government thing then surely it would only have affected the UK?  If it's everyone then the world is going to be in for a bit of a shocker as thousands of ghosts come back to life all over the place! I don't really see being a ghost as much of a curse either because for most people they die, come back as a ghost and immediately walk through their door to the afterlife. It's only the ones with unfinished business that linger on so how is that the same as vampirism or lycanthropy? I didn't get the feeling that they'd put all that much thought into it.

I did like the bit where they are shown how their lives could go if they let him win, that was good but I didn't understand why when they came back, it was Bad!Hal again and not Good!Hal, especially given that he had chosen to come back to be with his friends.
 I know it was cancelled so they had to end it somehow but leaving that little origami wolf there was cruel. Either finish it cleanly or don't – don't leave that tantalising figment there to drive us all mad!

I suppose making them human again was almost like a reward for everything they've been through up until this point but it still feels like a bit of a cheat – especially given the aforementioned 'to want it, is to have it' line from Hal.

 It isn't the physical nature of actually being human that counts, it's the desire to want to be.

The fact that it was Bad!Hal that said it was interesting though, I'm not quite sure what to make of it.
 So, all in all, a disappointing ending to a series that has brought me to tears of joy and sadness in the past.


I don't really know what my feelings are doing right now. :/

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