Thursday, 24 November 2011

Being Human Season 1 (North American) DVD Review

DVD Review of the North American TV series Being Human following a vampire, werewolf & ghost roommates.

Photobucket
Image courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line © 2010 B.H. Productions (Muse) Inc. All rights reserved.

Dirs: Paolo Barzman, Charles Binamé, Adam Kane, Erik Canuel, Jeremiah S. Chechik, Jerry Ciccoritti
Cast: Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, Mark Pellegrino, Sarah Allen Gianpaolo Venuta, Kristen Hager, Vincent Leclerc, Angela Galuppo
Canada/USA (source), 2011 (TV)

Reason to see: A vampire, werewolf & ghost as roommate = perfect show for me.

Being Human is a TV series that follows a set of new housemates and their struggles from personal to romantic, professional and cultural all of which are complicated by the fact that they are supernatural beings (a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost) but have chosen to do their best and remain and be human.

I was first in line to check out a show that features a vampire, werewolf and ghost as roommates as I'm a huge fan of paranormal TV and this show brings a nice blend of lore, long-term story arc as well as budding friendships between the trio of vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer), werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington) and ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath) who do their best to deal with their supernatural situations. One of the most interesting dynamics of the series is that each of the three main characters is an underdog or outsider within their own supernatural community, none of them chose their fate and each is effected differently. For example, Josh being a werewolf is only out of control on the full moon, but the weight of his actions at that time can stay with him for the entire lunar cycle. Then Aidan is a long-standing vampire who has chosen to abstain from vampire culture and society but it's a continual and challenging position to be in. Then we have Sally, the ghost who’s transparent to the non-supernatural world and mystified at her own mysterious transition. It's three very different perspectives on dealing with a situation that has been pushed upon you and changed each and every one of their natural, but each choose to be, or at least attempt, to maintain their humanity.

Based on the UK series of the same name, Being Human is in a unique situation of running almost con-currently with its across-the-pond counterpart which has three completed seasons in comparison to this North American version (also referred to as SyFy Being Human or Being Human US even though it's and American/Canadian co-production shot in Montreal). They two versions are very aware of each other and they North American version even has a nod to the UK version with vampire Aidan who is a namesake of the actor Aidan Turner who plays the vampire Mitchell in the original UK version of the show. I really enjoyed the UK version therefore was skepitcal but hopeful about this new version, and I admit I went into the series after already seeing the first two seasons of the UK version and it took me quite some time to decide on how I felt about it. The two versions follow many of the same plot lines and characters, but the North American version also adds new plotlines although it does keep to the heart of the original series. I wouldn't necessarily recommend watching the concurrently, but if you pace out the two from each other it's a highly enjoyable series that pulls at the heart strings, shows the power of friendship, the grand struggle to stand apart from the norms and to take a stand for a greater cause.

I really loved both the comedy and the kindness in the series, the struggles of the characters to maintain their humanity and the challenging choice of whether or not to use there supernatural powers for or against humanity. They wrestle with the question if it's possible to remain neutral, when it's time to take a stand and is it better or worse to succumb to your own nature. And somehow in all of that they manage to go through relationship and romantic entanglements as everyday stresses of workplace and tenant/landlord relationships and challenges.

I did find that the series takes a bit to find it's feet, but it's worth giving it a chance because of the great characters and some stand out performances including reoccurring guest star Mark Pellegrino ('Supernatural') as the vampire power player Bishop and series regular Sam Huntington (Fanboys, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night) as the awkward werewolf Josh. The emotional journeys of all of the characters and interesting and overall I say it's a must-see for any fan of paranormal TV fan. I love the friendships and moral questions it portrays and I truly felt for all of the characters.

It's a great time to hop on the Being Human train and if you've not seen it yet you can easily catch up for it's return in Season 2 which will being to air in January 2012. I'll be waiting with baited breath to see where they go next.

If you want to hear even more about Season 1 of Being Human?
You can listen to reactions from each and every episode over at Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural, the paranormal TV podcast I co-host with my sister Suzie:
DVD Extras (4-Disc DVD Set):
  • The Making of Being Human (47 minutes) behind the scenes, series clips, interviews with co-execuative producer/director Adam Kane, executive producer/writer Jeremy Carver, actors Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, Sam Witwer & Mark Pellegrino, VFX supervisor Mario Rachiele, make-up artist Emilie Gauthier, SFX make-up artist Érik Gosselin, on reaction/connection the UK series, what drew them to the series, the interweaving of what's the urban setting and mid-20's journey, the genre elements & themes and the connection to real world scenarios, the unique friendship and connection between Sally, Aidan & Josh including the actors talking not only about their own characters but their perspective on the characters and their intermingled relationships; the monster rules for the show and how they've incorporating the traits from different cultures into the show plus discussing the expectations of genre fans regarding rules; discussing each of the types of supernatural creatures in the show with vampires, ghost and werewolves including the creature attributes, characters journey, challenges and connection to their supernatural world as well as the visual effects & make up application to create the visuals for characters including ghost make up and extensive footage on werewolf design creation & transformation.
  • "What Would You Choose" Featurette (3 minutes) show clips & stills from both the North American & UK versions of the shows with actors Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, Sam Witwer responding to which supernatural creature they would choose to be plus brief description of the visual effects creation of their characters into their supernatural, plus actor Mark Pelligrino on the deep humanity of the show and his character; as well as response to how much each of the actors watched of the UK version of the show and the connection between the two shows.
  • Interviews with Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath & Sam Huntington (5 minutes) casual interviews with the cast at a premiere/carpet event chatting about season 1, their characters & journeys, speculation to season 2, reactions from fans. This feature has some really funny moments including casual chatting with some Sam Huntington & Sam Witwer chatting about who in their characters would win in a fight & their impressions of Meaghan Rath. Interviews are interspersed with clips from the show.
  • Being Human Panel at San Diego Comic-Con (39 minutes) panel with actors Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath & Sam Huntington, executive producer/writer Jeremy Carver and co-executive producer/writer Anne Fricke responding to questions including on how they came to the show, working together, where they want their characters to in season 2, how the team came together, the characters arcs and lots of love for Season 2 scripts and hints/questions/reactions on Season 2. I was a little disappointed in this feature, it's from pretty far away, the audio is pretty low in comparison to the other features, people constantly walking in front of the camera, there are no titles to indicate who is speaking but I enjoyed the casual nature of the discussions and the enthusiastic camaraderie especially between the members of cast.
  • Trailer
Being Human Season 1 (North American) is available on DVD as of November 15, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it, and grew to love it as the season progressed
I'll watch it again
I'd strongly recommend it to any paranormal TV fan

Return to Film Reviews or see more DVD Reviews

Cross posted here at Hexed: Sisterhood of the Supernatural


© Shannon Ridler, 2011

No comments:

All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012