‘Being Human’ is Syfy’s Big Winner

So a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost move in together.  It sounds like the makings of a bar joke, doesn’t it?  It’s actually the basis for the Syfy channel’s Being Human, a show that is anything but a joke.  Originally a product of the UK, Being Human has made its way to the US and Canada with a new cast courtesy of the Syfy channel with its first season airing now.  So what exactly does this show bring to the table and who’s in it?

Filmed in Montreal, Quebec but taking place in Boston, Massachusetts, Being Human focuses on three troubled souls all with uncanny supernatural characteristics that are only supposed to be things of lore.  The vampire is governed by the rules of an underground bloodthirsty society, of which he seems to be at frequent odds with.  The werewolf, while mostly in human form, struggles to come to terms with not who, but what he is, on a daily basis.  His lack of surety and confidence comes through regularly in his interactions with others that makes him socially awkward if nothing else.  The ghost left her human life in an untimely fashion, murdered by the man who she loved.  Her spiritual self, apparently not ready to move on, still roams the plain of the living, invisible to them but in obvious presence to the vampires and werewolves of the world.

The cast isn’t exactly comprised of household names as most of their actors haven’t been in too many bid budget productions as far as television or film is concerned.  Probably the most recognizable one of the bunch is Sam Witwer who plays Aidan, a vampire with a good heart who’s been around since colonial America.  Aside from a guest spot on season 1 of Dexter, Witwer has also supplied his voice and likeness to the main character of the Star Wars: Force Unleashed video games.  Despite his meaning well, Aidan seems to have this opposite of King Midas effect as it seems what he touches becomes anything but golden.  Where one selfless act may gain the favor of one step forward, the fate tends to invert his intentions with an adverse two-steps-back effect. 

Sam Huntington bares his own fangs as Josh, but of a more canine nature as he undergoes the painful transformation into a deadly werewolf upon every full moon.  Huntington had some of his most significant exposure thus far as the eager reporter Jimmy Olsen in 2006’s Superman Returns.  As Josh on Being Human, he’s a restless man troubled by his identity.  His family has shunned him once he claimed he was a werewolf.  Distanced from relatives and struggling to maintain something that appears to be a flailing romance with a co-worker, he arrives at what solace he can in dialogue with his housemates. 

And last but certainly not least of the main characters is the ghost of Sally Malik, forcefully cast from her mortality too soon.  Playing Sally is the very lovely Meaghan Rath.  Sally’s unclear as to what she needs to accomplish in order to move on from her paranormal existence into whatever is supposed to live beyond the grave.  While she’s here, she does her best to warn the new love interest of her murderous ex that all is not what it seems with the man.  Beauty aside, Rath is a good fit for the role, demonstrating her human emotions along with the valid concerns that come with being a ghost. 

As for the supporting cast, you will see regulars such as Kristen Hager and Mark Pellegrino, just to name a few.  Hager played the blonde hottie from the unfortunate film AVP: Requiem and here plays Josh’s on-again/off-again love interest, Nora.  As for Pellegrino, you may have recognized him from episodes of hit shows such as Lost, Dexter, and Ghost Whisperer.  On Syfy’s Being Human, he takes on the boss role of Bishop.  Not only is he Aidan’s superior, but also a Boston cop whose ties to the vampire world allow him to cover up the feastings of humans once the crime scene is declared.

After watching my first epsiode of Being Human about three or four weeks back, I remember trying to describe it to someone who was unaware of the show.  “It’s like True Blood on a smaller budget,” I stated.  In hindsight, that’s not really a fair assessment.  Yes it seems apparent on the surface that they do have a smaller budget than HBO’s smash hit vampire series.  However, after watching Being Human for about a month now, it is obvious that this show has its own flavor, its own personality.  Plus, I will say Being Human‘s version of a werewolf far surpasses the “Look I’m a regular wolf” from True Blood, but I’m not here to say if or why one of these shows is better than the other.  For the budget they have, Being Human puts up some very impressive CGI when Josh becomes his snarling alter ego.  It’s no dog and it’s far from human, yet this menacing creature displays such horrific beauty that you can’t help but see Josh’s personality trapped behind the terrorizing strength and lustful violence in the werewolf’s eyes. 

The wonderful way in which the show manuevers its storytelling consists of the main characters having their own story arcs outside of the house that the other two supernatural dwellers might not fully understand or be aware of.  Yet, when the trio comes together under one roof, it is tale all its own.  Humor finds an occasional splash along the way, but dramaticism is the true persona of this production.  Contributing to that attribute is the ability of the show to slide in a jaw-dropping situation that will cause any viewer to do an about-face.  Foreshadowing is often only realized when looking back on the episode you just experienced, as it is done so subtlely, the shock of a situation changer is so profound that the action that caused it was one so least likely expected. 

Do yourself a favor and sit down for this solid one-hour show brought to us from the Syfy Channel.  Being Human airs on Monday nights at 9:00 pm Eastern.  The same episode is replayed two hours later at 11:00.  Episode 10 (titled “Dog Eat Dog”) aired this week, but previous episodes can be viewed on the show’s official website at http://www.syfy.com/beinghuman/.  It’s not too late to jump in and sink your teeth into this series that will be a day 1 Blu-ray buy for me.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Syfy announced last week on St. Patrick’s Day that they renewed Being Human for a second season.  In the words of the Guinness guys, “Brilliant!”

Syfy’s official press release on the success and renewal of Being Human:

New York, NY – March 17, 2011 – Syfy is ordering a second season of its new hit drama series Being Human, it was announced today by Mark Stern President of Original Content, Syfy and Co-Head of Original Content, Universal Cable Productions.  Since the show’s January 17 launch, premiere episodes of Being Human have averaged 1.8 million viewers making it Syfy’s most successful winter season scripted series launch in 6 years.  Also, with women comprising 53% of the total audience for premiere episodes, it is the channel’s most female-skewing scripted series ever.


2 Responses to “‘Being Human’ is Syfy’s Big Winner”

  1. Patrick

    I am glad that Syfy picked up a second season. This is a great show and I have watched it from the beginning.

  2. Brian White

    Wow! Impressive review of the show!