Being Human

The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable.

With:
George - Russell Tovey Mitchell - Aidan Turner Annie - Leonora Crichlow Herrick - Jason Watkins Nina - Sinead Keenan Lauren - Annabel Scholey Owen - Greg Chillin

The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable. So it is with “Being Human,” a quirky, funny, occasionally eerie hourlong series that sounds like a macabre joke — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment (hell, why not “walked into a bar?”) — but winds up generating laughs while exhibiting surprising heart. With so much revisionist vampire fare in circulation, from “Twilight” to “True Blood,” the BBC weighs in somewhat late in the U.S. with this 2008 entry, but it’s still a bloody good dish.

The hapless George (Russell Tovey) and suave Mitchell (Aidan Turner) work as hospital orderlies and also live together. It’s just that George, a werewolf, worries about “his time of the month,” while Mitchell wrestles with controlling his vampiric bloodlust.

Then there’s Annie (Leonora Crichlow), a ghost who only they can see. Having died in her early 20s, she’s still pining for her boyfriend Owen (Greg Chillin), and doesn’t know why she remains trapped in this realm.

Created by Toby Whithouse, the series is part comedy, part soap opera, with vague hints of a larger plot and nefarious grand plan involving the vampires, who keep making overtures to Mitchell that he rebuffs.

The show’s focus, though, is on the relationship among the three central characters and how they support each other in an effort to be as “normal” as possible — striving to be “human,” the key being that none of them are.

By all rights the program should be as laughable as the special effects, which are actually OK until George begins transforming into a werewolf, at first looking a bit like “The Howling” (not bad) and winding up resembling an oversized Muppet. But Whithouse and his cast (especially Tovey, poor bastard, who must keep playing scenes where he wakes up disoriented and naked) keep drawing you deeper into these characters’ lives — or deaths, or undead lives, as the case may be.

Whatever deeper meanings one might extrapolate, the show’s approach proves refreshingly unpretentious and a great deal of fun, playfully exploring the mythologies surrounding ghosts, vampires and werewolves. Its sheer conceptual audacity is also perfectly suited to the BBC’s short-order format, opening with just a half-dozen episodes.

Being Human” is a clever concoction, in other words, but one that probably works best if its unholy trio doesn’t have to be kept alive for too long.

Being Human

BBC America, Sat. July 25, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in the U.K. by Touchpaper Television and BBC America. Executive producer, Rob Pursey; producer, Matthew Bouch; line producer, Alison Law; director, Toby Haynes; writer, Toby Whithouse.

Crew: Camera, Nic Morris; production designer, Andrew Purcell; editor, Phil Hookway; music, Richard Wells; casting, Di Carling. RUNNING TIME: 60 MIN.

Cast: George - Russell Tovey Mitchell - Aidan Turner Annie - Leonora Crichlow Herrick - Jason Watkins Nina - Sinead Keenan Lauren - Annabel Scholey Owen - Greg Chillin

More TV

  • Loveless Movie Wild Bunch

    Once-Powerful Indie Player Wild Bunch Seeks a White Knight

    The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable. So it is with “Being Human,” a quirky, funny, occasionally eerie hourlong series that sounds like a macabre joke — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment (hell, why not “walked into a bar?”) — but winds up generating laughs […]

  • Guillaume de Posch Exiting RTL, Bert

    Guillaume de Posch Stepping Down as RTL Co-CEO; Bert Habets to Lead European TV Giant

    The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable. So it is with “Being Human,” a quirky, funny, occasionally eerie hourlong series that sounds like a macabre joke — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment (hell, why not “walked into a bar?”) — but winds up generating laughs […]

  • Netflix placeholder

    Netflix Fires Executive Over Danny Masterson Comment

    The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable. So it is with “Being Human,” a quirky, funny, occasionally eerie hourlong series that sounds like a macabre joke — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment (hell, why not “walked into a bar?”) — but winds up generating laughs […]

  • SMILF Master of None Dirks Gently

    Fresh Voices in TV Who Broke Out in 2017

    The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable. So it is with “Being Human,” a quirky, funny, occasionally eerie hourlong series that sounds like a macabre joke — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment (hell, why not “walked into a bar?”) — but winds up generating laughs […]

  • The Good Fight

    TV News Roundup: 'The Good Fight' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on CBS All Access

    The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable. So it is with “Being Human,” a quirky, funny, occasionally eerie hourlong series that sounds like a macabre joke — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment (hell, why not “walked into a bar?”) — but winds up generating laughs […]

  • Morning Joe MSNBC Joe Scarborough

    Cable News Ratings: MSNBC Posts Biggest Percentage Gains of 2017, Fox News Stays on Top

    The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable. So it is with “Being Human,” a quirky, funny, occasionally eerie hourlong series that sounds like a macabre joke — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment (hell, why not “walked into a bar?”) — but winds up generating laughs […]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: WEEKEND UPDATE --

    'SNL' Names Michael Che, Colin Jost Co-Head Writers

    The BBC has a wonderful facility for making absurd-sounding concepts unexpectedly palatable. So it is with “Being Human,” a quirky, funny, occasionally eerie hourlong series that sounds like a macabre joke — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment (hell, why not “walked into a bar?”) — but winds up generating laughs […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content