Review: ‘Being Human’

BBC America's "Being Human" remains particular enough in its quirks that you cringe at the prospect of a planned U.S. version for Syfy.

BBC America’s “Being Human” was a wonderful surprise — an odd-duck concept about a vampire, werewolf and ghost sharing an apartment, which managed to zero in on these improbable relationships with unlikely heart, grand humor and so-weak-they-were-almost-cool special effects. The second arc of eight episodes picks up where the first left off, conjuring quirky fun from the inherent absurdity of this supernatural serial. All told, the show remains particular enough in its quirks that you cringe at the prospect of a planned U.S. version for Syfy, given the original’s ethereal alchemy.

When the first season ended (and quit reading here if you plan to catch up), werewolf George (Russell Tovey) had destroyed the vampires’ leader, during a tussle in which he inadvertently scratched his girlfriend Nina (Sinead Keenan).

Those events figure prominently in this new storyline, as Nina wonders whether she has acquired George’s hirsute curse, and George’s vampire roommate Mitchell (Aidan Turner) seeks to resolve the chaos that a headless vampire hierarchy has unleashed.

Meanwhile, the ghostly Annie (Leonora Crichlow) — having discovered why her spirit lingers on Earth in season one — wrestles with how to interact with the living, even as a shadowy figure (Donald Sumpter) exhibits an ominous interest in these peculiar creatures in our midst.

Like other recent forays into the supernatural, the series takes considerable liberties with supernatural lore, so much so that it’s not always easy to tell precisely what the rules are. Yet such concerns are mitigated by Tovey’s endless exasperation as George, Annie’s lovelorn streak (which Crichlow plays with impeccable comic timing) and Turner’s glowering intensity, with this season providing some glimpses into his vampiric past.

Created by Toby Whithouse, “Being Human” is far from perfect, but in a way, that’s the whole point: The show focuses on fantastic, paranormal characters who are in essence eager to be mundane — leading lives that wouldn’t be out of place on a CW drama. It also has the benefit of never taking itself too seriously — finding a sweet spot between the self-importance of “Twilight” and the salaciousness of “True Blood.”

Granted, given much thought, the show’s various conceits risk crumbling the way Dracula did when he was exposed to daylight. With a little patience and forgiveness, however, “Being Human” remains a bloody good time.

Being Human

BBC America, Sat. July 24, 10 p.m.


Filmed in the U.K. by Touchpaper Television. Executive producers, Rob Pursey, Toby Whithouse; producer, Matthew Bouch; director, Colin Teague; writer, Whithouse;


camera, Nic Morris; production designer, Andrew Purcell; editor, Mike Hopkins; music, Richard Wells; visual effects, Craig Higgins; casting, Di Carling. 60 MIN.


George - Russell Tovey Annie - Leonora Crichlow Mitchell - Aidan Turner Nina - Sinead Keenan Lucy Lyndsey Marshal Kemp - Donald Sumpter

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