Being Human is Being Boring

Right now the best show on Syfy is Lost Girl, a sexy, smart and quirky import from Canada. In fact, in content and tone it reminds me of another sexy, smart and quirky import that used to show on Syfy, The Dresden Files. Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo and Kris Holden-Reid are incandescent, and secondary characters, like Trick and Lauren, are played by high-quality actors.  Unfortunately, it’s on too late for me to watch except on rare occasions.

The show’s lead in is Being Human, which starts at nine o’clock. This is Being Human’s second season. The premise behind Being Human is clever; a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost are room-mates, trying to have “normal” human lives. Admittedly, this is somewhat ex post facto for the already-dead Sally. Aidan and Josh work at a Boston hospital. Aidan is a nurse and Josh, who was at medical school at MIT, quit when he became a werewolf, and now works as an orderly. Sally – well, Sally is dead and hangs out at the creepy house they managed to rent cheap, for obvious reasons.

I want to like Being Human more than I do. I like Sam Waterman, who plays Josh, and even though Josh is a nebbishy worry-wart, I kind of like his character. Sam Witwer plays vampire Aidan like a GQ model, all skin-tight jeans and wraparound sunglasses. As we all know, I guess, vampires function like organized crime families, and Aidan, who killed his creator Bishop last season, is now second-in-command to a vamp princess (played by an actress who was one of Eliza Dushku’s podmates in The Doll House).

Sally (Meaghan Rath), meanwhile, came to some resolution about why she was haunting the house, but stayed behind in this realm instead of moving on. Now she is considering a way she can possess a baby, with the approval of Zoe, a pediatric nurse who can see ghosts and lets ghosts “reincarnate” into the bodies of sickly babies who probably won’t make it otherwise. The ethics of Zoe’s behavior is iffy – the ghosts aren’t “incarnated” as much as possessing the bodies of the infants. That isn’t even the weirdest part of the story; Zoe is dating a ghost.

Josh has a girlfriend named Norah and he accidentally infected her, so she’s a werewolf too now. This is the most interesting subplot of the three.

It took me a while to figure out what irked me about Being Human. In large part it’s the rhythm of the show. Since this is an ensemble, each episode tracks a full plot for each of the three characters. This means the tension rises in unison for all three stories and usually resolves about the same time. The show also leaps forward in time, in ways that are disconcerting and create brain-strain. Because some of the characters are lunar monsters, the week to week stories often reference the full moon. This means a month has gone by. Since very few other time-markers are used; birthdays, holidays, etc, at this rate the show will basically go through one year in a season. Is this the intent? Frankly, following a story that involves Aidan or Sally while leaving Josh and Norah at the midpoint of their cycles would make more sense.

While the writing among the three roommates is clever, and the three leads have developed a nice chemistry, overall the stories are either predictable or bland. I also have a little trouble with the world-building here. Vampires, mob bosses. Not original. Can a werewolf couple find happiness? This has some legs. Sally, as the ghost, is the least plausible supernatural character, since she violates all the rules of ghost-hood. She has resolved the mystery of her death, meted out justice to her killer. She should have moved on. If there is some secret, unresolved issue in her life, er, afterlife, it should start being hinted at by now. Much is made of the fact that Sally, who is learning to consciously manipulate physical objects, can’t push the Start button the microwave, but Josh expects her to unlock the padlock on the storage unit he’s rented for when he turns into the wolf, and she has no problem with that.

On a completely superficial and trivial note, I think we should start a Facebook campaign to allow Sally the ghost to get a bigger wardrobe.

I think the biggest problem I have with BH is cultural, believe it or not. This show is copied from a British show with the same name. The motives and behaviors of our Boston friends seems decidedly British-TV-like; good impulses sour, things attempted for a good motive turn and go bad, leaving the situation worse, while any selfish, bad, destructive idea works out better – or worse – than expected. If Syfy had imported the British show and I was listening to Josh whinge about how he can’t have a life, for instance, with a British accent, I’d accept it more easily.

I’ll have to decide if I want to pay-per-view Lost Girl, since I can’t stay awake to watch it in the schedule. As for Being Human, my interest, rather like the moon, is starting to wane.



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One Response to Being Human is Being Boring

  1. Chad Hull says:

    The title of this post cracked me up. I read it and thought to myself, “But what other choice do we have?”

    I like the idea of Being Human. I bet it was an easy show to pitch; too bad it’s not what it should be.

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