Syfy's remake of the British show Being Human surprised us with its strong storytelling and its mostly solid cast. Now a second season is right around the corner — and can the show repeat its first-year achievements?
We've seen the first two episodes — here is our slightly spoilery run-down on the new season.
We watched the episodes "Turn This Mother Out" and "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" back-to-back, and here is our first impressions of the new season.
Beautiful Monsters: After we watched Bishop's head fly magnificently into the good night one thing was certain, Being Human was starting to look good, real good. Gone away is the odd shaky lens that haunted the first few episodes.
This show has finally found a look all its own, and removed itself from "new TV show shot in Canada for Syfy" category. While still very simple and budget conscious, we noticed little touches of light and color, and the sets felt authentically Bostonian (which is where the series takes place). We're thrilled that whatever changed halfway through the first season (most likely $$$) hasn't been lost in the second.
Sally's Spirit Is Strong: Our biggest gripe with the first season was the ghost Sally's character. Her snarky ghost never felt fully formed, and when you placed this spirit next to the rapid fire wit of Josh and Aidan she was forever stuck exactly two steps behind her roommates. Not any more — Sally has finally arrived. She's found her swagger and a good comic timing, that allows her character to walk the little sister line along side of Josh and Aidan.
Plus she's no longer so ridiculously dependent on the boys to fill her time. Right off the bat Sally, has the most interesting plotline of them all: She's headed to her High School Reunion. Why? To wallow in the communal grieving of her classmates over her untimely death. Perfect. And it doesn't stop there, Sally is making new friends, learning new ghost skills and moving on with her life (despite that fact that she's possibly stuck in limbo for all eternity for ignoring her door). This character is showing great growth, which is exactly what needed to happen in season 2.
Charm: Sure Being Human may rely on the dimple-chinned Sam Witwer to make the ladies swoon, but they come back for the banter. The silly, delightful 1990s-sitcom banter. And yes the first two episodes have remained relentlessly charming. Even Sally's getting in on the action? What's better than watching a gaggle of teen boy ghosts punching each other in the balls? Nothing, the answer is nothing.
More Historical Vampire Flashbacks: Oh yes, there will be more historical vampire flashbacks. And while we didn't spot any new vampire wigs, there were plenty of new vampire stylings for Aidan. Let's just say, the hair, make-up and wardrobe folks know what we want — and what we want is to see Aidan dressed up in as many ridiculous vampire costumes as possible.
New Monsters: With Bishop gone, this series needed a new villain. And a new villain it has, take a look at Mother, the she-vamp everyone is terrified of. Plus she's got a daughter, played by Dollhouse's Dichen Lachman. You know we're suckers for women who can deliver a punch, and we've seen Lachman in action before...
Dialed Up Supernatural Soap Opera: We could watch a parade of sweet Sam Huntington "I'm concerned about you" looks — but at some point we're really going to need Josh to hit someone with a metal pipe.
There's a lot of talking and very little action, thus far. True, a number of faceless vamps we didn't care too much for were easily disposed of by Aidan, but characters like that don't count. Adding Josh's girlfriend Nora into the mix has amped up the "supernatural soap opera" quotient quite a bit (and if you remember how they left it last season with Nora you can understand why this is a big deal).
Thank goodness, Nora is handling it like a pro, freaking out at important doctor parties Grey's Anatomy-style, so there's hope for her yet. But we'd like to see Josh interact with another element besides his were-relationship. He desperately wants to disassociate himself from his inner animal, so let's throw actual animals at him. That said, we may just be looking for an action buffer to protect us from the future Nora-and-Josh blow-out. After going through the werebaby miscarriage last year, I don't think we can bear to watch Nora go through any more horror. The season finale left us gutted with these two, and it looks like it's only going to get worse.
More Vampire Villains: Even though we're excited for two potential female villains in the new season, we're getting tired of vampire politics. Perhaps this is True Blood's fault — a series that delights in elaborating on strange supernatural campaigning, kingdoms, laws and the faceless authority.
We were digging the vampire society in Being Human when we thought they were all a creepy bunch of Amish bat people called The Dutch, but now we see they're merely some sort of sad vampire Student Council, and no longer have any real power. The real boss is this Mother and her wild card Daughter. It's just mo' vampries, mo' problems for Aidan.
We would much rather learn about the great American wolf pack or Ghost Society with the lunatic lost spirits that haunt the basement of the hospital. That's not to say the spirit-and-werewolf world WON'T play a part in the new season. Sally is making new ghost friends and learning all sorts of fancy phantom tricks, and has possibly released some dark force into her apartment. This is more of a concern than a problem, really. Less vampire politicking, more werewolf sled races (or something of that fantastical nature).
This show is supernatural comfort food. You've got one attractive man with a giant noggin perfect for Hollywood "hey girl" mugging, a skinny puppy-faced youth with a Rolodex of endearing "I care" looks, a quirky young lass with a large helping of spunk, ridiculously evil villains, and monsters. It's never going to be too heady, but it will always make you laugh. So when they do kill off the comedian of the group, you'll cry. It looks like it's going to be a fun year for Being Human so get ready for the vampire orgies and adorable day-after blood hangovers.
The premiere for Being Human is on January 16th.