Have You Been Watching….Being Human?

This photo taken just before Ian Beale revealed he was, in fact, a banshee.

It’s a tricky old business, reinvention. How do you totally change a television show while still retaining what people liked about it in the first place?

It’s a concept that’s rather in vogue at the moment, with American Horror Story planning to have entirely new characters, location and plot for series two, but for once we Brits are ahead of the game.

In the current fourth season of Being Human (the much loved show about a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost living together that somehow managed to be more than a punchline), three of the four main characters have been killed off.

It’s a bold move for such a popular programme. Mysterious vampire Mitchell and doting werewolf couple George and Nina have kicked the proverbial bucket and aren’t coming back. That leaves us with ditzy ghost Annie and Nina and George’s baby, Eve, who’s apparently destined to be the destroyer of all vampires. In fact, in the very first episode of the series we were treated to a flashforward into a dystopian future where Eve was the leader of a struggling human resistance battling for survival against a vast vampire menace.

It seemed the central focus of the show was going to be a huge and crazy supernatural war. And that’s ok, but it wouldn’t be the Being Human we know and love.

But thankfully, since then the show has gone back to its roots. We’ve got a new werewolf and a new vampire and we’re back to the tried and trusted format of paranormal housemates living, loving and killing vampires together.

And fortunately the new additions are both pretty entertaining.

The new werewolf, Tom, was around last season and is a little odd due to being groomed to be a vampire killing machine by the werewolf who killed his parents. As a result his social skills are rather unorthodox but his heart’s in the right place. Also his proactive approach to vampire destruction makes a nice change from George, whose fearful gibbering at the slightest threat could be a bit tiring.

Our new vampire Hal, on the other hand, is rather similar to the character he’s replaced, though much more dapper. Like Mitchell he’s a vampire with an incredibly violent past who’s now a nodrinkybloodatarian (not sure if that’s the technical term, but it works for me).

Unlike Mitchell he does appear to be acquainted with the basics of personally hygiene and he is also an ‘old one’, a.k.a. some kind is super vampire who all the other vampires look up to, a bit like the way other newsreaders look up to Paxman.

This is because in any fictional world where vampires exist there are always a bunch of super powerful ancient vampires lurking in the background. Always. It’s a iron clad rule, much like the one that states any show that’s built up a rich and compelling mythos must spend at least 15% of its running time on flashbacks, callbacks and oblique references that are highly entertaining to the devoted fan but bloody confusing to everyone else.

Fortunately for the future, Tom and Hal have a rather engaging chemistry that comes to the fore in the third episode when they’re forced to work together in a rather grotty caff to make ends meet. It’s like Eastenders meets Buffy (Buffstenders?)

This allowed the programme to get back to that winning mix of boring old reality and the paranormal that’s always been a hallmark of the show as its best.

The challenge for the rest of the season will be juggling that happy familiarity with the massive over-arching plot about the end of the world: no mean feat but given that Toby Whitehouse, the show’s creator, has gifted us three previous seasons of excellence,  I wouldn’t want to bet against him.

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Being Human airs on BBC 3 on Sundays at 9pm. You can catch up on iPlayer here

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About Ian Dunn
I love avocados, WH Auden and dinosaurs but I don't like effort.

41 Responses to Have You Been Watching….Being Human?

  1. Recovering bloodaholic, possibly. A bloke who used to kill people, and now stands dominoes on the narrow end, and then takes them down again.

  2. ddjjbb says:

    Must say although I miss Mitchell for several reasons I don’t miss George at all. His character had run it’s ground and was pretty tiring with all his mumblings and witterings. Not sure why they skipped a whole story-line concerning the death of Nina, (was she contracted to another acting job?) May be we shall see some flash-back further on in the series.
    But although I wasn’t sure about the new changes in Ep 1, by Ep 3 I’m glad to see the new characters. Tom is so watchable – those eyebrows forever sloping down and always showing he’s slightly uninterested by literally everything. And Hal is actually just as sexually appealing as Mitchell and a lot more amusing!
    Now am I the only one who is also beginning to think Annie should have been give her P45 too.
    This series she is already seriously getting on my nerves!

    • mldd says:

      If she is getting on your nerves, i’m pretty sure thats exactly what she is supposed to do. Would be far worse if you just don’t figure her at all………
      Fabulous new series, wasn’t sure quite where it was going, but thought the loose ends were tied up very neatly, you don’t have to see everything to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the story….

    • taker1 says:

      The actress who played Nina had moved on to other things and wasn’t available when they started filming series 4 so they had no option but to kill her off-screen. I think the writers have dealt really well with losing 3 of their main characters so close together, with such good actors it was only a matter of time before they were called up to bigger projects.

      I absolutely adored Mitchell so, like a lot of people, I was a bit apprehensive about this series but as soon as we met Hal in his prequel I fell head over heals for him. Damien Molony has done such a magnificent job of filling Aiden Turner’s boots without trying to replace him. He’s made sure that Hal isn’t too much like Mitchell but has a few of his traits to keep the link there. I’ve watched Being Human ever since the pilot aired on BBC 3 and I have to say this is by far the best series yet, a great mix of humour and drama without letting either take over.

      Am I the only one who doesn’t believe that the blonde girl from the future is Eve? I don’t know why it’s just a feeling I have.

  3. kandaliss says:

    love being humen i like how ye have a vampier a ghost a wolf and a god baby it cool i think im ur youngest fan im only 10

  4. maxiloulou says:

    nice show, i’m a big fan

    congratz from belgium ^^

  5. tom says:

    i dont like that they killed off all thses people and george recently

  6. Drexxy says:

    I was a Huge fan until the 3rd season finale. Now with the 4th series unveiling I’m not sure I will continue watching and my gut tells me this will be the final season unless they bring back some old faces. Also with the weird present and future back and forth’s, my head is hurting. My love is waning and suddenly the American version is looking more palatable to me.

  7. love what the new characters “could” be but not much action from them,and not feeling the darkness of what being human was in the last series,pls sort it before i lose interest.

  8. Chis O says:

    I have watched ever since day one. I am a huge fan. Didn’t like the American (and I’m from America) version as much because it wasn’t the characters that I new and loved. I like the new guys but it just isn’t the same without George and Mitchel. As Drexxy said I am now liking the American version a bit better. Also it looks like they are just rehashing old story lines with the new crew. And how the just got rid of Nina was wrong. Focus and get your act together. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Who cares what other shows are doing you had a winner…

  9. sarah says:

    Im loving the new series. Missing Mitchell, George and Nina but im learning to live without them. The new characters are great and they are doing a great job. Still loving it and thats all that matters

  10. nottsguy33 says:

    No… Being Human is not the same.
    It does not make you laugh anymore, like with George and Nina…
    It’s all too dark and depressing now.
    We are finished with it… 😦

  11. Helen says:

    Okay, I’m a huge fan of Being Human UK – the US I’m comig to terms with now they have gone off piest and are developing their own lore away from the UK.
    I mourne Mitchell hugely and wish Nina and George could have stayed on but as this had to happen I think that the writers have done extreemly well when it comes to creating new characters. They have deliberately gone for total opposites of what came before and I appreciate it. There is no ‘replace’ characters and both Tom and Hal have enough to carry the show forward.
    I have to say though, I wasn’t loving in the first two episodes and watched more out of lingering loyalty than love but as the episodes go on they have become a hell of a lot better. Bravo!

  12. Arya says:

    I always felt Being Human was an excellent concept that hadn’t quite fulfilled its potential, and I watched with amusement, but a lingering hope that it would improve with age. George was sweet and funny but a bit of an everyman, and Mitchell was skinny, smelly and only really interesting when he was being bad. Annie was always great, sugary-sweet but proving to have excellent comic timing and a core of steel!

    In series 4, with a return to the gut-busting humour and the budding bromance between earthy, pratcially illiterate but sweet-hearted Tom and ancient, cultured, acid-tongued, OCD and frankly breathtakingly drop-dead gorgeous vampire Hal, I think BH has finally found its stride. Loved every episode so far, highly re-watchable and extremely engaging. I’m finding it hard to fill the time until Sunday nights!

    • lucy says:

      I totally agree!!! I loved the first four series because of the wit and humour with the dark story line underneath and the fifth series dispite hestitations to accept the change of characters I think is definately worth watching and has just as good humour as the first series!! I have to say though even though I do love the programme I wish the story line would hurry up and get some action! oh well, maybe next week!

  13. Pingback: The art of being human | lettersnotsentyet

  14. Laura says:

    Love it. made me laugh alot

  15. neecieb54 says:

    Racked my brains trying to work out who Yvonne reminded me of, then realised she was just like Annette Crosbie’s, in fact she is her daughter. Then the solicitor who got Tom off reminded me of David Thewliss, but I cant find anything on him. Really miss George and Mitchell but Hal is starting to grow on me and Tom is settling in nicely but his eyebrows are driving me mad !

    • Sarah says:

      It’s been driving me mad trying to figure out who Cutler reminded me of! It definitely is David Thewlis. Now I don’t have to wrack my brain trying to figure it out every time he comes on screen, so thank you! 🙂

  16. ged says:

    Loving this series, its the only thing i’m watching on TV at the moment. Hal is fantastic, gorgeous, old fashioned and romantic, but still dangerous. Tom is Brilliant, loving those eyebrows, and Annie is her usual perfect self. They fit really well together, script writing is hilarious, please don;t kill any of these characters off………………

  17. fixxxer says:

    used to really like uk being human but series 4 is just bad and i hope it’s the last. the US version isn’t great but watchable.

  18. fixxxer says:

    i knew this show would tank when mitchel was killed off. that’s why george and nina exited the series.

  19. stella says:

    I am still trying to figure out what side the lawyer guy is on but guessing he is the new baddie as the copper was turfed. Hal seems more different than Mitchell and in a good way I think and thank goodness Kirby didn’t last long. Tom is not growing on me at all and miss George mostly. The transition was not smooth at all from 3 to 4 still trying to make sense of it all including the other ghost villain I don’t understand. I am hoping it will make sense later. I hope the writers aren’t intending another vamp/ghost relationship as we already went there. I wouldn’t and won’t watch the inferior US version as it is not complimentary at all. It is and will always be the best version Being Human UK and will always be to it’s true fans.

  20. Abi says:

    I just wanted to put it out there that the bloke who plays Hal is so very sexy I may cry myself to sleep tonight and then tomorrow and so on. I’ve never watched ‘Being Human’ until it happened to be on the other week and I thought “WHO is THAT?”. I’ve been watching ever since. Good God he’s gorgeous.

  21. If an American may speak…. I would like to say that I was sure, no, I was adamantly set to DISLIKE Series 4!! I had grown quite comfortable with the cast as it was and didn’t want Aidan Turner’s Mitchell to be written out of the show. At the very least, I was NOT going to like this new vampire Hal! Tom was a bit different, as he had been introduced in Series 3. Having gotten that said, (with complete honesty) if I had missed this Series on account of my resistance to change, I would have missed out on SO very much!!! I DO still miss Mitchell, but Damian Maloney’s Hal quietly worked his way into my heart. The show has a different dynamic & a freshness that was, well, needed! I can truthfully say that if (I hope, I hope, I hope!) there is a new Series to be done, I will quite happily and contentedly watch with unabashed joy!!! (Yes I do watch the US version, but I will remain ever true to my beloved original UK show!!!)

  22. Bri says:

    I was so sad when Mitchel died and then to hear that the show would be almost all new made me nervous. By episode 2 season 4, I found out I like this better!!!!! I adore Tom and how he cracks on Hal. And Annie is so clever and funny!!!! Love the show more and more!!!!

  23. Dawn says:

    I think they have done a fantastic job. I was devastated with the loss of both Mitchell and George, and had little hope of the show recovering from that loss, but I had to see it through, so I tuned in for series four, and I am so glad that I did. Tom is so lovable, with his naivety and good nature. Hal was a most welcome change. He is absolutely adorable, and hilariously funny. Annie, as someone said is a bit annoying, but that’s Annie for you. She’s as sweet as she is annoying. I love watching the bond that is forming between Hal and Tom. Not a lot of shows can recover from the loss of three main characters, so I think it’s quite a testament to both Toby Whithouse, and his team of writers, as well as Damien Molony and Michael Socha. I only hope the people in the UK are tuning in (I am in the U.S.) and it stays on the air for at least one more series.

  24. have to say Being Human just isnt the same any more, now all the original characters are gone i dont know what they are going to do with the show now, i missed Mitchell, George and Nina all the way through this series so i dread to think what i will be like with series 5 without Annie. It just feels like everything i love about the show at the beginning has now been taken out of it.

  25. Mandy Seddon says:

    If Eve had to die to kill all the vampire’s? When Annie killed her, Why did Hal not die?

  26. Alan Munroe says:

    i think that this new being human series 5 will be brilliant an i think the way all the old characters have been taken out an replaced is a good thing even tho mitchell george nina and annie were brilliant i can see hal , and tom being the best couple so far also i would like to say i will surley be enjoying the new series 5 an would never watch the american version of anything

  27. Michael Hewlett says:

    Having left it a decent amount of time since the finale completion, I still find myself perplexed by a number of things going on in Being Human this past series and at the beeb.

    Is it me or did our beloved bunch of misfits get completely dense during this series?

    ‘Tom’ showed great potential as a character in the previous outings and rightly cemented a decent role, however, he has gone from loveable if slightly immature, but reasonably savvy to flitting between immature and.completely dense.

    ‘Annie’ went beyond the pale in denseness in this past series, and we witnessed a trend here with failure of Freema Agyeman’s character in Dr Who, who went the same to stunted emotional immaturity. I cannot fathom this at all and I found myself screaming at the daftness of it all last night.

    And this is where I get slightly tetchy with the beeb and the producers of both Dr Who and Being Human; both ‘Martha Jones’ and ‘Annie’ had huge potential to develop as strong black female characters with more than enough edge to spare, however, the story lines and plots diminished this and reduced both to, lets be honest, plank-acting. Opportunity well and truly missed.

    What was truly unacceptable in last nights episode was how our beloved misfits were given a script that allowed them to forget what they experienced and knew to be right and true not 5 seconds earlier. Clearly the worst victim of this was ‘Annie’, but they all had a go at being or appearing to utterly stupid. Shame on the script.

    Overall I was underwhelmed and left angry at how a coach and horses was driven through this series. It was there on a plate to be utterly successful on many levels, but some lump had their hands tied behind their back, one leg trussed up behind their upper leg, blindfolded and told to face a penalty at Wembley.

    I do hope it can be redeemed. It needs a more savvy people-person at the tiller to handle this. The remaining characters have great potential.

  28. ddjjbb says:

    What started out as a bit of a grimace-of-a-series turned out to be one of the best out of the bunch so far. Annie went from being just plain stooopid and annoying to become a truly strong, full-blown character by the end. And both Hal and Tom grew in both stature and love-ability. The story although muddled at the beginning wrapped everything up tightly at the end and what an ending it was!
    Last night’s finale was a real roller-coaster of emotion, insight, wonderful scripting and great acting by all concerned. My niggling worries for the future of this series have now been blown well out of the water and I just can’t wait for the next series to come along.
    I no longer miss George or Mitchell, (didn’t think that would ever happen) and now love the new evolving cast.
    This series finally looks like it has a very bright future once again.
    Bring it on!

  29. Dawn says:

    As I stated in a previous post, I really have gotten used to the new characters, mainly Hal and Tom, and I would love to see where they go with the series, so I was wondering, could anyone here please tell me if the show has been picked up for a fifth series? I have looked around, but not seen anything about whether or not it was renewed. I’d appreciate any help.

    On a side note, I thought Toby Whithouse did a brilliant job with the finale. At least the way it ended, could either be a good ending for the series, with Annie finally finishing her unfinished business, or a good beginning for our new characters. I’m hoping for the latter.

    • Dawn says:

      Actually, now that I have read the posts more thoroughly, I see several people are talking as though it has already been picked up for a fifth series. I had checked on the main Being Human site, and didn’t see anything like that, so I’m hoping you guys already know for a fact that it has indeed been picked up.

  30. Nick says:

    I enjoyed the 4th series but I still think the 1st and 2nd series are the best. Now that the last of the original cast has now gone, the new cast might shine

  31. Mahmut Kaide says:

    After two fantastic seasons, this franchise was destroyed by the rancid third series; so frankly “reinvention” is just a euphemism for: trying to claw back glories frittered away long ago.

    Honestly, it was an impressive feat by Toby Whithouse et al. to render leads as charismatic as Lenora Crichlow, Aidan Turner and Russell Tovey were to be as gratingly unbearable as they ended up, particularly in the light of how well constructed and emotionally charged their interactions had been up to that point. The decent thing to do would be to euthanize the turgid mess that remains, but being the cynic I am, I suspect dependent on how the beans count up, the creators and producers of the show will continue abusing the goodwill of the fans who remember how good the show used to be in order to produce ever-diminishing instalments of it, that ultimately erode the standing of the franchise.

    Had the show ended after two seasons, people would have been left wanting more, an infinitely preferable situation to the present mode where most people are hoping it will get better. Tragic.

  32. RaeJene says:

    I love the Brit Being Human much more than the American version. These characters treat each other with love and respect. Truly this show has lived up to its title “Being Human”. I hope the new cast members will carry the same legacy of excellence, if not I’ll probably move on to something else.

  33. Charles Alan says:

    Is it just me , has the humour been lost ? there used to be a twist from humour to horror and back now its just horror and tricks.

    I also miss the original cast banter.

    Alan.

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