Monday, 13 February 2012

Review: Being Human S4 E1 - 'Eve of the War'

For my Creative Non-Fiction module we were asked to write a review of something to workshop (that's where you read out your work and others give feedback, non-Creative Writers). I, as is evidently clear by this blog's title, reviewed the first episode of 'Being Human' which I really think you shou- well, I don't need to say anything more it's all below.

                                                          The new line-up for Series Four.

As I sat down to watch the first episode in a new series of supernatural comedy-drama Being Human, I was a little apprehensive. For the uninitiated, Being Human has the quirky premise – that also sounds like the start of a bad joke – of ‘what if a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost shared a house?’ The stories, in practise, revolve around the trio trying to forge an ordinary life despite their horror–story handicaps. What I have always liked about its previous series is the mix of big plots with a keen sense of humour which prevented it from taking itself too seriously. I also found myself caring about what happened to the characters next – which is really what you want from any good story.
So, even though I enjoy Being Human, the reason I was apprehensive about this new series was, because most of the main cast had left, it was being promoted as something of a ‘reboot’, a term often used to describe new versions of film franchises. I wasn’t totally against the idea of a reboot as the amount of additional characters that had joined the show meant it had maybe become a bit bloated – for example, the premise of last year’s series was more ‘three werewolves, two vampires and a ghost share a house.’ However, as I as a big fan of the show I was worried this reset would go awry. Thankfully, it didn’t and I really enjoyed it.
Firstly, this opening episode really hits the ground running, or perhaps sprinting would be more accurate. We are immediately shown a ‘Terminator’-style future Earth where vampires have taken over before returning to the present day to find Annie (she’s the ghost) comforting a grieving George (he’s the werewolf) who’s girlfriend was apparently not long ago killed by the fanged fiends – it’s shocking news although annoying this big event happens off-screen.
 If this all sounds a bit solemn then there’s plenty of fun to be had when the vampires turn up, hatching plans for world domination, no less, relishing their amorality as they go. Special marks here go to Mark Williams (Ron’s Dad in Harry Potter) who gives an entertaining turn as the geeky ‘Vampire Recorder.’ The mention of whose name elicits the sarcastic ‘‘I’m sorry for a second there I thought you had a stupid name.’’ Also, for those of us who like noticing little in-references, their hideaway is an old warehouse named ‘Stoker’s Imports and Exports’, a nod to the Dracula author.
The whole thing culminates with another cast member biting the dust (I’m not telling who) in a genuinely poignant scene which acts as closure for the series’ past, followed by a look to the future as new resident nice vampire, Hal is introduced. Overall, there could have been more humour but with the amount of game-changing plot the episode was stuffed with I’m willing to forgive. I’m sure the balance will be redressed as the series progresses. Based on this episode, I think I’ll definitely stick around to see it.
                                                Latest 'resident nice vampire' Hal (Damien Molony)
So what do you think? If I was writing it for this blog first no doubt it would have been a lot gushier, the fan that I am, and a whole paragraph would have consisted of 'I LOVE BEING HUMAN. I LOVE BEING HUMAN. I LOVE BEING HUMAN' but I was aiming for a more professional tone and for it too appeal to those who don't watch the show. Thankfully, someone said that they liked how anyone could read it so I think I reached my goal. I enjoyed writing this review actually so I might end up doing a couple more about the series over the coming weeks. Watch this space.

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