Being ‘human’ is hard enough for the average individual. Imagine how difficult it is for your average vampire, ghost and/or werewolf. Now, put them all in a flat in Wales and it becomes almost impossible to imagine. Being Human, the Toby Whithouse creation started out over a decade ago as a series that bordered on equal parts comedy, equal parts horror drama with original stars, Lenora Crichlow (ghost), Russell Tovey (werewolf) and Aidan Turner (vampire).
If you’re not familiar with Being Human, it’s not quite the boy meets girl story that seems to populate much of British television these days. Ok, maybe it’s a 21st century adaptation. More of a vampire meets werewolf meets ghost, get a flat in Bristol and try to live amongst the masses.
When you first hear the premise of Being Human, that being one of “ok, a group of twenty-somethings share a flat in Bristol and, oh yeah, one’s a vampire, one’s a werewolf and the third one’s a ghost”, it sounds like another pitch right out of the movie, The Player, trying to jump on the Twilight, Buffy, Vampire Diaries, or True Blood bandwagon. In the case of Being Human, however, this show lives up to any one of its’ predecessors and, in my opinion, far surpasses all of them, without question.
As the series progressed beyond series 3, new cast members Michael Socha (werewolf) and Damien Molony (vampire) were added along with Kate Bracken as Alex, ‘the new ghost’ when the original cast moved on to other ventures such as Turner being cast in that little known Peter Jackson film, The Hobbit and then there was that little series, Poldark, that ran for 5 series on BBC1 and PBS. The brilliant news is that the series developed into a top-notch horror drama with a bit of a subtle commentary on humanity as we know it sprinkled in for good measure.
Throughout the series, Turner and Tovey as vampire and werewolf battle the odds to ‘be human’, Lenora Crichlow’s ghost desperately tries to ‘fulfill her purpose on Earth’ so she can pass on into the afterlife. The great Phil Davis joined the cast for series 5 as Captain Hatch. Phil Davis is one of those brilliant actors that you may or may not know the name, but you’ll definitely know his body of work (i.e. Poldark, Sherlock, Whitechapel, Case Histories, Silk). One can only think of the evil that was Herrick (Jason Watkins) as show producers describe his character, “…Hatch embodies the worst in humanity – he’s bitter, manipulative, obsequious and cruel. And beneath his decrepit exterior there lies within him a dark and toxic secret that could rattle your soul with fear.” After Being Human, Davis would go on to be reunited several years later with Turner in Poldark.
You’re done with Fleabag, there are no new episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you’ve run through series 1 of Sanditon on PBS Passport more times than you can count, Peaky Blinders is over as is Grace and Frankie. It’s time for Being Human which is brilliant telly. It’s pushes all the right buttons especially during a lockdown binge-watch. The three leads experience unwelcome intruders, rumblings about an impending revolution from the vampire underworld and are under constant threats of exposure and persecution – on top of the usual issues faced by young people surrounding love, work and mates. All they have is each other.With 5 series and 37 episodes, there’s your weekend all planned out for you.