After the post last week, I felt we really should watch Being Human, the new BBC3 series set largely in Totterdown. We were, I have to say, pleasantly surprised.
I’m not going to summarise the plot here, other than to say: it’s a fantasy version of the classic sitcom plot. Three oddball characters who are stuck with each other – a vampire and a werewolf who are trying to appear human, and have managed to rent a haunted house.* If it is a sitcom, though, it’s the sort I’d like to write myself: the sort without very many jokes in.**
Some things were a little overused – the heavy heartbeat when Mitchell The Vampire’s blood-lust attacks came on; and the post-production effect used to make skies look darker and more interesting. Some of the mechanics of the worldbuilding don’t quite make sense, either.*** But, overall, the series was remarkably subtle and realistic, at least as far as something involving almost-immortal beasts can be, of course. Moreover, unlike the trailer, the characters, not the backdrop, were its main focus. It might have obviously-recognisable locations – the Totterdown house, the General Hospital, St Nick’s Market**** – and it might have bit-part actors with local accents; but so far, it could have been set anywhere. It didn’t rely on the location for anything.
I can guess how the series is going to go from here. The real test, I suppose, comes with: just how well the minor characters are treated. Will Herrick, or Lauren, become just as full a character as Mitchell? What about Annie’s fiance?***** We’ll watch it, because we’ll be intrigued to find out. And, of course, just in case, we spot anyone we know lurking in the background of a shot.
* go back to the post linked in the first paragraph to find out more about it.
** This is a good thing; we noted that Being Human was made by the BBC’s Cardiff drama section, and not by the people responsible for the awful laugh-tracked sitcoms that pass for entertainment on BBC3.
*** Actually, Vampire Civil Wars are an interesting argument to overcome the usual objection to vampires: if they’re immortal, and all their victims became vampires, then why didn’t we get to an I Am Legend-type situation about three weeks after they first evolved? Not being up on vampire-based literature, I don’t know if anyone else has ever covered it. They must have, at some point.
**** We did both shout out “Pie shop!” when George The Werewolf ran through the market and past the Pieminister stall
***** It confirms something I’ve thought for a long time, incidentally: ghost stories really can be the saddest stories in the world.