TV Review: Great ‘Being Human’ Returns For Riveting Second Season

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Average: 5 (2 votes)

CHICAGO – The excellent “Being Human” returns tonight, July 24th, 2010 with a spectacular season premiere that kicks off the continuously complex lives of Mitchell the vampire (Aidan Turner), George the werewolf (Russell Tovey), and Annie the ghost (Leonora Crichlow). Hopefully you won’t write this show off as merely another part of the trend of bloodsucking drama and will recognize that this unique hybrid of human drama and creature feature deserves your attention even if you’re weary of all things “True Blood” or “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” this summer. TV Rating: 5.0/5.0
TV Rating: 5.0/5.0

The first season of “Being Human,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, ended in a flurry of activity and creator Toby Whithouse’s show has never felt like one that would merely wipe the slate clean and start a new season without addressing the repercussions of what came before. To that end, life in the most supernatural flat in England is a little stressful.

Being Human
Being Human
Photo credit: Touchpaper Television and BBC

Last season ended with the grisly death of the vampire leader Herrick at the clawed hands and teeth of the previously awkward George, now described as “The Killer of Kings.” The event has created a power vacuum in the world of the bloodsuckers which has led to unrest that could force Mitchell into a position of leadership. More interestingly, George is caught between fear and aggression. The former because he’s really only a deadly machine when the moon is full and needs to watch his back at all other times and the latter because he hates to admit that he kind of enjoyed his taste of the dark side. As a new character says to the men at the end of episode one, “You’re sliding into chaos here. Should be an interesting show.

Being Human
Being Human
Photo credit: Touchpaper Television and BBC

As for Annie, the bit of closure she achieved at the end of season one has led to a new outgoing ghost. She can now be seen and so makes the unusual decision to get a job at a local pub. On her first day she meets a man named Saul who hides a dark, dark secret and a connection to Annie that’s a fascinating one that you’ll never see coming. At the same time, Nina (Sinead Keenan) must deal with the fact that George gave her his “gift” during the conflict in the final episode of season one. Her first transformation is a riveting one.

Meanwhile, a group of researchers led by the mysterious Kemp (Donald Sumpter) have been capturing creatures of the night and performing truly disturbing experiments on them. Over the arc of the first few episodes, they get closer and closer to our heroes.

Finally, both George and Mitchell meet fascinating new women. George is drawn to a sexy vampire (Amy Manson) who embraces the dark side that Nina seems to fear while Mitchell meets a lonely doctor named Lucy (Lyndsey Marshal) who might understand the boredom and isolation that have turned him, in the words of his best friend, into “deadly furniture” but who holds a truly jaw-dropping secret herself. That’s the theme of “Being Human.” We may not be vampires or werewolves, but we all hold secrets.

Being Human
Being Human
Photo credit: Touchpaper Television and BBC

The scripts for “Being Human” are so remarkably clever and well-structured that their quality might slide under the radar while you’re focusing on all the action and drama of the stories. The dialogue in “Being Human” is such a fine-tuned balance of wit, humor, and melodrama and the way each plot twist and turn reveals itself is masterful, but genre writing is often ignored in favor of traditional melodrama. “Being Human” is one of the most well-written shows on television.

And well-performed. As with a lot of programs, the actors seem more comfortable in these character’s shoes now that they have a season under their belts. Crichlow brilliantly balances the new confidence of Annie with the melancholy of a character that still so desperately wants to be loved. Turner has stopped the over-brooding and shines in scenes with his potential new love. And Tovey is spectacular, making the new double-sided George one of the most fascinating characters on television. The whole supporting cast, especially with several new additions this season, rises to the challenge of the leads.

Ultimately, I’ve always had a soft spot for shows that subvert genre expectations. At their best, “The X-Files” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” were so much more than their mere plot descriptions could possible capture. “Being Human” sounds like a silly tale of the supernatural but it says more about all of our attempts at humanity than any show on this season. Don’t miss it.

‘Being Human’ stars Leonora Crichlow, Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner, Sinead Keenan, Donald Sumpter, and Lyndsey Marshal. It was created by Toby Whithouse. Season two premieres on Saturday, July 24th, 2010 at 9pm CST. content director Brian Tallerico

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