TV Review: Fourth Season of BBC America’s Great ‘Being Human’ Hits the Reset Button

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CHICAGO – Rarely has a show blown itself up more than the great BBC America supernatural program “Being Human” does in its first two episodes of its fourth season. Imagine if Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder just up and left “The Vampire Diaries.” And then imagine that the program survived such a loss but arguably got MORE interesting. Such is the stunning case of “Being Human“‘s fourth season, a show that appears to have hit reboot on its own program and survived the crash. TV Rating: 4.5/5.0
TV Rating: 4.5/5.0

The first two episodes of the fourth season of “Being Human” are incredibly transitional, saying goodbye to beloved characters and introducing new ones. I’m going to tread very lightly but it’s impossible to talk too much about the fourth season of “Being Human” without spoiling a bit of it. So, if you want to remain completely ignorant of the MAJOR changes to come, don’t say you weren’t warned. As has been widely reported and anyone can tell by looking at any of the publicity for the program, vampire Mitchell (Aidan Turner) and werewolf Nina (Sinead Keenan) are gone before the first episode even airs. Mitchell is gone due to the action of the third season finale but Nina, surprisingly, is killed off-screen between seasons. And, once again this is no major spoiler, werewolf George (Russell Tovey) is not a series regular for long.

Being Human
Being Human
Photo credit: BBC America

What does this leave? Well, Annie (Lenora Crichlow) becomes the lead by virtue of familiarity. In the first episode, George is dealing with the traumatic death of Nina by a group of vampires and refuses to leave the side of his baby out of fear that she will be next. Of course, a baby born to two werewolves is of great interest to the bloodsuckers and George’s fears are soon proven to be valid.

Being Human
Being Human
Photo credit: BBC America

Meanwhile, in a way that makes the season premiere feel a little disjointed, we’re introduced to other characters who will surely be a major part of the action in season four. The primary newbie is a tough werewolf named Tom (Michael Socha), who has been on the show before but now takes a prominent lead role. Tom is the tough, poorly-spoken opposite of George. Where George was timid at first, Tom is aggressive, eager to take down vamps and loyal to those on his side. Socha seems like an unusual fit at first but really improves in episode two. I’m curious to see where they take this character.

While George, Tom, and Annie dominate the premiere, there are also glimpses of other characters that will play more prominent roles in the future including a vision of an apocalyptic future that it appears George’s baby could play a role in bringing about and, believe it or not, another trio that includes a ghost named Pearl and a vampire named Hal (new regular Damien Molony). Once again, creator Toby Whithouse offers a character who isn’t exactly the polar opposite of the same supernatural type that came before but isn’t far off. Where Mitchell was a passionate force of nature, Hal is more reserved, a creature of forced habit who places dominoes every day under the theory that routine destroys his bloody natural instincts.

Being Human
Being Human
Photo credit: BBC America

If it sounds like a lot for two episodes, it certainly is, but every time I raised a critical concern, Whithouse and his talented team of writers and actors shot it down. I was concerned for a bit that the show had lost its way tonally. The first episode is VERY dark, as anything featuring a baby in jeopardy would be, but the show proves in its second episode that it hasn’t completely lost its sense of humor or razor-sharp wit. I was also concerned that, as much as I love her, Annie/Crichlow couldn’t carry a show. “Being Human” is at its best as an ensemble and I’m sure the writers were tempted to turn it into more of a lead piece for Crichlow if just because she was the most familiar. That doesn’t happen. I can’t believe it but I didn’t miss Turner, Keenan, or Tovey at all once I got to know Socha and Molony. In fact, the new actors inject the program with some new energy and avenues for storytelling.

Unlike all but the procedural shows in the States, British programming has never been afraid to blow itself up to stay fresh and vital — “Doctor Who,” “Primeval,” “Torchwood” — all of these shows have had seasons in which they radically revised themselves. They don’t always turn out for the best. It’s too soon to say for sure but the reimagined “Being Human” could actually end up being more creatively vital and entertaining than its predecessor. I know I’m going to watch this great show and find out.

“Being Human” stars Leonora Crichlow, Michael Socha, Damien Molony, and Russell Tovey. It was created by Toby Whithouse and the fourth season premieres on BBC America on Saturday, February 25th, 2012 at 8pm CST. content director Brian Tallerico

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Sally's picture


I completely agree with your points. I was wary at first about the enormous cast changes but once I got down to watching the first few episodes everything seemed completely natural. George will be missed but I really do love the new characters especially Hal - you’re right, his quiet nature is very refreshing. I also love Doctor Who and Primeval, they blow up their cast all the time, but I always grow to love the new line-up a little bit more. Hopefully Being Human can be just if not more awesome than before!

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