Being Human Review: Third Series Nigh And Rising..

BEING HUMAN: Sunday 23rd January, BBC3, 9pm ALERT ME

From the transmission of it’s very first pilot, Being Human has always enjoyed a fierce backing from it’s fanbase (Whithouse recalls that SFX’s fan forum ‘melted’ with approval following the first epiosde) and the show’s cult of viewers will be delighted with this grand and sweeping open to the third series.

We had been told that this year’s outing would see the show return to the slightly lighter tones of the first series, but there’s little evidence of that here. The focus of this episode is a thoroughly gloomy character introspection for Mitchell (the Middle-Earth bound vampire). His issues have been hinted at before on more than one occasion, but the personal anguish he endures at the hands of an excellent Lacey Turner as he battles to retrieve Annie from purgatory is gripping. Of course it should be no surprise to see Turner in such an environment – her character in EastEnders must have been dragging a rather heavy conscience by the time she departed the Square and we’re left hoping that Mitchell won’t go the same way as his namesake Archie. Thankfully there were no busts lying around. However the result of all this soul-searching is bold as we were left in serious doubt as to the vampire’s moral fibre and as the episode finishes, you feel those questions haven’t properly been answered. Intriguing.

No matter, because there’s plenty of other stuff going on. Russell Tovey accidentally wanders into the middle of a dogging session (a humorous green shoot in a dark and brooding landscape) and Robson Green also makes an impressive guest appearance opposite the equally menacing Paul Kaye as ‘Mad Dog’ McNair – we’ll leave you with that one – in the centre of a vampire fight-club. As with the rest of the episode, these violent transformation sequences are captured in a way that borders on cinematography, and fine cinematography at that. Being Human has always had a macabre wit, but this was television on a grander scale than we are used to.

Amid Mitchell’s suffering (genuine or otherwise..), eventual epiphany, Turner’s bi-polar star-turn and all the rest, it’s easy to forget that the gang have now moved from Bristol to Barry Island. Unlike most house moves, this one is taken in stride effortlessly and really highlights the confidence which the show is exuding at the moment. With a fourth series already all-but-confirmed and an internet spin-off heading our way very soon, it’s easy to see where such bravado comes from. In truth, when Being Human gets it right (as it often does) there aren’t many better dramas on television.

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