Being Human has always been a bit different. Part sitcom, part horror and as quintessentially British as a warm pint of Snakebite in Ashby de la Zouche Wetherspoons, it has managed to carve out a bloody niche for itself as a cult favourite that nestles comfortably on BBC3, and regularly tops iPlayer ratings charts. It has not been difficult to see why it has grown so steadily, attracting regular critical praise and spawning an American spin-off; there hasnât been anything thatâs pushed these buttons since Buffy. I mean, where else does one go for their fix of werewolf sex, bloodshed and jokes about Argos these days? Being Human has the monopoly.
This is a big year for the show. A devastating finale punctuated what had been to all intents and purposes a rather weak third series, where story lines were allowed to meander and characters stagnated. Promising threads went unexplored; Herrick, McNair and Paul Kaye were all criminally underused, whilst the melodramatic simpering of Mitchellâs overzealous conscience dominated. True to form though, Being Human did pull out all the stops, with an excellent climax resulting in the deaths of three major characters, the resurgence of a new enemy and the prospect of a whole new dynamic with a lot of promises to live up to. It was always going to be interesting seeing where series creator Toby Whithouse was going to take things.
The opening episode of series four begins shakily. A post apocalyptic futurescape replete with scratchy radios, rubble furniture and glum faces all round, is a cross between Children of Men and Terminator, I half expected poor old Clive Owen in his flip flops to poke his head out from behind a pile of stones. The Year is 2037 we are told, and New York has been lost, a vampire war, death to all humans. It seems we are in for more of the overblown, slighly daft side to Being Human. Thankfully though, we soon make it back onto firmer ground, back at the house with our heroes making the best of it. This is where Being Human really comes alive, the familiar blend of thematic darkness crossed with warm, funny dialogue that is, well, just very human. As usual Annie gets all the best lines; âI meant have a shower, not storm the bat cave,â? she reprimands George as he tells her about his latest plan of action, shortly after venomously coining the immortal term, âTwattageâ?.
The episode zips along nicely and is chock full of humour crackling beneath every outpouring of emotion. For every bit of quasi-mystical saviour speak and worry for the future of humanity, you have Mark Williams wearing a towel on his head and singing nonsense. It is this freshness that makes the programme work and keeps it grounded. We can only hope that the writers have remembered what Being Human is all about, extraordinary characters and their relationship in an ordinary world. A full scale vampire war with armies and bloodlust spearheaded by some wolfchild messiah might perhaps be a betrayal of the shows identity. Less of that please.
This is an eventful hour of viewing and leaves a lot of tantalising questions behind. Arrivals and exits abound and the introduction of Hal after a couple of clunky scenes that fall a little flat will be something to watch, charisma is always apparent and he certainly has it. Being Human needs to maintain this level of script excellence, moving on from what has gone before whilst still staying true to the shows original vision, the comedy of existence, the truth about what it is to be a person. After this episode itâs clear that the jury is still out but the signs are strong. My advice would be to keep watching.