Being Human DVD review

The BBC's supernatural sit-com proves an engaging bite, if not exactly a midnight feast...

Being Human

Being Human is a show very much aware of its core audience, and does little to break its own mould in favour of pandering to that demographic. The audience I’m talking about is the slightly kooky twenty-something in need of a topic for conversation around the photocopier. That’s not to say this is an entirely bad show, simply that it feels very comfortable, very safe, and not overly exciting.

Still, the premise is a nice idea.

Three young people are sharing a flat in Bristol, with a twist – one of them is a vampire, his friend is a werewolf, and their unintended lodger is a ghost with poor self-esteem who suffered a fatal accident in the flat and now finds herself condemned to haunt its Ikea-drenched rooms for all eternity. Cue lots of ditzy and very self-aware ‘I’m so quirky’ dialogue, a dash of pathos for our three condemned heroes, and a smattering of laugh-out-loud moments (averaging roughly one per episode), and there you have it. Clichés abound in the portrayal of vampires garbed in black sexing each other up in showers and alleyways, while the werewolf is – much like a puppy – the excitable, bumbling idiot with zero tact.

The main plot of the series revolves around Mitchell, the vampire, and his fellow bloodsuckers’ desire to ‘convert’ people into an unstoppable, superior race, but it’s far from being the most interesting aspect of the show. Perhaps the most endearing character – and indeed, the most endearing story arc running throughout the series – is that of Annie, the ghost who can’t remember how she died or why she hasn’t yet crossed over into the afterlife. Understandably, having awoken to find herself dead, her confidence has been knocked, and so she spends most of her day brewing cups of tea she has no ability to drink, purely for the comfort the routine brings her. It’s in the little details like this – where we’re made to see just how wonderful and reassuring the ordinary world we take for granted can be – that Being Human shines.

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At the heart of this story is a message we’ve all seen played out before, ever since the age of Dracula and Frankenstein when pitchfork-wielding mobs would flush the poor creature from his castle in a fit of mass outrage. The ‘who are the real monsters – them or us?’ idea is a cliché, but thankfully, here it is handled with skill and never comes across as being shoved down our throats, but more like a snapshot of how hysteria can spread by word-of-mouth, creating a culture of lies and fear and ignorance – most notably explored in the fourth episode where the flatmates are mistakenly accused of being paedophiles, thanks to Mitchell inadvertently allowing some vampire porn to get into the hands of a child.

Overall then, nothing groundbreaking here, but an enjoyable series with a few standout moments to lose a few hours in all the same. Meanwhile, the special features here boil down to seven deleted scenes (the best being Mitchell receiving foul-mouthed verbal abuse from a gang of old-aged pensioners) and a handful of previously-existing scenes that have been extended, so nothing too impressive.


3 stars
3 stars

Being Human is out today.


3 out of 5