Being Human returns this month for a series departed further from its original concept than ever before. We now have Tom, Hal and Alex (Michael Socha, Damien Molony and Kate Bracken) forming our supernatural triangle instead of Mitchell, George, and Annie (Aidan Turner, Russell Tovey and Lenora Crichlow) and the show doesn’t seem the least bit concerned with treading over old ground. Judging by this first episode, series five is going to forge its own distinct path, leaving the simple pleasures of a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire trying to forge normal lives together far, far behind. Annie is barely mentioned, though Eve’s memory still plagues her surrogate dad’s, and the lack of nostalgia is probably a smart move.
This might be a concern for those fans who weren’t completely won over by last year’s semi-reboot. Things definitely aren’t going to get smaller, for example, as new villains and a grand new mythology are set up in this premiere that will likely dominate the entire series (and possibly future episodes, too). There’s no looking back, only forward, and those seeking a back-to-basics fifth year need not apply. This is essentially a brand new show after last year’s in-between series, and the new trio are allowed space to build their own chemistry and dynamic without the memory of old housemates hanging over them.
Hal and Tom still have their comedic double-act going for them, and the brilliantly bonkers friendship between them hasn’t gone anywhere. Fans of the duo’s cafe banter won’t be disappointed, despite there having been something of a shake-up in the workplace. This is comforting right off the bat simply because a lot of viewers require a crumb of familiarity when going into this almost completely uprooted series.
Michael Socha and Damien Malony are amazing finds that bring back the comedic element of Being Human somewhat lost after the first series, and new girl Kate Bracken complements the already-established dynamic beautifully. Alex is as charming and ballsy as you remember, as well as refreshing in her vast difference from Annie’s character.
When we first revisit Honolulu Heights, the show hits us with a great comedy skit right away and the episode strikes a tone of serious and gruesome vs. witty and irreverent better than it’s done in a while. That said, the hour is only as entertaining and compelling as any episode of series four, and it’s too early to tell whether this incarnation of Being Human can scale its previous heights.
Addressing the threats imposed on the group this year, they’re going to have their hands full. Some shadowy characters from the last series are back, though we don’t know for how long, and it seems the town of Barry has become the home of a bigger than usual big bad. The apocalyptic danger and vast mythology introduced in the episode is leagues from where the series began, making this period of adjustment a little jarring for longtime fans.
If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, this would be the perfect time to pick up Being Human. Old fans of the series may decide to jump ship, but that doesn’t mean that others more disposed to the show as it is now can’t replace them.
Overall, this is a solid first episode of a series with a fantastic central cast that doesn’t let you miss the old residents of Honolulu Heights. You’ll be appropriately intrigued to see what happens with the supernatural factions that have been moved chess-style into their various positions, and might be just as happy spending time with Tom, Hal and Alex, drinking tea and watching telly. After all, isn’t that what Being Human is all about?
Being Human returns to BBC Three later this month.
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