Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Becoming Human – review

Director: Alex Kalymnio

Release Date: 2011

Contains spoilers

During the third season of Being Human, the BBC showed a web serial called Becoming Human. At the end of the third season run they aired it as a standalone spin-off episode.

The series followed Adam (Craig Roberts, Young Dracula) who had appeared as the central character in one of the Being Human third season episodes. He was a vampire, chronologically aged at 45 but trapped by his condition as a 16 year old.

Craig Roberts as Adam
The episode begins with him returning to school – he decides that getting qualifications would be useful so he doesn’t get stuck working in a call centre. The logic fell apart a little here. In the parent series he had been looked after by his father and mother, them both letting him feed from them, until they died – this wasn’t a bad premise. Now he looks to working eventually – yet he is a permanent 16. Mitchell gave him money but we don’t see where he lives – or even how he managed to rent/purchase accommodation as a 16 year old. None of this is addressed and, as such, it nags.

embarassing shenanigans
What was also fun in the parent series, but begins to wear, is Adam’s antiquated 80s speak and references to 80s pop culture (leading to a comment about him being a foreign exchange student). One wonders why he had never kept a handle on entertainment and celebrity developments in the intervening decades? Don’t get me wrong, Roberts’ performance is great, it’s just the logic behind the script that is faulty.

vampire, werewolf, ghost
In the school he meets a werewolf named Christa (Leila Mimmack), who he tries to avoid but gets thrown together with, and her stalker – Matt (Josh Brown), who she hadn’t realised was a ghost. Matt’s face is on missing posters and they realise he has been murdered. Honestly though, the idea of the ghost, the vampire and the werewolf was almost too contrived.

the vampire detective
The murder mystery itself is a little too rushed. In its original format – weekly webisodes with additional online content and clues, it worked. Cut into a single episode the 4 suspects (as we only meet 4 other characters) became too transparent, they had no depth and we lost an ability to really care. The investigation is slowed by Matt’s need for revenge on bullies, his embarrassment over past actions and his jealousy of a bond he sees forming between Adam and Christa and yet each hump in the road is sped past with alarming speed.

turning hirsute
The ending became senseless. They realise that the body is in the school and use Christa’s sense of smell to track it on the evening of a conveniently full moon. However, it wasn’t exactly well buried and the entire area would have reeked due to decomposition. Adam gets locked in with a transforming Christa but, as the killer does not believe in supernatural creatures, I wonder why? What was his purpose? A logic-less act to put the protagonists in peril. A final moan must be entered into with regards the fact that the killer is disposed of through Matt’s door to the other world – appearing when the case is closed. I apologise if that is a spoiler too far (though I haven’t said who it is) but it is exactly the solution used to dispose of Kemp in Being Human season 2. The fact that Adam suggests their killer might come back (though how he would know that is beyond me as he isn't exactly supernatural savvy) and there is an online coda of the killer appearing on a TV threatening to return suggests that this was a contrivance that was deliberately added to impact Being Human season 4 (bringing Kemp back). Time will tell on that.

So, I was fairly unimpressed with this. However there was a degree of take your brain out watchability – the trouble is, of course, that I do actually think about these things. The young actors couldn’t be faulted. Special mention to Leila Mimmack who was great as the werewolf in denial. The trouble was the logic (or lack thereof) within the plot. 3.5 out of 10  is for the episode as a pasted together whole.

The imdb page is here.

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