Saturday, June 28, 2014

Being Human (US – Season 3) – review

Director: Various

First aired: 2013

Contains spoilers

Whilst Being Human was a brilliant concept, the BBC production went steadily downhill season upon season. The UK Season 3 had me stating, “when it is good it is very, very good but when it is bad it is a little like snogging a rotting, animated corpse, leaving a bad taste in the viewer's mouth.” Not so its American doppelgänger, which is consistently high quality.

Sam Huntingtin as Josh
Let me take my quote as a point in case. The reason I mentioned the rotting corpse was down to an episode that featured a zombie character (and a necrophilic rotting kiss). It was an excellent episode that was a one off and entered into for comedic effect. The reason that the zombie came to be was roughly story related but didn’t stand too much scrutiny in the grand scheme. The US season 3 also features zombies but their introduction is entirely story based, entered into for dramatis reasons, makes sense in the universe and is a featured plot point.

Sally in Limbo
So, Season 2 left us with Sally the ghost (Meaghan Rath) banished to limbo and Aidan the vampire (Sam Witwer, Angel & Dark Angel: Love in Vein) buried alive as a punishment. This season starts 18 months later. Josh (Sam Huntington, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night) is no longer a werewolf, having killed his maker (Andreas Apergis) but the lifting of the curse has not passed down the line to his girlfriend Nora (Kristen Hager, Valemont). They have spent the last 18 months going from psychic to psychic trying to get a line on Sally to no avail. They have also been questioning vampires to try and find Aidan.

Henry contracts the virus
Unfortunately the vampires have had their own problems – in that they are dying out as a race. A flu strain has swept across the world and it seems it was mild from a human point of view (if a pandemic) as we get the idea that it knocked an infected person out for a couple of weeks but no sense that it was deadly. Unfortunately it has left the blood of any infected person poisonous to vampires. They contract the disease and quickly, over a matter of days, turn to dust. Taking advantage of this, the werewolves are hunting the remaining vampires down whilst they are weak with hunger. Aidan finds himself dug out of the ground and turned into a one-man blood farm as there is a thought amongst the vampires that his missing of the pandemic event will cure them – it does not. Once liberated Aidan meets with his vampiric son, Henry (Kyle Schmid, Blood Ties), who has a unique method of staying fed – until Aidan wrecks it and Henry becomes infected.

Amy Aquino as Donna
Meanwhile Josh and Nora have been directed to a witch, Donna (Amy Aquino), who can return Sally from Limbo but not as a ghost. Using the heart of someone Josh has killed and Sally’s exhumed body Donna is able to return her to life. There is a catch, however, Sally cannot see anyone from her life and a complication in that she pulls her friends Stevie (Robert Naylor) and Nick (Pat Kiely) out of limbo too (they awaken in their coffins off screen and are rescued by Josh). Sally soon finds that the catch is very real as anyone she meets, from her life, dies.

Sally is feeling zombiefied
What Sally dies not know is that Donna consumes their souls – she is over three hundred years old and essentially an energy vampire. When Sally sees her brother (Jesse Rath, My Babysitter’s a Vampire) she begs Donna’s help and Donna cuts her a deal, allowing her to see people from her past in return for her soul. The curse is also lifted from Nick and Stevie, as they are all connected, but all three begin to suffer an insatiable hunger and then start to rapidly rot from the inside out. Only live flesh satisfies the hunger and soon only human flesh will do – they are the zombies I mentioned and they are full on flesh eaters but with enough sentience to be tortured over it.

Aiden's past
I don’t want to spoil how the season goes any further (I needed to touch on the zombie issue though) but I will say that we get to see Aidan’s mortal life and turning, a pureblood werewolf comes into Josh and Nora’s life and the season ends up with the genesis of a brand new monster. However, all this goes to explain why this holds together so much better than the UK version, the storylines are thought through and clearly tested against the series’ own internal logic. For instance the entire thing with Sally and Limbo matches the Annie storyline from the UK except why Sally goes over makes more sense (Annie’s plight was caused by guardians who were then steadfastly ignored) and how she came back made more sense too.

The acting, throughout, is good. The production values high. But it is the ongoing strong storyline and internal logic that makes this one of the best (and most underrated) supernatural shows on TV. 8 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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