Saturday, 29 January 2011

'BEING HUMAN' (USA) 1.2 – "There Goes The Neighborhood: Part 2"

Saturday, 29 January 2011

I'm in a quandary with this series. As a remake it hasn't offended my love for the UK original, which started its own third series last weekend, and that's great. It's just a hard show to review at this unripe stage, because it's largely following the BBC version's storylines. Frankly, I can't really get excited about anything happening because I know where it's all going, or can hazard a very educated guess. Maybe when Being Human USA is standing on its own two feet, it'll be more entertaining to review every week, similarly to how NBC's The Office was a tedious affair for awhile because it was content to walk in the BBC's footsteps.

So for now, I'll just say this: "There Goes The Neighborhood: Part 2" was of equal quality to "Part 1", but I was surprised they explained the backstory to how Aidan (Sam Witwer) and Josh (Sam Huntington) lost their humanity in the brief prologue, considering the potential for a whole episode explaining their origins, and the fact the BBC made the wiser decision to wait before delving into all that background. It sometimes feels like the US version's too eager to get to the next opportunity for a special effect, rather than make us get under the skin of the three characters. Witwer's not terrible, but he's a little bland and wooden; Huntington's a likeable presence, but there isn't much of the thwarted passion Russell Tovey brings to the character; and Meaghan Rath is sweet and competent, although her character's more depressing than her bubblier UK counterpart. There are no major problems with Being Human USA so far, just a feeling that the show's a soft sitcom version of the original's grittier drama.

It's impossible to watch this show with a totally clear head if you've seen the UK version, really. I can't help comparing the performances to the British cast and noticing how the tone of the remake's softer and less realistic in some ways. Or as real as a show about a vampire, werewolf and ghost housemates can be. Being Human USA feels like a television show about a supernatural trio, whereas Being Human feels like a drama about three people afflicted with inhuman conditions. For me, this remake has good fidelity to the original's premise, storylines and characters, but not to its "kitchen sink" realism in terms of tone and performances.

Overall, I'm not sure I'll be writing full reviews of Being Human USA from hereon in, at least not until the majority of its storylines have clearly diverged from the BBC version (as Josh's appears to be, slowly.) That may take awhile, but I'll perhaps chip in with brief thoughts every week, until the show starts to feel less like "a copycat American twin" and more like "a sharp, witty British cousin who emigrated to the United States and developed an accent".

WRITERS: Jeremy Carver & Anna Fricke
TRANSMISSION: 24 January 2011, Syfy, 9/8c