Being Human on Two Continents

8 Feb

I find that my appreciation of TV shows depends a lot on how they’re marketed to me. If I expect something from a TV show, it takes a bit of effort in order to get past that expectation and appreciate it for what it is.

That being said, I think it’s important that people know what they’re getting into when they start a new TV show, so here’s your prep:

Being Human is not a comedy.


The BBC/British version was sometimes described as a comedy, at least according to Wikipedia and some of the TV ads I’ve seen.  (I think it probably started when some ad exec heard the premise: “A werewolf, ghost and vampire in a flat together? That sounds like the start of a joke. Must be a comedy!”)

It’s really not though. It’s a supernatural drama with the occasional humorous moment. As the seasons go on, the show’s been focussing more and more on the dramatic aspect of interaction between George (werewolf), Mitchell (vampire) and Annie (ghost) and their various acquaintances…so much drama that there’s hardly any comedy anymore.

It is well written, and, if you like watching supernatural dramas, it’s interesting without being a soap opera, which I definitely appreciate. It’s a drama with just enough traces of comedy to make watching it enjoyable.

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The SyFy/American version, on the other hand, makes no claim to be a comedy. It’s pure drama through and through. Somehow, (at least so far) it’s managed to stay away from the soap opera tendency of other supernatural shows, like Vampire Diaries or True Blood or The Gates, but it’s not nearly as witty as its counterpart..

The people are prettier in the US version, because apparently Hollywood’s influence in inescapable. In the UK version, while the main characters are nice to look at, everyone else is remarkable only in how normal and sometimes fugly they look.

Character names have changed, even though most of the plot points have stayed the same. Mitchell’s Aidan, Annie is Sally and George is Josh. It shouldn’t matter, but the name changes mess up my connective brain just enough that it’s like I’m watching a whole new show…but that’s probably just me.

The only change I don’t like is that Sally’s outfit isn’t nearly as cool as Annie’s was. (Yeah, I’m going to talk about clothes now. I’m a girl. Deal with it.) Annie was wearing layers, and she managed to vary the way she wore them so that it seemed like she was changing her clothes. But she wasn’t! It’s brilliant. I think it took me seven episodes to notice that although her outfit had changed every week, it really was just the same five pieces worn in different ways. Sally’s only got three layers, and no way to change her look, which makes me sad; I think the creativity of Annie’s outfit is one of the best parts of the Brit show.

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