I’m not one to instantly prefer a TV series just because it comes from Britain. I think the quality of British TV is often exalted by those who are just too embarrassed to admit they like TV at all. If it’s British, and on PBS, well, then it’s got to be good, right? Granted, sometimes that’s true, but one must remember, just because someone has a British accent does not instantly mean he’s smart.
Which is why I imagine a show like “Being Human” might appeal to TV snobs who might not deign to watch a show like “True Blood” or “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The series, the plot of which–a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf share a flat in Bristol, England–yes, sounds like the set-up of a bad joke, premiered earlier this year in Britain and starts its U.S. run on BBC America Saturday at 9 P.M. (This U.S. premiere does not include the original pilot, which aired in 2008. When the show was picked up for series, much of the show’s cast was replaced, and some of its story changed.)
The ghost is Annie (Lenora Crichlow), who died in the flat she shared with her fiance; she prefers to stay close to home. While most folks can’t see her, her flatmates can, most likely because they have supernatural traits of their own. George (Russell Tovey) became a werewolf after an attack while vacationing in Scotland (remember kids, always stay off the moors!), and Mitchell (Aidan Turner) has been a vampire for close to 100 years. Both guys work as orderlies in a hospital and do their best to blend in and live normal lives. For George, this becomes difficult during his “time of the month,” and Mitchell is constantly fighting his own blood lust.
Vampires and werewolves and ghosts are nothing new to TV, (nor are shows about roommates, for that matter), and “Being Human” is breaking no new ground in its storytelling. Many shows about supernatural characters include an aspect involving them trying to blend in, or become accepted by “normal” society. But I admit this show is appealing. The actors have a good chemistry, and there are moments of dark humor throughout. There appears to be an overarching plot involving vampire society hoping to take over the world–which Mitchell is rebelling against–that I am not sure I find too compelling, so for now I will be content with seeing just how these three bad-joke protagonists are able to continue their human-impersonations. And if the show can persuade TV Anglophiles to give some American shows of the supernatural variety a chance, all the better.
“Being Human” airs on BBC America Saturday nights at 6 and 9 P.M.