Being Human is a BBC TV series created by Toby Whitehouse about three apparent twenty-somethings, Anna (“Annie”) Sawyer, John Mitchell (“Mitchell”) and George Sands sharing a house in Bristol. Inevitably, however, there is something “different” about them. The first thing, perhaps, is that most of the neighbours only see two housemates, as meek, anxious to please Annie (Lenora Crichlow) is a ghost who died in the house which she used to share with her fiancé, Owen (who is now the landlord). Mitchell (Aidan Turner) is a dark, brooding and good-looking guy who works as a porter in the local hospital: and a vampire who has sworn off blood and is struggling to cope with the series of heinous acts he committed when he was first converted to vampirism. Finally George (Russell Tovey), is a precise, polite, rather fussy and highly intelligent werewolf who also works at the hospital; he’s a previously devout Jew who wears a Star of David at all times, but whose faith has lapsed with his transformation: he feels that he falls outside of faith.
This might have been just another soft-porn teenage vampire worship series, but it’s not. The title is the clue – all three main characters are clinging on to the shreds of the things that make them human, and rejecting as much as possible those things that don’t, and it’s these human interactions that make the characters most interesting. Yes, there are sub-plots relating to the supernatural elements of the characters: Annie, in order to move on from her ghostly state needs to resolve her unresolved issues (She thinks that’s to take care of poor Owen, who she should have married and who is now in the toils of downmarket tanning-salon owner Janey, an orange skinned bimbo, but she discovers she’s wrong), Mitchell is resisting being pulled back into Vampire society, where his extreme exploits of the past are legendary tales which he finds highly embarrassing, and George has to accept, and even embrace, his “disability” in order to come to terms with who he is; but at the core of the series is three young people trying to live quiet, normal lives, being prevented from doing so by things they never chose.
All three leading performances are strong, with numerous good supporting players, too - Gregg Chillin as Annie’s vile fiancé Owen, and Jason Wattins as Herrick (the leader of the vampires who want to rule the world, with Mitchell in a pivotal role) are both strong, and Sinead Pickering as Nina, the staff nurse who falls for George and is inadvertently infected with the werewolf condition, is rock solid. However, it’s Russell Tovey that makes the series shine. George is by turns bright and bumbling, prissy and violent, terrified and courageous in a way that allows all the contradictions to be totally believable, and he forms the hub around which the series turns.
Being Human is an intelligent and engaging piece of television, well worth watching.