With much care and great consideration for the source material, Syfy has successfully re-imagined Toby Whithouse’s hit BBC series Being Human for the American television viewing audiences.
Set in the heart of Boston, Being Human follows three supernaturally disposed outcasts who, after failing to obtain any sense of normalcy on their own, come together in an attempt to support each other throughout their superordinary tribulations that result from attempting to survive daily life.
Aidan (Sam Witwer), the vampire; Josh (Sam Huntington), the werewolf and Sally (Meaghan Rath), the ghost all serve as the reluctant protagonists for this series. In addition, providing wonderful depth to not only the multiple preternatural worlds that this series attempts to realize, but also the main characters are Bishop (Mark Pellegrino), Aidan’s one-time master; Emily (Alison Louder), Josh’s sister - whom he ran away from - and Danny (Gianpaolo Venuta), Sally’s now ex-fiancé.
With a series of beautiful introductory tracking shots, the initial tone of the premiere is perfectly set by the accompanied voice-over and supplemental visuals of Aidan and Josh attempting to survive the hardest moments of their paranormally inflicted lives. In this case, turning into a werewolf (Josh) and drinking an unsuspecting victim’s blood (Aidan).
Unfortunately, as the series jarringly transitions past its wonderfully elegant opening, viewers may find themselves initially put off with the intentional direction with the core series. Instead of the familiar single-camera look that many television series have, SyFy’s Being Human consciously decided to set itself apart by using handheld cameras for its visual stylings.
To its credit, the handheld camerawork does succeed in providing a richer, more intimate depiction of Being Human’s colorful characters. Although, considering the original British series also makes use of handheld cameras, this could become a point of contention for those already weary of this American re-imagining simply replicating the source material.
Fortunately, this perfectly cast series instantly proves to supersede any inclinations that Syfy’s re-imagining may simply be another poor British adaptation. The combination of Witwer, Huntington and Louder – who in their own right, are all able to portray exceptionally personable depictions of ambit characters - allows Being Human to consistently deliver deep emotional storylines, no matter how fantastical the subject matter.
Aside from Being Human’s pilot serving as an introduction to the series main and recurring characters, much of the episode is centered around Aidan and the repercussions that result from unintentionally murdering his fellow co-worker. With film and television already filled with numerous depictions of vampires and like-kind, it’s refreshing to see that Being Human is attempting to distant itself from Hollywood’s typical sensationalistic portrayals of these other-worldly creatures. Instead, Being Human focuses on using vampires, werewolves and ghosts as integral elements for providing rich character progression.
In the age of worldwide televisual availability, comparisons between Syfy’s version of Being Human and its original BBC counterpart are inevitable. Despite being completely unwarranted and categorically incorrect, there will be some who wrongfully choose to relegate this series down to simply being an uninspired copy. For those that are willing to put aside all natural Anglophilian instincts and arrogance, a truly wonderful television experience awaits you.
While American remakes of popular British series are typically a poor re-imagining of the series' core elements, Syfy’s Being Human has proven itself to most certainly be the exception to that rule. With terrific casting, fully realized characters and an emotional depth not typically seen in a series with such fantastical surroundings, Being Human has become the benchmark that all future British adaptations should strive to meet.
Being Human airs Monday @9pm, on SyFy