Paul’s BBC America Obsession, Day One: Being Human

Being Human, currently airing on BBC America

Every once in a while, I get obsessed with watching BBC America, the cable channel owned by the BBC (duh) that broadcasts all kinds of TV shows from British televsion for American audiences.  The BBC is how I discovered Gordon Ramsay (Hell’s Kitchen), Hex (with Christina Cole and Michael Fassbender), and Spaced (by Shaun of the Dead guys Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost).

I think what I like most about the BBC is their committance to genre television.  Whether it be the aforementioned Hex, the long-running Doctor Who, or any of the newer shows, they never shy away from quality genre programming that is typically edgy, well written, and well acted.  When Spaced was airing on the BBC, I pretty much didn’t watch any other television other than BBC America.  Now that they have a couple of new shows running, I’m starting get obsessed again…and you might too.  Chicks with cool British accents, well written sci-fi and horror, and more explicit sex than you can get on American TV?  Sign me up!

I’m going to start out my BBC Obsession week with Being Human, which just aired its first episode last Saturday, July 25th (and which will show multiple times before the second episode premieres this Saturday night).  Check out my thoughts after the jump!

So, a werewolf, vampire, and a ghost get an apartment together…

Sounds like the great beginning to a bad joke, right?  Well, in actuality, it’s the premise of this excellent new TV series starring Aidan Turner (John the Vampire), Russell Tovey (George the Werewolf), and Lenora Crichlow (Annie the Ghost).  Set in Bristol, John and George meet each other while John is working hard at trying to “be more human.”  He was bitten during the first World War, and agreed to become a vampire in exchange for the lives of the rest of his men.  George is a werewolf, and a very nervous one at that.  Twitchy and neurotic, George has the satisfaction of only dealing with his “curse” on one night of the month, whereas his flatmates have to deal with being monsters all the time.  When John and George get an apartment together, they find that it’s haunted by Annie, and insecure ghost unwilling to leave the flat that her and her fiance shared while she was alive.

George in his wolf form (no CGI here!)

As these characters try to live together and understand each other, they also try to help each other in “being human.”  John helps lock George up once a month so that he doesn’t hurt anybody as a werewolf.  They both keep Annie company in the apartment she can never leave.  John, as of the first episode, is having the hardest time.  He’s turned a girl into a vampire and she, unlike him, doesn’t mind hurting people and sucking blood.  In act, she enjoys the killing.  And when someone dies that’s close to both him and George, what begins as a very humorous episode turns darkly serious.

Though not entirely horror, fantasy, or sci-fi, the show really is more of a human drama that happens to involve these characters who are “monsters.”  Still, there’s plenty of blood sucking, and some cool werewolf effects, that fans of genre television will find a lot to like in this show.  I’ve only seen the first episode, but in it’s native country, each episode garnered higher and higher ratings, and a second season has been ordered.  Season 1 only has 6 episodes, so it’s not like you have to worry about catching up on a ton of television and, perhaps my favorite aspect, BBC America airs a little “making of” program weekly alongside the program (they do the same with Torchwood and Doctor Who, I think).

So if you’re jonesing for some GOOD genre TV, flip the dial (ha, like anyone has a dial anymore) to BBC America this Saturday night to watch Being Human!

Next up, Primeval!

The cast of Primeval, series three!

5 comments on “Paul’s BBC America Obsession, Day One: Being HumanAdd yours →

  1. Paul,

    The vamp’s name is Mitchell.

    And if you want to get into Doctor who just start watching it. The classic series actually started in 1963 i think, so there’s alot of catching up for you.

    If you can, get hold of the relaunched DW which started in 2005 that’s only 4 series and just 13 episodes in each.

    But just remember, that even though we grown ups love the Doctor, it’s really supposed to be ‘family viewing’, so some may find it hard to get into especially if they’ve started with Torchwood first.

  2. Hi DMH and welcome to the site!

    I have to admit, the one thing I’m not obsessed about is the good Doctor, but I am deadly curious! But after 11 seasons and multiple TV movies, I’m just intimidated on catching up! Is there a good place to start, or should I just go from the beginning? Any suggestions?


  3. I have to say that I am thoroughly obsessed with british scifi, so i can relate to your obsession! I am very worried about whether or not i will be able to deal with yet another new doctor (although I always like the new one more than the old one)! I came across your site searching BBC stuff, good job!


  4. Being Human is great! I like Primeval, but some of the “science” is a bit off and they don’t carry big enough weapons for the scariness they deal with!
    I’m in the process of watching the entire series of Coupling again. So awesome. So funny

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