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.
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!