Monday, January 17, 2011

"Being Human" in the USA

From the moment I heard the news about a US version of the UK BBC series "Being Human" I had doubts that it would work.  I'll admit to a certain bias since I'm a fan of the UK series I'm lucky to be able to watch on BBC America. What makes this drama/comedy/horror series so compelling and wonderful to follow is the charm and skill of the three lead actors. The charm makes it possible for the audience to fall in love with George (the werewolf), Mitchell (the vampire) and Annie (the ghost). Because we like them so, we forgive the horror that we sometimes witness when one of our supernatural friends falls off the "being human" wagon. We always have hope they'll continue their quest to be good citizens again.

Unfortunately none of what I've just said above applies to the new US version. I've just finished viewing Episode 1  of the new Being Human US on the SyFy channel and really don't know where to being on all that is wrong with this series in comparison with the original.  I hope for the actors sake and the investment that has been made by all concerned that future episodes will be better, but I don't plan to watch the series after tonight.

So forgive me if my review is just a list in no particular order of what is wrong with the US Being Human in comparison with the UK series. I know if you haven't seen the British version my list may not make much sense, but I hope it will encourage all to watch the BBC series instead of this sad new version:

1.  No Russell Tovey! This wonderful actor plays werewolf George in the UK series and he is the anchor of the series.  Our werewolf, Josh, is a scary mess, but the actor lacks the considerable comedic and dramatic talents of his UK counterpart. Even so, he's the best actor of the three!!!!!!
2.  There's absolutely no chemistry between the two guys! Another thing that makes the UK series work is the wonderful chemistry between the two misfits: vampire and werewolf. Without the audience believing the deep friendship between these two, the bromance if you will, there is no series.
3. Both US guys look too much alike. There were times when they were together I couldn't tell them apart.
4. The actor who plays our neighborhood  sexy US vampire looks like a thug from the Sopranos cast.
5.  Naming the vampire character Aidan, is not going to help at all, since the actor who plays the US vampire is no Aidan Turner (Mitchell). He lacks the charm, sweetness and vulnerability of Mr. Turner, and without that  it will be difficult for the audience to find any forgiveness for the evil things his character will do when falling "off the (blood drinking) wagon".
6.  US vampire Aidan is not nearly as good looking as UK vampire Mitchell (Aidan Turner). Lacks that Turner smile!
7.  The young woman who plays the US ghost, Sally, needs immediate remedial acting lessons. Looking good and no acting talent may be enough for a commercial, but it's not enough to make this ghost come alive.
8. Though this may not be entirely her fault since they've given her the most annoying dialog of the three roles. Instead of  warm and loving UK ghost Annie (Lenora Crichlow), we get annoying, selfish, teenage girl-ghost Sally.
 9. Bishop is  the US version of Vampire leader Herrick. Instead of being scary, dangerous,manipulative, and unpredictable, which makes the UK character ( actor Jason Watkins) so much fun to hate, we get a character that feels like an over-the-hill rock star that just happens to drop in on the set.
10. Bishop gives off no menacing vibes at all and Marcus, his second in command, barely registers.
11. There seems to be  a great deal of emphasis on  the fact the US werewolf, Josh, is Jewish. Maybe because the writers felt a US show needed some religious reference for the audience?  I’m not sure why.
12.  There's a great deal of  dark humor in the UK series from the fact that vampire and werewolf work as orderlies in a hospital.  At least in this first episode the US series seems to miss the dark humor element entirely.

I'm sure the young American actors are trying their best to make this copy of a great UK series work. Maybe in other roles, in another series, they would be fine and I would enjoy their performances. Not so in this American "Being Human".  Not for me at least.

For more about the UK Being Human click HERE.

UPDATE 2/9/11: Season 3 of  the original UK Being Human will begin airing on BBCAmerica February 19 for eight weeks.  For more information on the series, air dates, etc. click HERE.

Good to know someone agrees with me:

In the US, watch the new season of Being Human on BBCAmerica starting February 19.

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