Being Human. Imagine “Underworld” meets “Real World.” This show (now available on Netflix streaming) focuses on three roommates, who just happen to be a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost. You’d think that this show would naturally become something of a sitcom, gravitating towards comedy. However, within a few episodes, it is clear that this show is going to get darker and more intense than I anticipated.
There are three seasons available on Netflix and it’s still up in the air about the show coming back for a fourth season in the UK. The first and third seasons are the best, with the second season being a little hard to follow and a little more unengaging. The show is only about 22 episodes total though (season one is only 6 episodes, seasons 2/3 are only 8). You could get through the entire series pretty quickly.
So what’s good? The show manages to include a lot of humor (mostly from the witty werewolf George) but it also gets really intense, ramping up to much bigger issues than what happens in their house. It echoed a lot of Underworld themes, such as the hidden hierarchy of the ancient vampires and how they control all facets of the government. The effects are also pretty superb. Each time George transforms into a werewolf, it is new footage that is absolutely terrifying (as in, how real it looks).
The acting is incredible by our three leads. Our werewolf George is the most emotional piece of the puzzle, as he struggles to remain human even with this new curse he must live with. We get to watch him fall in and out of love and it’s breathtaking to be a part of. Our vampire Mitchell is a little less emotional but he drives the story forward. He pulls off the part and becomes especially important in season 3, as all of his past crimes begin to wear away at the human facade that he’s created. And our ghost, Annie, begins as a spectator to all this, but we get the pleasure of watching her try to stay human without being able to see or touch anyone else (besides her fellow supernaturals). As the show progresses, she becomes more and more distant and it’s truly heartbreaking to watch her connections with the real world fade away.
One thing that I appreciated about this show is that everything happens fast. They don’t waste time by creating filler episodes. With a 6 or 8 episode season, they can’t afford filler. Things happen quickly and it leaves you on the edge of your seat. This show also doesn’t pull any blows. No one is safe. Nothing is to be assumed.
The ideas of ‘being human’ played with are really unique in this show. All three characters struggle with ‘humanity’ and how to live a normal life. Our vampire must learn to give up hundreds of years of traditions and habits. Our werewolf must maintain his humanity even though there is a monster trapped inside him, trying to metaphorically claw its way out. And then our ghost is trying to stay human but is literally cut off from everything/everyone she knows. It’s interesting to watch how morality comes into play with three self-proclaimed monsters.
What doesn’t work? Season two (even though it’s still only 8 episodes) manages to kind of drag on. I stopped watching and had to force myself to finish the season. The conflicts seemed much more cliche to me (reminding me of some rehashed storylines of Buffy and Angel). After season three begins, it picks back up however.
Having just finished the show, I can’t really think of much else as a criticism. Having a whole 1/3 of your series be a little disengaging is a major fault though.
So, should you watch this? This show is unique, even in a time when every other TV show and movie is about vampires, werewolves, or ghosts. This is a fresh and frighteningly realistic spin on the tale. If you enjoy stories of the supernatural creatures but would be intrigued by how they manage to maintain/regain/become human, this is the show for you.