Posted: 01/22/2012


Being Human: Season 2, Eps. 1&2

by Calhoun Kersten

On Syfy, Mondays at 9/8c

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SyFy’s Being Human is certainly a show with something to prove, something it freely acknowledges with its first two episodes of its sophomore season. Besides living up to the reputation of its BBC predecessor, the scripted series is finally beginning to understand its own potential. While the first season was, more or less, a carbon copy of the UK Being Human, minus the charming accents, as the series progressed, it gained the confidence to strike out on its own. It hasn’t completely divorced itself from the source material, with similar narrative elements in both series, but season two presents some of the similar conflicts with a new sensibility.

One of the most charming aspects of the US re-imagining is its sense of comedic timing. Sam Huntington, who plays werewolf Josh, has the sort of bumbling, boy-next-door quality that makes him so engaging and simultaneously relatable. While Huntington is certainly given the most humor to deal with, Being Human allows its two other protagonists to share in some of the laughs. The specter Sally, portrayed by Meaghan Rath, shines in the first episode when she finds herself at her high school reunion. Even Aidan, played by Sam Witwer, who is typically handed the heaviest of plotlines is given the opportunity to garner a few laughs.

But to characterize Being Human as a comedy would be a grievous mistake. The show’s tenuous dance between the dramatic and the comedic is all part of its charm. After last season’s finale, it seems difficult to imagine anything funny about the situations that these three unlikely roommates find themselves in, but Being Human knows how to give viewers the best of both worlds. While the humor is charmingly disarming, the drama is equally compelling. While many shows place their characters in compromising positions in the season finale, only to hurriedly bail their protagonists out in the season premiere, so much of the new season is a continuation of the first. The show seems to relish in the turmoil of Sam, Aidan, and Sally. Even as an audience member, it’s hard not to do the same.

However, the most compelling element of season of Being Human is its continual exploration of the duality of its characters. The question of the three “monsters” and their desperate attempts to cling to their humanity is nothing new to the series, but it is just as important as ever. Even when Being Human is at its most fantastical, it never loses its human interest. It’s that one kernel of truth, even when dealing with supernatural beings such as vampires and the like, that keeps Being Human so well-grounded.

In the end, the beginning of Being Human season two shows a great deal of promise. The show has finally decided to stop living in the shadow of its source material and strike out on its own. Its casual flirtation with the humor and horror of life after life makes for, at the very least, entertaining television.

Calhoun Kersten was born and raised in Cincinnati. He has lived in Chicago for most of his adult life where he continues to be over-educated and unemployable. He is finishing his masters at DePaul in media and cinema studies with a thesis on the narrative elements of horror franchises.

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