Something is different about season two of SyFy’s Being Human. Maybe it’s finally cast off the burden of living up to its BBC predecessor, but it feels like there’s something more to it. With the first season, the cast has enough charm and charisma to make some of the obviously recycled storylines bearable, but it never felt like the show struck out on its own. Season two of Being Human a different beast entirely. True, there are trace elements of the BBC original (fans of the BBC who have watched up until season three will recognize one shot in particular), but they don’t borrow as much as they did their first season. One of the struggles faced by the vampire (Mitchell in the BBC, Aidan in the American) presents the same issue, but handles it entirely differently.
That might be what has changed in this second season. The first tried so desperately to stay loyal, without establishing itself until later episodes. Season two does not face the same struggle. Showrunners Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke have finally let the show evolve into its own entity. Even when the characters are faced with similar struggles, such as Aidan and the issue of the “bastard” vampires, he handles it entirely differently than we see in the BBC. However, to spend the entire review comparing the two discredits the American re-imagining. SyFy’s series has charms entirely its own.
One of the most endearing qualities of the American version is its main cast. So much of the show hinges on the cast’s chemistry and it is there in spades with Being Human. Sam Huntington has always been the kind of goofy, affable sort that he’s frequently the best part of… well, even bad things like Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, so it’s nice to see a solid actor finally get some solid material. The friendship between him and Sam Witwer’s Aidan, particularly season two, illustrates the complexities and indestructibility of their friendship; a core element of the series. However, Sally, played by Meaghan Rath, has done the most growing over the course of the season. Playing the part of the ghost rendered her a sideline character for so much of the first season, but in season two, we see her interact and embrace the role in previously unimaginable roles.
While the three play off of one another brilliantly, Being Human doesn’t totally rely on their chemistry with one another. A drastic improvement in the second season is that each of the characters have their own lives; arcs of their own that occasionally collide with their roommates, but remain uniquely their own. For Josh, trouble comes with a pair of mysterious twins that complicate things for him and Nora. With Aidan, his duties in the vampire hierarchy are complicated by a host of characters from his past, including Suren (Dichen Lachman) a complicated woman from his past. Sally’s storylines are perhaps the most pronounced as she attempts to find a balance between her place in the afterlife among the world of the living. Each of these individual plots blossom in ways that are both unexpected and emotional.
Then again, a large debt is owed to the supporting characters of Being Human’s season two. While the names are too numerous to mention, it is a significant difference between the two seasons. I’m not sure if the first season didn’t have as many supporting characters or it simply didn’t know how to use them, but some of the most compelling characters in season two are some of the new additions that rounded out the guest stars. While the main cast of Being Human are all incredibly talented, their interaction with the world outside of themselves makes for some of the best storylines of the series, thanks to some incredible guest stars.
It’s difficult to talk about how incredible Being Human has become in its second season without acknowledging where it has come from. The BBC series is great in its own right, but Being Human has finally gained the confidence and conviction to do its own thing with powerful results. The new direction the show has taken is only made greater by its amazing cast of characters, both main and supporting. All of these elements combined make up a fantastic season for SyFy’s Being Human with promises of more greatness to come in season three.