BEING HUMAN (Syfy) “There Goes the Neighborhood (Part One)” Advance Review

Being Human Syfy "There Goes the Neighborhood (Part One)"

Being Human “There Goes the Neighborhood (Part One)” Episode 1 (Series Premiere) – Another week, another remake of a popular British show, an idea that doesn’t bother me as much as it once did. This time it’s Syfy taking on the paranormal dramedy BEING HUMAN, and while the Canadian-American version isn’t as great as the original, it’s surprisingly good with the potential to get much better. The premiere’s plot does closely track the British version, but character names are changed and there are a couple of other key differences fans will notice.

For those unfamiliar with the show’s premise, a vampire and a werewolf move into a rental house inhabited by a ghost and the three try to carve out quasi-normal lives as twenty-somethings in Boston despite their supernatural natures.

Aidan (Sam Witwer) is the 200+ year old vampire, a nurse trying to kick the habit of drinking the blood of the living. He’s stalked by Bishop (Mark Pellegrino), a police lieutenant and vampire boss who desperately wants Aidan to embrace his monstrous nature and rejoin the fold and who is more than willing to take advantage of any Aidan relapse to attain his goal.

Josh (Sam Huntington), an orderly who works with Aidan, is the endearingly geeky werewolf so horrified by his condition that he cut himself off from his family. Josh is a surprisingly complex character: self deprecating and witty with an underlying streak of rage and an iffy grip on his emotions.

Sally (Meaghan Rath) is the tragic but bubbly ghost who died in the home she had just moved into with her fiance. Trapped in the house and starved for human (or other) contact, she is thrilled to have Aidan and Josh to talk to. Sally is the saddest of the three roommates and her wistfulness when her fiance comes by is heart-wrenching.

The cast is excellent. Witwer can’t quite–yet, at least–match the remarkable performance of the original’s Aidan Turner, but he is charismatic and brooding as the resident vampire while giving him some emotional heft. Huntington is terrific as Josh, both providing comic relief and showing the weight of his burden, while Rath beautifully captures both Sally’s effervescence and her aching loneliness. Mark Pellegrino plays grey characters as well as anyone out there, so he is the perfect choice for Bishop who has sad eyes but oozes ruthless determination.

Being Human‘s writing is fairly sharp and I like that the mostly serious tone is emotionally charged and punctuated by humor. Montreal stands in for Boston with mixed results, but I give huge kudos that there are no overdone accents. While the show has better effects than the original, there is occasionally too green a tinge to the background and I wish they had fewer super-tight shots.

I admit I had to concentrate more than once on not seeing (a slightly lesser version of) the original Being Human. I hope that as the series goes on it veers farther and farther away from its source material (it’s off to a good start with the addition of new character Emily) because there is so much potential for it to be a powerful show in its own right.

At its core, Being Human is about wanting to fit in with the rest of the world even when you know no one can possibly understand you or what you’re going through, and that is about as relatable a theme as you can get. Aidan is an addict, Josh is the shy geek, and Sally is the lonely outcast. Together they have a shot at finding a place in this human world and I’m looking forward to seeing where Syfy takes these characters.

After you’ve watched the premiere of Being Human on Syfy tonight at 9pm eastern/8pm central, I hope you’ll come back and tell me what you thought. Is it too close to the original or does it change too much? What do you think of the cast?

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