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Being Human: Season Four(TV) (2012)
A vampire, a werewolf and a ghost try their best to lead normal lives.
For more about Being Human: Season Four and the Being Human: Season Four Blu-ray release, see Being Human: Season Four Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on January 17, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, Aidan Turner, Jason Watkins, Dylan Brown, Sinead Keenan
Director: Toby Whithouse
» See full cast & crew
Being Human: Season Four Blu-ray Review
"It's not dissatisfaction. It's a feeling more akin to having been born in captivity..."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, January 17, 2013
BBC original programming has reinvented itself and risen from the ashes, breathing fresh life into a once-stodgy broadcaster that's quickly becoming a bastion for an enviably young demographic, a hotspot for viewers on this side of the pond and the other, and one of the fastest growing capital cities of geekdom. Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Robin Hood, The IT Crowd, Misfits, Merlin, Being Human... Comic-Con candy and fanboy favorites. Against all odds, the supernatural forces of the BBC have successfully resurrected dormant series and, more importantly, developed smart and exciting new properties, much to the delight of Brits and Yanks, male and female alike.
Unfortunately, things don't always go according to plan. Fan-favorite series Being Human has traveled a rocky road for five years now, but the production of its fourth season was rockier than most. Scrambling to keep the show alive with major players departing at every turn, creator Toby Whithouse and producer Philip Trethowan were left with the difficult, perhaps impossible task of applying pressure to the wounds of a hemorrhaging series. Their efforts weren't in vain -- Being Human returns in 2013 with another six episodes -- but their emergency triage only put off death. The series is still in ICU, and will remain until Whithouse and company are able to fix what might just be unfixable. Season Four shows potential, though, and the new cast members are nothing but an asset. Here's hoping for a miraculous recovery.
Ladies and gentlemen of the resistance, good evening. Oh, you'd have been so proud of your comrades. They put up quite a fight. But we slit their throats and stamped on their bones all the same. New York has fallen. The resistance have been crushed. The earth belongs to the vampires!
Eve of the War: The Old Ones, powerful older vampires, are on their way and it's up to our heroes to fight for the right to live in peace. Not only are there vampires to seek revenge on, there's also a malevolent ghost on the loose and someone's trying to expose the existence of werewolves... not to mention all the diapers that need changing. My take: Dead and... not so lovin' it. Swapping out series leads isn't just tricky, it's a challenge very few shows have had to contend with. An actor here, an actor there, sure. But a complete changing of the guard? Being Human handles it in stride, even if the first episode is far more transitional than sensational. There's promise here, and seeds are sown, but there are as many misses as hits, and as many worrisome decisions and performances as tantalizing new characters and directions. My score: 3/5
Being Human 1955: Hal (Damien Molony), Leo (Louis Mahoney), and Pearl (Tamla Kari) – another werewolf, vampire, and ghost – turn up at the house. Leo is dying and this supernatural triumvirate believe that the secret to saving the old werewolf's life resides in Honolulu Heights. Annie (Lenora Crichlow) is confident she can channel the power to help him, but Tom (Michael Socha) isn't pleased to have disdainful and arrogant vampire Hal in his home. Nevertheless, the two are forced out on a mission together to fulfill Leo's dying wish. My take: Things look up, although not enough to hand myself willingly to new vamp Hal or werewolf Tom, whose sleepy Jake Gyllenhaal smolder can't possibly continue working under those bushy brows for six more episodes. Can it? Better than "Eve of the War," "1955" has moxie, and all at once lends the series' new direction some much-needed oomph. Not perfect, but I'll bite. My score: 3.5/5
The Graveyard Shift: Hal is unaccustomed to modern life, having kept himself sheltered from society to avoid the risk of killing. So when Annie and Tom tell him he needs to get a job, he's filled with dread. While faced with the horror of working in the cafe with Tom, Hal is tempted by vampire Fergus (Anthony Flanagan) to come back to the vampire fold as their new leader. Meanwhile, Annie is convinced by Regus (Mark Williams) that the baby should be taken away to safety or the vampires will surely kill their "destroyer." My take: One step forward, two steps back. I know some Being Human fans dig the humor of supernatural creatures living a normal life, but I'm a mythos guy. The bigger and grander in scope, the better. "Graveyard Shift" is the kind of entertaining fluff that would be appreciated in a twenty-episode season, but with just eight episodes on tap and the end of mankind at stake, Being Human can't afford even a one-off lull. My score: 2.5/5
A Spectre Calls: Annie, Hal, and Tom are like a ring of steel protecting baby Eve, so when Kirby (James Lance), a ghost from the 1970s calls at the house, they're immediately suspicious. Kirby wins them over with his feckless personality and proof that he's been sent by Nina to help look after the baby. Annie soon falls for the handsome, charismatic ghost. Tom is utterly charmed by him, too, pleased to have an alpha male about the house to teach him the way of the world. Hal has his doubts. My take: I'm losing faith fast, wondering if Being Human is coming to an end, if not literally then spiritually. "A Spectre Calls" is sloppy, schlocky junk, and not of the fun variety. Predictable and entirely uninvolving, just about everything falls flat, series regulars and guest stars alike. Of course, a stronger script would have certainly helped. My score: 1.5/5
Hold the Front Page: Teenage vampire Adam (Craig Roberts) is madly in love with no-nonsense head teacher Yvonne (Selina Griffiths), much to the dismay of our heroes. The couple is on the run from the press, who see the relationship as a scandal. Since vampires can't be pictured on camera, the housemates are concerned about Adam getting photographed. They force him to confess his – and their – true nature to Yvonne. It's a lot to take in, but there are bigger surprises in store when Yvonne discovers the reason that she's able to see Annie, as well as what it means for her love affair with Adam. My take: Leveling out, which isn't a good thing considering how quickly and distressingly "Being Human 1955" led to "A Spectre Calls." "Hold the Front Page" isn't much better, despite Roberts holding his own, and the twist at the heart of Yvonne is neither a surprise nor an exciting development. The performances are right where they should be. The stories, though, are seriously lagging behind. My score: 2/5
Puppy Love: Romance is in the air for Tom when Allison (Ellie Kendrick), a geeky teen werewolf, turns up looking for help. Somebody seems intent on revealing werewolves to the world and she wants to get to the bottom of the matter. In a bid to impress Allison, Tom leads her to the computer-savvy vampire, Cutler (Andrew Gower). Tom also cajoles Hal into a double date with himself, Allison, and attractive cafe patron Alex (Kate Bracken). Hal insists that he's stayed away from women for the past fifty years for a reason. Meanwhile, Annie feels responsible for grouchy neighbor Emrys' (Anthony O'Donnell) death and it's up to her to complete his ghost's unfinished business on earth. My take: Three cheers for Kendrick. She doesn't single-handedly reignite the series -- credit is due all around, especially where Gower is concerned -- but she leaves a lasting impression the showrunners would be wise to take advantage of in future episodes and seasons. (Upgrade to series regular? I vote yes.) Exhilarating, intriguing and funny, "Puppy Love" is a sweet, breezy respite from the episodes that come before it. My score: 3.5/5
Making History: Tensions run high when Cutler takes Tom firmly under his wing. He's got big plans for Tom – together they're going to make history. Hal's wicked past catches up to him and he finds himself led down a path of temptation. Having succumbed to drinking blood, Hal's second date with Alex doesn't exactly go to plan. Meanwhile, Annie is called to Purgatory by the mysterious woman from the future. My take: Hal's motives and characters called into question, the future hurtling toward a dark fate, everything and everyone in danger of a sinister force, a flashback as classy as it is effective... "Making History" should deliver. And yet it doesn't. Like "Eve of the War" was more transitional than anything else, the fourth season's penultimate episode is all setup and no punchline. Not that I was looking for a good joke. I'd settle for a terrifying apocalypse or a climactic near-miss, neither of which comes to pass. My score: 3/5
The War Child: The Old Ones have arrived and are intent on taking over the world by force. Cutler has other plans, but when they go awry, he begins to plot his revenge on his own kind. Tom and Hal have their own plan to destroy the vampires, but when Mr. Snow (Mark Gatiss), the vampire leader, visits Hal, he demonstrates the power he holds over our hero. Annie is conflicted and upset as she comes to terms with the fact that, in order to save the world, she's been tasked with the most difficult decision of her afterlife. My take: With "War Child," it's official. The fourth season was merely a needlessly meandering prelude to a fifth, taking eight episodes to establish characters and plotlines the showrunners plan on doing something of merit with in the future. Don't get me wrong, the finale isn't bad. Far from it. But it also isn't as mind-blowing or revolutionary (or even evolutionary) as it assures us it will be in Season Five. Time will tell, I suppose. Season Four, though, simply falls short. My score: 3/5
Being Human: Season Four Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sharp and slick (too slick some will argue), Being Human's 1080i/AVC-encoded video presentation is comparable to the series' previous Blu-ray outings, which will delight true bloods and leave newcomers shrugging. Colors are satisfying and decently saturated (when darkness isn't descending and shadows aren't hung like a shroud), skintones are chilly but natural, and black levels, though a bit inconsistent, lend atmosphere and depth to a digital video image that lacks both. Detail is quite exceptional, thanks to clean edges, crisp fine textures and exacting closeups. Some softness and noise creeps in at times, particularly when night falls, but it isn't a serious distraction, and won't fill anyone familiar with a BBC BD presentation with dread. Macroblocking, banding and aliasing are kept to a bare minimum too, and crush is the only issue that lingers from episode to episode. All that being said, I should point out that I'm generally more impressed by BBC Video's high definition releases than other reviewers -- each one tends to look exactly as it should as far as I'm concerned, scars and all -- so my score may be a half-point or so higher than most.
Being Human: Season Four Blu-ray, Audio Quality
No 5.1, no lossless. Being Human: Season Four doesn't improve on the previous season Blu-ray releases that came before it, offering nothing more than an anemic Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. Dialogue is clear and intelligible, even if it gets dragged beneath the soundscape too often, and effects are more than passable. Without LFE support or rear speaker creepings and crawlings, though, the track is all bark and no bite. Series regulars won't mind all that much, but newcomers will be sorely disappointed. If any BBC show could benefit from the upgrade to lossless 5.1 audio, it's Being Human.
Being Human: Season Four Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Being Human: Season Four Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Being Human: Season Four doesn't live up to its potential, it only hints at the possibility of greatness further down the long and winding road. The new cast is certainly up to the challenge, they just need the material to work with. That alone makes it worth sticking around, if only to see if Whithouse and Trethowan can pull off the impossible: a successful mid-series cast trade-out. It doesn't help that BBC's Blu-ray release is just as problematic. Its solid video presentation is marred by a lossy stereo track, and its supplemental package, though quite good, could have used some commentaries or episode-specific documentaries. Even so, Being Human junkies will find enough to make coming back for more a given.
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Being Human: Season Four Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Being Human: Season 4 Blu-ray - December 20, 2012
BBC Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will bring to Blu-ray Being Human: Season 4. Being Human is written by Toby Whithouse and the fourth series is produced by Philip Trethowan. Executive producers are Toby Whithouse, Rob Pursey, Touchpaper Television, ...
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