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Being Human: The Complete First Season(TV) (2011)
Three twenty-somethings share a house and try to live a normal life despite being a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire.
For more about Being Human: The Complete First Season and the Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray release, see Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on November 13, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington, Meaghan Rath, Mark Pellegrino, Bobby Campo, Kristen Hager
» See full cast & crew
Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review
The Odd Triple.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, November 13, 2011
It's so hard to find decent housemates, isn't it? Many of us in our teens and twenties (and, yes, even thirties) who hadn't yet gotten married or "settled down" shared houses or apartments with others, either with longtime friends or those who were recruited via ads (in the pre-Craigslist days) or, subsequently, the internet. But it's a crap shoot at best. Even a longtime buddy can turn out to be a nightmare as a cohabiter of a shared space. And the chances of finding someone really compatible through an ad are infinitesimal. So how much harder must it be for vampires, werewolves and ghosts? Thankfully Being Human skirts that very pressing issue by having the vampire and werewolf of the series already well established in a friendship, and then having the ghost simply be an unexpected side benefit of the Boston house the first two end up renting in the series' premiere episode. Considering the death and destruction that follows in the wake of vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer) and werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington), some more cynical viewers might be asking, "With Friends like these, who needs enemies?", but Being Human manages to have at least a fitful sense of humor about itself, which helps to ameliorate the kind of smarmy subtext of many episodes, where guest victims become, a la the old Star Trek series, literal "red shirts," blood soaked deceased who either really do shuffle off this mortal coil or who themselves transform into the "monsters" that Aidan and Josh are so desperate to avoid being branded as. The kind of odd third wheel in this housemate from heck scenario is Sally (Meaghan Rath), a young woman who perished in the house Aidan and Josh rent and who, at least in the series' opening several episodes, is under the impression she can't actually get out of her place of expiration.
There are three main plot arcs which follow each of the three main characters throughout the first season of Being Human. These are separate and apart, if obviously still linked, from the main theme of these three "monsters" coming to terms with what they are and attempting to cope with their "issues" and normal humans. Aidan is haunted by two relationships, one with Bishop (Mark Pellegrino, Jacob from Lost among many other roles), the vampire who "turned" him back during the American Revolutionary War and who is still linked to Aidan seemingly indefinitely, spending this "lifetime" masquerading as a Boston policeman. Josh on the other hand is trying to figure out if he can simply lock himself away on the one night of the full moon and therefore keep his lycanthropy in check, as it were. Things get complicated when he runs into his estranged sister, whom he hasn't seen in years, when she comes to the hospital where he and Aidan work to take care of her girlfriend. Sally in the meanwhile is trying to figure out the literal ins and outs of being a ghost, as she attempts to make contact with her fiancé, Danny, the guy who has actually rented the house to Aidan and Josh. Anyone who doesn't predict one of this season's putative "twists" with regard to Sally and Danny is charmingly naïve, evidently unfettered by years of clichéd television writing, and someone I would very much like to interest in a large bridge in Brooklyn I have for sale.
Part of the issue with Being Human, at least for anyone who isn't a self-absorbed, whiny twenty- something, is that the three main characters take being self-absorbed, whiny twenty-somethings to really unbelievable new heights (or depths, depending on your point of view). Since each of the three main characters is hobbled by some horrible predicament, that only ups their self- absorption to beyond mere narcissism, reaching levels that some may find intolerable after awhile. When Aidan's penchant for feasting on pretty young things is added into the mix, Josh stutters and stumbles through episode after episode of not being to just come out and tell his sister what's going on, and Sally seems positively dunderheaded when it comes to ex-fiancé Danny and what's really going on with him, things can get awfully turgid at times.
What ultimately saves Being Human, albeit by the hair of its chinny-chin-chin some of the time, is its very winning and quite odd sense of humor. This is a series that can catapult from a really gruesome, bloody death scene to just off the wall semi- hilarity, and that helps to engage the viewer when all of the complaining and whining about lots in life has gotten to be a bit too much for any actual human to take. The cast is quite game in this regard, especially the two Sams, who actually do better with the dry humor than they do with the more ostensibly serious aspects of the show.
Being Human feels a little too melodramatic quite a bit of the time, especially when some added subplots start making the housemates' lives (deaths?) even more complicated. Aidan gets recognized by a cop who is certain Aidan killed his father years before, and, later, has a series of misadventures with a woman he turns in the first episode, supposedly "mistakenly" (we all have our weak moments, even vampires). In the even more silly department, Josh overcomes his natural reticence and actually gets involved with a woman at the hospital, leading to a whole new series of soap operatic moments. Only Sally is left somewhat out in the cold (which may in fact be a good thing) after her arc with Danny is more or less resolved.
Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Being Human is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Entertainment One with an AVC encoded 1080p in 1.78:1. The series looks rather nicely sharp and well detailed almost all of the time, though the color palette is oddly pallid, especially with regard to fleshtones, something a bit unusual considering all that blood that should be coursing through at least Aidan's stream. The series features some occasional CGI elements, especially with regard to Josh's transformations, that look very good and help to set a spooky ambience for the series (another great effect are the little wisps of spectral matter that occasionally emanate from Sally). Fine detail is exceptional in close-ups and while contrast is occasionally intentionally pushed, overall the series exhibits excellent differentiation between lights and darks.
Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Being Human's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix sounds great, though immersion tends to be most noticeable during some of the grittier scenes with either Aidan or Josh, when figures tend to zing through the frame quickly and are accompanied by appropriately panning whooshes of sound. Some of Josh's transformations also offer some nice use of discrete channelization, with some excellent low end. A lot of the series, though, is simple dialogue scenes and those are almost uniformly anchored in the front channels, with occasional ambient environmental sounds dotting the surrounds. Fidelity is very strong throughout the first season, with some really excellent dynamic range. The series also uses a variety of source cues in virtually every episode, and those spill into the surrounds and help to up the sonic activity in a typical alt- rock fashion.
Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
At times as I watched the first season of Being Human I couldn't help but wish that the series had been played entirely as a flat out comedy, as the humorous writing for this show is very sharp and well defined. The dramatic aspects, while probably necessary to sustain a one hour weekly series premise, just seemed lethargic and overly soap operatic a lot of the time, specifically with regard to Josh, whose stuttering inability to simply say "Hey, I'm a werewolf!" grated on my nerves more than Aidan's conflicts with Bishop or Sally's haunting of Danny. The humor is the biggest saving grace of this series and the writers would do well to up that aspect in the series' second season, as it is really what gives the show its most distinctive edge. This is a great looking and sounding release with some decent (if kind of slim) supplements, so for fans of the series, this release is Recommended.
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Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Being Human: The Complete First Season Blu-ray - August 11, 2011
This November, the Syfy cable network's Being Human: The Complete First Season will arrive on Blu-ray. A re-vamp of the BBC series, Being Human details the relationship that forms between a ghost (Meaghan Rath, Lost and Delirious), a vampire (Sam Witwer, The Mist), ...
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