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Being Human: The Complete Second Season(TV) (2012)
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 Second Season and the Being Human: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray release, see Being Human: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on December 26, 2012 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 Second Season Blu-ray Review
Twilight's second gleaming.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, December 26, 2012
Are we in a new "Golden Age of Monsters", one that even Carl Laemmle, Jr. himself might envy? The public has seemingly always had a weird fascination with things that go bump in the night, and Gothic horror has been a mainstay of several media for untold generations. A cogent case could be made that Universal Studios owes its very existence to a coterie of hideous creatures, including Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man. And a very similar case could be made for Hammer Studios, which in fact recycled some of the iconic Universal offerings for a new Technicolor generation in the fifties and sixties. But even taking a cursory look around the media landscape these days reveals a veritable glut of successful "monster" franchises that seem to point out the fact that public interest in this sort of thing hasn't waned in the slightest through the years, and may in fact be stronger now than it ever has been. While the Twilight franchise is probably the most significant of these entries, at least from a pop culture or even sociological standpoint, all sorts of other goblins and ghoulies have cropped up for years now in a number of other outings, including this Canadian reboot of a well received BBC series that posits a werewolf, vampire and ghost living together as housemates. The premise reeks of exploitation, and this series can never quite overcome its cliché ridden roots, but as with the first season of the series, a sometimes whimsical sense of humor keeps things from totally deflating, at least some of the time.
Without giving away any spoilers about the first season for those who haven't yet sampled the series, the supposedly major revelation that came out about ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath) takes a decided back seat as the second season initially focuses much more on the trials and tribulations of vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer) and werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington). Aidan is reeling from his perhaps impulsive decision that provided one of the climaxes of season one, but which has now left him a totally unprepared putative leader of Boston's vampires (at least for a little while). In the meantime, Josh is struggling to come to terms with his driving quest to live a "normal" life, which now includes his new girlfriend Nora (Kristen Hager). Nora is understandably worried about the scratches she received from Josh during one of his werewolf episodes, wondering if that means she, too, is about to need some serious electrolysis.
At least in the early going of this season, once again Sally kind of gets short shrift, despite occasional little story arcs (in the first episode she returns to her high school reunion where she discovers she can "inhabit" living bodies, something that finally helps her to perform physical actions, which in her ghostly state she's never able to really do very well, to supposed comic effect). Aidan's opening arc is probably the most compelling of this second season, especially when he's called before a nattily dressed vampire council and has to deal with "Mother" (Deena Aziz), the imperious leader of all vampires, who rejects the council's suggestion that Aidan be put in charge of Boston's blood suckers and appoints her daughter Suren (Dichen Lachman) instead. She does offer Aidan a "second in command" position and also promises him that if he helps her daughter succeed, she will grant Aidan his wish of freedom. One look at "Mother" will probably lead many viewers to doubt her ability to keep many promises, however.
A rather convoluted back story is then developed between Aidan and Suren, including several long flashback sequences, which reveal some interesting tidbits about why Boston's vampires are a "hidden" group. This overall story arc is often quite well done, especially when Aidan's attempts to kind of hygienically deal with his "affliction" go seriously awry and he becomes almost like an alcoholic who's fallen off the wagon. There's a certain almost comic dysfunction to the relationship between Aidan and Mother as Aidan's torrid relationship with Suren heats up, leading to one of several cliffhangers as the second season comes to a close.
The Josh and Nora arc also picks up steam, especially after Nora discovers that those little scratches have indeed led to lycanthropy. Josh, sometimes the most annoying of the three major characters in this series, waffles back and forth between trying to "fake" a normal existence as best he can or trying to actually discover a cure for his (and Nora's) "little problem", something that begins to snowball as the season progresses and leads to their particular cliffhanger. (The writers here utilize a little cliché once too often for their own good, namely the fade to black with a gunshot effect happening afterward so that we're all horribly in suspense as to who has shot whom. Suffice it to say my bets aer on the principal cast returning for the third season.)
To give credit where credit is due, Sally's arc actually starts to pick up several episodes into the second season, where her newfound ability to hop in and out of bodies has both its benefits and its perils. In an arc that is strangely reminiscent of one of the major subplots of the second season of the somewhat similar Canadian series Lost Girl, Sally also finds herself "stalked" in a way by a malevolent spirit whose motives don't become clear until late in the season. There's also an interesting analogous "addiction" scenario for Sally that kind of mirrors Aidan's situation with blood supply, as she finds herself almost inexorably drawn into inhabiting one body in particular.
Being Human is often a little too rote to ever really be very surprising, but along the way in this second season there are a number of unexpected developments that give the proceedings a little sizzle. The best thing about this season is that it actually gets considerably better as it goes along, with some compelling situations for all three major characters leading to a number (maybe too large a number) of cliffhangers as the final episode comes to a close. The series continues to exploit a kind of cheeky humor a lot of the time, something that I personally still wish the writers would push even further. Fans of this genre can get their soap operatic fill with outings like the Twilight franchise. Being Human could really carve out a more distinctive niche for itself were it to take itself considerably less seriously.
Being Human: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Being Human: The Complete Second Season is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Entertainment One with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. The one anomaly of Being Human: The Complete First Season was its strangely desaturated quality, and that is nowhere near as problematic in this sophomore outing, leading to a substantially more robust looking image a lot of the time. The series continues to weave in some well done CGI elements, especially with Sally's dalliances with "The Door" and the other side, but also with regard to Josh's transformations. Close-ups reveal abundant fine detail, and the high definition presentation continues a consistently high level of solid contrast and deep, accurate black levels.
Being Human: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Being Human: The Complete Second Season follows largely in the sonic footsteps of the first season of the series, with a well done lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that provides bursts of evocative surround activity but which also tends to anchor the ubiquitous dialogue scenes in the front channels. Fidelity continues to be excellent and there's some appealing dynamic range in this season as well. Some of the special effects sequences come replete with some very well done foley effects, and in these moments, the surround activity is considerably more vivid, creating both a supernatural ambience as well as an ironically more "real" sound field that really draws the listener into the center of the action.
Being Human: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Being Human: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
There is a glut of supernaturally themed television available these days (I personally have recently reviewed everything from the aforementioned Lost Girl: Season 1 to Haven to Sanctuary). (Is it mere coincidence that all of these series are either British or Canadian productions?) Is Being Human any different from its ghoulish kin? Yes—but perhaps not as much as it might be, and there's the rub. Too much of this series plays like a slightly hipper version of Dark Shadows, minus the outright camp, but adding in some quirky humor. But a lot of this series just kind of hovers in a middling quality area that's certainly okay, but which gives hints of having a lot more potential. That potential may be getting realized slowly but surely, however, for this second season gets better and better as it goes along, building up considerable momentum and delivering some decent chills as it careens toward three interlinked cliffhangers. It may not rise to the level of "must see TV", but Being Human manages to maintain interest enough to come Recommended.
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