BBC Video // 2010 // 345 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // September 27th, 2010
"It's a lot to take in. I mean werewolves, ghosts, vampires. I didn't even believe in homeopathy before this." -- Nina Pickering
Picking up from a strong six-episode first season, Being Human stretches its legs, adding new supporting characters and unexpected twists and turns.
Bristol's unlikeliest roommates, Annie, John (known as Mitchell) and George, are typical twenty-somethings trying to make their way and lead a normal life. Oh, but did I mention that the unlikely part is that they're a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf?
There's something about British TV that makes it special and unique. It may be that American TV can be predictable and full of plot contrivances and cookie-cutter characters that we can all see coming from miles away. As my wife pointed out, it may just be that since we're not as familiar with British programs, we're just not as familiar with their clichés as we are with our own. Whatever the reason, British comedies delight us, while British mystery, sci-fi, and supernatural series seem to capture our imaginations in new and exciting ways.
Being Human: Season 2 expands the playing field of the series, introducing viewers to the broader community of vampires. In an attempt to pick up the pieces of the vampire clan following Herrick's death, John (Aidan Turner, The Tudors) is unwittingly chosen to be the new vampire "king" and reunite his people or face persecution and destruction, should their bloodletting be discovered. George (Russell Tovey, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret) can't come to terms with the werewolf side of his existence, desperately trying to be "normal" again. His relationship with Nina is strained by the fact that, in the process of defeating the evil vampire leader Herrick, Nina is scratched by George, causing her to become a werewolf as well. George's guilt over what he has done and Nina's desperate need to escape what she has become, ultimately tears them apart. Annie (Lenora Crichlow, Sugar Rush) gets a job of her own to keep pace with John and George and just as she seems to be settling into her strange, newfound ability to be seen by and interact with non-supernaturals, malevolent forces and the "Door to Death" return to torment her.
What's a great series without a clandestine and malevolent organization or unexplained mystery lurking in the shadows? Lost had the "Others," The X-Files had the "The Syndicate" and this season, Being Human introduced a mysterious organization known as the Centre for the Study of Supernatural Activity or CenSSA, and another mysterious group of scientists who are tracking, studying and experimenting on supernaturals. Not only does the tension ramp up for Season Two, but it seems the producers also increased the graphic scenes, strong language and other elements you'd only expect to find on cable TV in the U.S. Make no mistake, as dark as The X-Files, Buffy and Angel were at times, Being Human is considerably darker, more violent and less PG-rated; think True Blood with more profanity, and you'll be close.
I received screener copies of this release, so the A/V presentation I experienced does not necessarily represent the final retail product. Similar to the first season, Being Human: Season 2 is soft on Blu-ray. A statement like that can be a mark against a hi-def presentation, but in this case, the 1080i high definition VC-1 transfer is merely true to life and appropriately sharp, colorful and bright, without appearing over-processed. On the audio front, we're sadly given a mix that seems constrained and front-heavy, without enough attention given to the surrounds and lower range, especially for this kind of show. The extra features include seven short featurettes that together, add quite a bit of value to the package: "Blood Bursting" dives into the amped-up season two gore; "The Caves" goes on location in the vampire catacombs; "Unleashing the Beast" takes a close-up look at the changes George goes through in season two; "The Swinging Sixties" explores how the production team created the '60s flashback episode; "Behind the Makeup" spends time with the series' skilled make-up team; "Making the New Werewolf" talks about how the werewolf prosthetics and effects were amped up for the second season; and "Train Carnage" takes a closer look at the episode involving Mitchell and the train ('nuff said). One question for you BBC: would it be that hard to have the cast and production team get together for some commentaries? They're an immensely talented group and there's just not enough time in a handful of short featurettes to hear from them as much as fans might like.
Being Human: Season 2 is a winner, picking up almost literally where Season One left off, this season expanded beautifully on the series' foundation, cranked up the tension, and introduced a host of new characters both good and bad. Fans are likely ready and waiting for the next season with bated breath and I count myself among that group. My only criticism is that Being Human is being doled out to us in far too short seasons for my liking, but as the saying goes "always leave 'em wanting more."
Being Human is on an uphill climb that will hopefully lead to many more episodes to come. While the BBC is moving the production from Bristol to Cardiff, Wales, eight new episodes have been ordered for a third season, so there's a light at the end of the tunnel for that crazy cliffhanger!
Not guilty. Arrrrrooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Review content copyright © 2010 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: BBC Video
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 345 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site