Case Number 21478: Small Claims Court


BBC Video // 2010 // 345 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bartholomew Payne (Retired) // June 5th, 2011

The Charge

"I see the ancient machinery of the world. Elegant and ferocious, neither good nor bad, it's full of beautiful things, unspeakable things. The trick is to keep them hidden -- until the right moment." -- John Mitchell

The Case

Who would have thought that a series that focuses on the lives of a werewolf, a ghost and a vampire would wind up seeming so normal?! Relocated to Wales to escape the dangers that were looming all around them (and likely increased production costs), Annie, George and Mitchell are back for eight exciting episodes.

It's hard to believe that by the end of the second season of Being Human, we'd seen only 14 episodes since the show premiered in 2009. It's definitely a testament to the quality of the entire production, from writing and direction, to set design and acting, that with such a short run under its belt, Being Human feels like such a mature and well-developed series. I for one love the fact that British productions, for whatever reason, seem to always trim the fat, delivering fewer episodes per season and often shorter series runs. In the case of Being Human in particular, the shorter seasons have kept the plots focused, the characters developing at a brisk but realistic pace, and the interest level, at least for me, riveting from episode to episode.

Spoilers ahead

When I reviewed Season Two, I mentioned that the second season expanded the world we'd been introduced to in Season One, opening up the playing field and expanding the cast of secondary characters, both human and supernatural. Well kids, with the board set and the pieces in motion by the end of Season Two, it was definitely game on in Season Three. In the tradition of all great TV cliffhangers, we were left wondering if Annie would be trapped in purgatory forever, if Mitchell's tenuous grip on his moral compass would hold, and what role the ever-present and mysterious Centre for the Study of Supernatural Activity would have in the roommates' lives.

Despite its supernatural trappings, Being Human continues to be about friendship, family and surviving life's trials. On a deeper level, the series is also about death, redemption, ambition, love and so many other powerful and essentially human conditions and experiences that keep the series meaningful, relevant and compelling. With two seasons under their belts and a swell of fan support, the actors convey an almost tangible feeling of comfort throughout Season Three, having found the tack that works best and have kept that course, while ratcheting up the tension, conflict and drama even more. In hindsight, Season Two was a bit of a bridge between the context that was established in the first season and the darkness that came in Season Three.

Being Human continues to be a fantastic production with a caliber of writing the series' immensely skilled actors can really sink their teeth into. With season three, the cinematography went in an interesting new direction, incorporating more close-ups and beautifully composed two-shots that we've previously seen in the series. Given that the series has always been about character and story first, this new direction is a natural evolution in the series. While the core cast of Aidan Turner, Lenora Crichlow and Russell Tovey still deliver and exceed expectations as their characters continue to develop, it's worth noting some of the other great performances that pepper Season Three. Elevated to the core cast early in Season Three, Sinead Keenan (Doctor Who) really pulled out all the stops as Nina, delivering some powerful scenes as she struggled with her off-again, on-again relationship with George and her mistrust of Mitchell. As resurrected vampire leader Herrick, Jason Watkins delivered a stellar performance, essentially creating a new amnesiac version of his character who was almost likeable. Finally, in the episode titled "Type 4," Welsh actress Alexandra Roach (The IT Crowd) created one of the greatest zombie characters in recent memory.

Being Human: Season Three comes to Blu-ray with a 1080i high definition VC-1 transfer that is warm and natural, but also crisp and clean, without that overprcessed look that can often come with HD productions. As was the case with previous season releases, we're given a 2.0 mix that is locked in the front of the room; that's okay for dialogue-driven scenes, but feels sadly lacking during more intense and action-heavy sequences like werewolf transformations and subway rampages.

Sadly, as for extra features, the pickings are even more slim that before: eight deleted scenes, clocking in at 12 minutes, provide expanded character moments that are worth watching, but just a few minutes each; trimming them out was likely the right call. One-on-one interviews with Turner, Tovey, Chrichlow and Keenan are interesting, but again, there's not a lot of time spent, given the series rests in their collective laps. Finally, there's a cute-but-fluffy set tour with Sinead Keenan. It's honestly criminal, given the immense talent both in front of and behind the camera on Being Human, that there have never been audio commentaries done for a single episode to date. Do I sound like I'm complaining? You'd be right.

The Verdict

Simply put, Being Human is not just a great series, but continues to evolve into something special that will likely be remembered for years to come. Thankfully, we don't have to look back on it fondly just yet, as the wheels are already turning on a fourth season. Given the monumental season finale that had fans' chins on the floor, Season Four is likely to be a corker!

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice
Judgment: 83

Perp Profile
Studio: BBC Video
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* English (SDH)

Running Time: 345 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Deleted Scenes
* Interviews
* Set Tour

* IMDb

* Official Site