BBC Video // 2013 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart // August 20th, 2013
"You're killing yourself trying to do the right thing."
When vampire Hal and werewolf Tom, normally best buds, dispute, the killing of each other could be literal, as Michael Socha, who plays Tom, points out in a DVD interview on Being Human: Series Five, underscore by clips of Tom coming at Hal with a stake. What else would you expect from a show where a character reappears and says, "I think I'm symbolic"? Even so, they're willing to join together -- along with ghost Alex -- to fight the Devil as the British series comes to a close, even if destruction appears certain. Actually, everyone survives to fight another day, but more on that below.
Being Human: Series Five features six episodes on two discs:
* "The Trinity" -- Hal (Damien Molony) recalls an ancient summoning of the devil as he, Tom (Michael Socha, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland), and Alex (Kate Bracken) deal with a vampire that Hal created after accidentally causing a traffic fatality. Hal and Tom take jobs at a seaside hotel.
* "Sticks and Rope" -- Tom and Hal battle for Employee of the Month, while Alex sees a ghost in their home. She ends up protecting a frightened kid with a plummy accent and a secret.
* "Pie and Prejudice" -- As Hal dates a female ghost, oblivious to her wild side, Tom gets to know a TV weatherman who's a werewolf.
* "The Greater Good" -- The gang babysits vampires and werewolves, helping them toward re-entry into society. Things don't go well.
* "No Care, All Responsibility" -- Tom's impromptu hiring decision gives him a shot at romance and Hal a shot of blood. It also could end the friendships of the three roommates.
* "The Last Broadcast" -- Alex awakens in her coffin, next to her skeleton, Hal gives in to blood lust, and Cardiff faces a suicide epidemic as the trio tries to beat the Devil.
Being Human: Series Five introduces a major new character -- Alex -- in the final six-episode arc (she did appear last season as Hal's very-much-alive love interest). Kate Bracken is appealing, but let's face it, she doesn't get that much to do. Two guest characters, a loser vampire who's enjoying his newfound power and the Devil, get a lot of screentime and plot attention. Alex has a romantic subplot with Hal, but their relationship and friendship bond doesn't seem all that well-defined. Alex proves heroic as she helps the kid ghost face his very real demons and learns that she has the power to walk through walls in the last episode as she escapes her coffin, but the story focuses on Hal and Tom as their Employee of the Month rivalry could bring the world to an end.
The DVD makes up for that, in part, with segments on "Alex's Unfinished Business," as she tries to complete her "post bucket list," which includes kissing Robert Downey Jr. and learning to dance. The amusing segments show her as a daydreamer and let the actors show comic chops.
As for the returning characters, Damien Molony gets most of the high-profile scenes, doing a song-and-dance to "Puttin' on the Ritz" while creating a horde of new vampires at a pub and fighting blood lust all the way. Since he's the one who tried to conquer the Devil in the first place, he's the leader as the trio confronts Satan. Michael Socha gets a few good romantic moments, but Molony does seem to lead the last season's action.
When I checked out British series Sapphire and Steel recently, I was disappointed that it left a cliffhanger. By contrast, Series Five of Being Human wraps up the storyline neatly in "The Last Broadcast." Viewers might like that, but somehow creator Toby Whithouse wanted to leave fans wondering. Thus, there's an optional aggravating cliffhanger -- "Our Three Heroes Enjoy Being Human" -- in the DVD set, in case you want to worry about the trio forever. That's a new one on me. There are also a number of deleted scenes, the best of which highlight the guest cast.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby 2.0 Stereo are strong, as befitting of a recent television production. Bonus features include deleted scenes and interviews with cast and crew, including Whithouse's rationale for joining the cast (to save money).
Blood-soaked scenes and the show's cavalier attitude toward death and violence might not be for everyone. It's symbolic -- as mentioned earlier -- but still gory. Naturally, Series Five is about the worst place you could come in if you're new to the series.
While the shifting cast might diminish things a bit, the finale to Being Human: Series Five does provide a comically bizarre ending with a hopeful, upbeat note. You can also take that hope away if you prefer. Anyone who's been following the series will want to keep going to its conclusion, and the extras are worth a purchase. Newcomers won't be totally lost -- the formula's obvious, and a new character means reintroducing everything -- but would be better off going backward.
It looks like Toby Whithouse is positioning himself to roll back in with The New Being Human (Being Human Again? Still Being Human?) in a few years. We'll wait and see.
Not guilty, although I don't like loose ends as much as Toby Whithouse does.
Review content copyright © 2013 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: BBC Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site