Sunday, October 29, 2017

Being Human (both US and UK) on DVD

Being Human
[DVD Being] 

There’s a long-standing tradition of American TV series that are based on popular British TV series, but there’s usually a gap of a few years before the Americanized version pops up on our screens — the US series Sanford and Son started in 1972, based on the UK’s Steptoe and Son in 1963. The US All in the Family started in 1971, based on the UK Till Death Do Us Part in 1965. Even the relatively recent US Life on Mars series (2008-2009), was at least a year behind the UK version (2006-2007).

Being Human was an unusual exception. The UK version of this paranormal drama ran from 2009 to 2013 (and aired on the BBC America cable network), while the US version at pretty much the same time (2011-2014) on the Syfy cable TV network. Both were fascinating in their own way, but despite a similar start, they also both charted their own separate courses. I enjoyed both series, which feature a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all rooming together — one set in London and the other in Boston — and helping each other out with the complications their respective afflications have on their lives, and trying to retain as much as possible of their original humanity. The casts for both series were terrific — in the U.S. version, Sam Witwer is Aidan the vampire, Sam Huntington (marvelous!) was Josh the werewolf, and Meaghan Rath was Sally the ghost. I think I actually liked the British cast better — Russell Tovey was George the werewolf, Lenora Crichlow was Annie the ghost, and for me, the standout was Aidan Turner as the vampire John. Turner has gone on to far greater fame as Ross Poldark in the newest version of the Poldark series on PBS. The British show lasted for 36 episodes in short, 6 to 8 episode series, while the American version ran for 52 episodes in 4 13-episode seasons.

The acting, writing, and production values were all top-notch. Both series are definite “modern” horror shows, and featured a lot of gruesome, blood-and-guts violence. But at the heart of each show, they were about friends trying to salvage their humanity in the face of overwhelming odds against them. I recommend them both, but would ultimately give the British version an “8” and the American version a “7”. As of the time of this review, the libraries have all seasons of both shows in our collection on DVD.

[NOTE: Another simultaneous-airing series recent occurred when Doctor Who actor David Tennant starred in the UK series Broadchurch in 2013, an Americanized version, Gracepoint in 2014, and returned for 2015 and 2017 seasons of Broadchurch back in the UK — all basically the same show, but with setting and character names changed.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for the British series ] | [ Internet Movie Database entry for the American series ]
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you watched either of these? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful? Do you have a preference between the US and UK versions of Being Human?

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