So here we are. Third Episode. We can do this. Deep Breaths.
Okay! So, if you’re just tuning in, what I was doing here was watching the first three episodes of the American version of Being Human, and reviewing what I saw from as objective a place as possible for someone who’s seen and enjoyed the original British series. We can have a discussion about what I’ve learned about objectivity and fresh eyes later, but for now let’s talk about what we saw this week.
First and foremost, I want to make this perfectly clear: I WILL NOT PAY YOU FIVE DOLLARS. Which is to say, I’m extremely disappointed that they went back to Aidan for the voice-over, when they could have used this opportunity to bring Josh more to the fore. A cycling, three-stage voice-over fugue-thing could have been a really interesting framing device for the show, and they seem to have screwed all that up. That being said, while the somewhat annoying voice-over is still happening, and isn’t really being used in a particularly novel way, they seem to be using less and less metaphor, which is very good. I feel like the bluntness of the introductions should either precisely match the brutality of the events we’re seeing or stand in direct counterpoint to it. But that’s my aesthetic, and your mileage may vary.
The music was pretty unobtrusive this episode, with one major exception: The use of The Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost In You,” during Sally’s “I can leave the house!” scene was actually pretty clever. Very Pretty In Pink meets Casper.
Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed the cinematography in this episode. The shot composition was phenomenal, especially in the scenes with Garrity and Bishop in Garrity’s apartment. Very claustrophobic, very maze-like, with just the use of a few well-placed corners and lighting. Similarly, the scenes with Sally out and about expressed a sense of openness and freedom. More on that later.
Aidan: The key difference in Aidan here was the part where we see him “going feral,” after being impaled in the alleyway. I really thought he was just faking his death at first…and they played that really well. That, plus his increasing desperation to not have anyone else turned into a vampire, were the two best points of character development for Aidan.
But, hey, they touched on the sunlight thing! Evolution to photo-sensitive? Really? Okay, I’ll give you that one–but if that’s the case, I’ll take some more dark glasses and heavy scarves, please.
Josh: He’s funnier this episode. Playing up his social anxiety seems to be a really natural angle for him, and it allows for his character to really shine. I did find that the whole “I Smell Something/chase after it/mad attack dog” was a little bit overdone. Just a note? I can smell fresh spray paint from about fifty yards, with the right wind; a werewolf shouldn’t have to breathe in that deep to smell a tagging in progress, less than a block away.
And my but that’s a sudden decision to shapeshift in the woods rather than in the hospital. I smell a plot device.
Sally: I’m still finding Sally deeply annoying, because she’s still self-absorbed with no real trace of caring for others. That being said, her ghost lessons were pretty interesting, even if Tony-The-Ghost’s mullet and eyeliner really threw me off. Anyway. His line “…don’t Get… the whole ‘dead’ thing” was cute, and it was a good note, but it still doesn’t feel like she really understands this At All.
Their explanation of the whole “Moving On” aspect of ghost-hood feels both dragged out and too shallow. How is that possible? The idea that apparently there’s a tally somewhere and as soon as you do that One Last Thing, you’re gone, regardless of whether you actually feel any connection to the event? This is how you use the word “closure?” That’s pretty annoying.
So, here we are at the end of the three episodes I said I’d watch, and I did my very best to keep my biases out of the whole thing, but you know what? It was really freaking hard. Syfy has kept the majority of the interactions of the original show, while slightly changing the pacing and order of those interactions. The majority of the best scenes come when there are substantive departures from the original series, because it doesn’t feel like they’re aping and groping at what was already there, while trying to make it more “accessible” to American audiences. The plot points with Garrity were original and tense. The redone plot points were… not. But, if the first three episodes are to be any indication, the most severe departures will be used as background subplot, rather than significantly stepping away from the themes of the original show. This is a huge problem for me, because the longer I watch the harder it is not to notice the comparisons, and when I notice the comparisons I notice the wide gap between what went on in the original and what’s happening in the Americanization.
I’ve said before that I want to hear from the people who really like this show, and right now I specifically want to hear if anyone who enjoyed the original show has also been enjoying the remake. I mean, is this just me? Because unless and until the show starts to display some serious thematic differences, I don’t think i’m going to be able to watch past this third episode.
But if it does, I definitely want to know.