I came back from the dead last week. Wasn’t so bad.
While the first season of Syfy’s Being Human was a mostly similar, sometimes shot-by-shot remake of its English counterpart, creators decided to part ways after that, crafting their own stories with these characters, and going in a different direction than the original. They’ve made good on that promise by mixing things up in a big way, which you’ll see on Being Human: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray).
Three roommates—Vampire Aiden (Sam Witwer, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), werewolf Josh (Sam Worthington, Superman Returns), and ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath, Cyberbully)—have seen a lot of ups and downs, but nothing like the dilemmas they’re in as this season begins.
Fifteen months have passed since the previous season’s cliffhanger. Aiden is in a coffin, buried deep underground, starving. Sally is in limbo, unable to return to Earth or to move on to the afterlife. This leaves Josh and his werewolf girlfriend Nora (Kristen Hager, Wild Roses) to find some way—any way—to get their friends back.
There’s no way to discuss this season without further spoiling everything, so…
HUGE FREAKIN’ SPOILER WARNING!!!
The first scene of the first episode is a flashback of sorts, showing Aiden, Josh, and Sally hanging out in their kitchen, doing ordinary “roommate” stuff. This is the creator’s way of saying, “Yes, we know the plot has gotten convoluted, but we haven’t forgotten the basics of what the show’s supposed to be about.” It takes some doing, but our roommate heroes are back to being roommates in time, although in a different way.
Future fans will remember this season as “the year everything changed.” The title Being Human is more apt then it’s ever been, as both Josh and Sally find they are now 100 percent human. Josh’s curse is lifted—no more wolfing out. Sally is back from the dead, her body restored. They both have a new lease (not leash, Josh) on life. The future is bright for Josh, who wants to propose to Nora. Sally is now free to pursue new romances, new clothes, and delicious food. That’s what makes this season so refreshing—it lets the characters be happy. Too often on TV shows, especially genre shows, writers pile misery upon misery on the characters just for the sake of drama. Not so on Being Human. With the weight off their shoulders, Sally and Josh are shown happy and grateful. Sure, there’s more supernatural freakiness waiting for them in the second half of the season, but taking the time to show the creators enjoying their newfound humanity endears them to the audience more than just dumping constant tears and tragedies upon them.
The show’s overall mythology is also subject to huge changes this year. Previously, Aiden’s storylines had him dealing with the city’s secret vampire society. That’s all gone now, after a virus has killed off almost all the vamps. With them gone, the werewolves have moved in, taking over the city’s underworld. Aiden and Josh have now switched roles in a way. Instead of Aiden struggling against vampire clans, we have Josh struggling against werewolf packs. This has him and Nora caring for a teen werewolf runaway (Lydia Doesberg, Zombie Punch), and threatened by a vengeful pack leader (Xander Berkeley, 24). Aiden, meanwhile, gets a more emotional storyline, befriending a young hospital patient who might provide a way to survive the vampire virus. Several episodes contain flashbacks to Aiden’s Revolutionary War-era origin story, filling in a lot of his background.
While it’s fun to see Sally enjoying her second chance, coming back from the dead has to have a steep price, and writers later put Sally through quite the wringer. Although alive, she can’t quit the dead, as she can still see and interact with ghosts, she starts a relationship with a funeral home worker, and more. Although back from the dead, there are more transformations in store for Sally. As her problems escalate, we learn that Donna (Amy Aquino, White Oleander), the witch who brought her back has serious ulterior motives and vast powers at her disposal. This gives Sally and her roommates a major new adversary, someone always lurking just around the next corner to mess with our heroes.
No complaints about the audio and video on this four-disc set. The picture makes the most of the warm browns of the roommates’ home and the deep reds of the blood dripping from vampires’ fangs. The audio is good as well, with clean dialogue and music. For extras, there’s a behind-the-scenes featurette, footage of the cast’s 2013 Comic-Con panel, additional cast interviews, and a blooper reel.
This isn’t the best show ever made, but boy is it addictive. It’s hokey at times, and drearily overdramatic at other times, and yet I’m drawn in, by the enthusiasm of the actors and wondering just what crazy plot twist the writers will come up with next.