A Tale of Two Series, or How Siffy Frakked up a Good Thing

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Before I get started, two disclaimers:

Disclaimer #1: This post will be entirely about the US and UK versions of the series Being Human. If you haven’t seen either and/or don’t care to, you may as well hit the back button on your browser now.

Diclaimer #2: This post will contain spoilers for the season 1 finales of both series, so if you haven’t seen one or both and do not wish to be spoiled, you may as well hit the back button on your browser now.

Oh yeah, and the following does not reflect the views of Barnes & Noble or any or all of it’s employees. These ramblings are entirely mine. (Sorry, inside joke)

Ok, now for the 3 or 4 of you who are still here with me, I will continue…

As I’m sure many of you are aware, Being Human is one of my favorite television shows in the universe. I absolutely adore everything about it (not just the hot Irish vampire). The writing, the acting, the directing, the cinematography… everything about it is terrific, and I’m sure other fans out there would agree. There isn’t much like it on television. Last night, as I was lying in my bed planning out this blog I was reminded of how much people loved Buffy when it was on the air. How a show about a vampire slayer became a metaphor for so many dealing with high school and other real life issues. Being Human is kind of like that for those of us who grew up on Buffy but are now trying to deal with other real life issues, finding jobs, apartments, fitting in as adults, etc.

Recently Siffy has been airing an American version of this series, and I gotta say I don’t love it at all. I watched the entire first season and will probably watch the second as well purely out of curiousity. I can’t help but wonder what they’re going to do next. Fans of the British series would definitely recognize pretty much every single plotline in the series, as most of them are just recycled and “Americanized” versions of the original series. Some of the best episodes of the US version were actually the ones that had little or nothing to do with the original and just explored their own storyline.

This habit of following so closely to the original has bothered me all season. It’s like watching a movie made from your favorite book; it follows the plot closely but changes all your favorite parts too much to allow you to really like it. Most of the time I just found these changes annoying or ridiculous. I mean, is it really necessary to have Bishop (Herrick) jump through a window into the apartment (burning up since he’s never been invited in) in order to stake Aidan (Mitchell), when the doorbell in the original worked just as well and was just as tense? Why must Americans make everything so much more dramatic? Like Aidan beating the crap out of Danny (Owen) to scare him off and turn himself in. I found the three of them in the original confronting him together so much more satisfying (and more unifying for the roommates).

But like I said, I always found these things more annoying and just ridiculous displays of how Americans need to make this flashier. Until the finale. In the final episode they messed with something I feel really messes with the entire integrity of the show and the dynamic of the roommates and that really bothers me.

British fans will remember how, in the finale, George asks Mitchell to allow him to take the message to Herrick for the meet. Instead of telling Herrick to meet Mitchell on top of the hopsital, he tells him to meet him in the isolation room in the basement where George spends his full moons. Mitchell and Annie realize it too late, after George has already shut himself in with the vampire and will not allow them to talk him out of it. They allow him to take this one for the team, but not after Nina runs in during the transformation, getting herself scratched by George. Then Mitchell, Nina and Annie stand by outside the room as George tears Herrick apart.

That is how it’s supposed to happen. The episode started with a flashback Mitchell rescuing George from vampires and them becoming friends, and ends with George returning the favor and doing something for Aidan. It helps to solidify that bond between them. It also enforces the unity between all three roommates (and, since Herrick was killed by a werewolf not a stake sets the stage for season 3). I think this ending was extremely important for all the characters, and it helped remind everyone that this is an ensemble cast, not the John Mitchell show. I have no doubt that Mitchell could have killed Herrick, and probably would have liked to have saved his friend from that horror, but it was a really important moment in George and Mitchell’s friendship. George needed to do this … and partly because of this he’ll need to do something much more horrible (and heartbreaking) at the end of season 3.

The Siffy version robbed us of this ending. Instead, it’s Aidan (Mitchell) and Sally (Annie) who go behind Josh’s (George) back and change the meeting place. So Josh transforms alone, except for the few minutes where Nora (Nina) tries to run in and gets herself scratched by a wolfy Josh. At some warehouse somewhere Sally and Aidan meet Bishop and after a huge fight Aidan beheads Bishop. There were a few minutes where I thought Sally was going to stake him, and that would have upset me even more.

Maybe it’s just me, but I felt like this ending robbed Josh of the chance do something for Aidan, to make themselves equal, to return the favor for Aidan saving him from those vampires two years ago. Sure, we know he would have been willing to kill Biship for Aidan, but he never got  the chance to actually do it. Also, I feel like it took the spotlight away from the three roommates as a whole and shined it directly onto Aidan as if he’s the star of the show, which he is not. It’s supposed to be about all three roommates, but I feel like it’s becoming all about him. Especially with the vamp returning at the end to take Aidan off to meet someone (though that part also gave me hope that maybe next season they’re going to go their own way and not follow the UK show so much, since I have no idea what was happening there, and there was no creepy priest interviewing Danny).

This just really irked me. I already feel like the US cast is missing the chemistry and bond that the UK cast shared, and now they have missed out on something that really helped to bond the UK characters.

Another side note; maybe it’s just that Aidan Turner (and everyone else) was so amazing in the last season of Being Human, but I felt like Sam Witwer’s performance in this episode was a little stiff, and not at all up to par with Aidan. Don’t get me wrong, I like Witwer and he’s one of the main reasons I’ve been able to keep watching (even my curiousity can only get me so far) but I felt like there was something missing from his performance that is always present in Aidan’s. I don’t know exactly what it was, some kind of deeper emotion or connection or something.

Ok, so that’s my rant about the Being Human US finale. I feel so much better now!

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