roh_wyn: (george1)
[personal profile] roh_wyn
In no particular order, here are some random thoughts on the premiere episode of Syfy's version of Being BBC Human...



1. The intro is very similar to the original, but there's something slightly off about it. I think it's the narrator's voice. It has a sort of happy edge to it, the sing-song tones of a man telling a good yarn. The beauty of the original was that you could almost feel Mitchell's despair in his voice, the weariness of a man who's been around for a very long time and has little joy in his life.

2. For some inexplicable reason, all the names have been changed. So Mitchell is Aidan (ha!), George is Josh, Annie is Sally, Lauren is Rebecca and Herrick is Bishop. Of all these, only Bishop strikes me as sort of clever (given Herrick's role within the vampire structure).

3. George's dorkiness always struck me as adorable and endearing. It was very much in keeping with a man trying to deny who he is. Josh's dorkiness is played too hard, mostly for laughs, and it's very creepy. I want to run away from him, not hug him. Sam Huntington is twitchy and nerdy without any of George's understated charm, his native intelligence (that he can't quite hide, despite everything) and his basic human (yes, human) decency.

4. I'm not convinced Josh and Aidan are actually friends, despite their deep and meaningful conversations. There's something very fake about it all. (I think the acting is nowhere near the level of the British version, fwiw).

5. Now, this is interesting. It looks like this episode is going to mine some of the material from the British pilot, re: George and Mitchell moving in together and discovering Annie in their flat for the first time. I LOL'd at the whole "this is a great place for a couple" thing…very Sherlock. ;)

6. The US version wants to hit us over the head with the main premise of the show, i.e. supernatural creatures living together and trying to be human. It's a very unsubtle approach, and it reduces the banter between the characters to unnecessary exposition and sitcom-level snappiness. These people aren't friends…they're incidental passengers on the same ship who actually can't stand each other. I'm not sure the premise of the show works if they're not all willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for each other.

I think it sort of misses the point of the original, which was careful not to stress the premise too much and just let the characters inhabit their space and develop into what they are at the end of the first series, i.e. people bound together by their struggle in a way that nobody else can really understand. Or combat. By the time we meet them, George and Mitchell are awkward friends and Annie is their hopelessly lost flat-mate. Yes, they bicker, but in that charming and eloquent way that only real friends can.

7. As the vampire, Sam Witwer is all angled cheekbones and menace. He's actually frighteningly intense in a way that telegraphs exactly what he is. He has none of Mitchell's sensitivity, his rugged charm that only suggests danger, but isn't actually threatening (until it's too late, and you're lying in a pool of blood with his teeth buried in your neck, of course).

8. George and Annie have a tenuous relationship in the original, but it's solidified by the few moments where they really bond, i.e. when Annie sees George transform and understands the scope of his problem for the first time, or when George consoles Annie over her various setbacks in the first series. By the end of the series, they’re a team, and they'd both do anything to help each other out.

Not loving the Sally character here. She doesn't have Annie's bubbly personality (made even more touching by how dangerous and powerful Annie can be, when push comes to shove), and her first encounter with the boys is a bit…er, shrill?

In this version, they can barely stand to be in the same room, and Sally is always yelling at Josh, and feeling sorry for herself. ("I can't read anymore, I can't drink beer anymore, I can't blah, blah, blah". I've seen her in two scenes, and I'm already tired of her).

Annie's great charm was that she internalized most of her problems and set about making the other two feel better about themselves. Partly, this was Annie putting off the inevitable for herself. But it was also her personality. She was, in a sense, completely selfless in death as she'd been in life. Way to miss the point, Syfy. *sigh*

9. Finally! A bright spot for this version. Herrick (aka Bishop) in this version is really cool. Not quite like the original, but just as frightening. He's very persuasive, but in a totally different way than on the British version. Very interesting take on the character, IMO.

On some perverse level, I also enjoyed the notion that blood lust is a sort of sybaritic pleasure and that Bishop maintains a "brothel" as a recruiting tool, lol.

10. Josh's meeting with his sister is sort of touching (and a nice departure from the original, where George has made a complete break from his old life). I guess the take-home message is that Josh is basically dead and nothing can ever be the way it was before. That's territory worth mining, I guess. And in fact, as I type this…whoa! There's a twist the original didn't have!

Holy cliffhanger, Batman! Way to get people to tune in for the next episode, lol.

So, final verdict? The US version of the show is not terrible. If you're watching it in a vacuum, you might even like it.

Meanwhile, Series 3 of the REAL Being Human starts on Sunday! I AM EXCITE!

ETA

If ever there was something that illustrated EXACTLY the difference between the UK and US versions...

First, the UK version (deleted from the broadcast version of the show, btw):



Second, the US version (which happens right after the characters meet):

Annie is nonplussed. But it's not you!

Date: 2011-01-18 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lillbet.livejournal.com
The one great failing, as far as I see it, is that the producers don't trust American audiences to "get it" and they're being unsubtle and as a result the show is not what it could be.

That said, I think they started off pretty well. I don't know of that many American shows that launch the audience right into the middle of something the way this one has, so they've set the bar at an unusual spot. And no, Annie isn't funny or bubbly, but she's also not as awful as she appeared in the promos- she's much MUCH less whiny than I feared she'd be, etc.

And Bishop... whoah. O.o

Looking forward to the next ep, but hating myself for it. Just a little.
Edited Date: 2011-01-18 03:59 am (UTC)

Re: Annie is nonplussed. But it's not you!

Date: 2011-01-18 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roh-wyn.livejournal.com
Annie ought to be unhappy, just with what they did to her awesome sweater. I'm not feeling the Sally-sweater, lol.

Looking forward to the next ep, but hating myself for it. Just a little.

Um, ditto. They sort of reeled me in there, right at the end.

You know what's weird though? I didn't buy Josh's tortured phone message to Sally and her even more tortured attempt to get out of the house. Because they didn't build up to all that the right way, IMO. So yeah, it's basically Josh's sister I'm tuning in for, lol.
Edited Date: 2011-01-18 04:03 am (UTC)

Re: Annie is nonplussed. But it's not you!

Date: 2011-01-18 04:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lillbet.livejournal.com
I felt the same way! They didn't get us invested properly, so no payoff. I'm watching because I want, in a perverse way, to see something good come out of this, but that's it.

Regarding the relationship between Aidan and Josh- it's not bad, really, just that some American writer (although, again, this is on Wikipedia as "a Canadian series") decided to wring all of the affection out and make it more clinical. The scene where Josh is walking in slo-mo down the street in a flowery dress and what happened after was not awful. BUT every time they opened their mouths it was so useless. It's like everyone fears showing a decent male friendship because it MIGHT. LOOK. G-AYE.

Fucking sad, it is.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sabriel75.livejournal.com
I am excited! Yes... for REAL Being Human on Sunday.

My new big screen television in the bedroom is waiting for its advent.

And I skipped the rest of this post because I refuse to watch the American one. Am I being a baby about this... YES! But I really hated Coupling when they chose to Americanize it and I am not pleased with many shows that are remade here. So far the only one that I adored more was Queer as Folk.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roh-wyn.livejournal.com
You know what I'm thinking? They could make it work if they make like The Office and just go in a totally different direction...

*fingers crossed*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 04:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sabriel75.livejournal.com
I shall not cave... I shall not cave.

(And I hate the Office and never watched a full episode of it so any hope when people speak of that show doesn't work on me. :D)

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Date: 2011-01-18 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] javidan.livejournal.com
But I really hated Coupling when they chose to Americanize it
Oh let's not bring that up...painful.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 04:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alesh101.livejournal.com
Everything you've said is what makes me very skittish to even give this a chance. Subtle does it, man, and US tv just doesn't get it. I've watched plenty of promos for it, and just going by them, I'm completely turned off.

I was actually offended by the vampire being named Aidan. Couldn't they have chosen any of the other over-used American male hero names? Dylan, Jason, Brady, etc-pretty much anything but Aidan would have done from the top ten baby names list for boys. But no, they have to use the name of the original British actor. Way to go, SyFy. Very original. Plus the overly pouty lips on that guy just bug me to no end.

I almost feel sorry for whoever it is playing George's character, because there's only one high-strung werewolf, and that's Russell Tovey. Russell just screams innocence as George, and I can't imagine anyone else could pull that off near so well.

Thanks for this.



(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roh-wyn.livejournal.com
You can watch it for the crack potential, bb. You know, the way we all watched Series 3 of Robin Hood. ;)

But yes, for some reason, a lot of US shows don't trust the audience to understand basic nuance and plot. I don't know why that is, and I hasten to add that subtlety is often the hallmark of a good show, even in the US.

TOTALLY HEAR YOU ON THE 'AIDAN' THING. WTF-EVER!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alesh101.livejournal.com
Well, I watched RH S3 for the massive amounts of broody in black leather, but that's just me. :D

I sort of assumed that the US version of Being Human would be our version of angsty, which is just obnoxious brattiness most of the time. And of course, if there haven't been yet, I'm sure the heavy-handed sex jokes will make an appearance soon.

I blame reality shows.

Pardon me for butting in, but

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Date: 2011-01-18 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] multred-a.livejournal.com
I'll never watch the us version.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roh-wyn.livejournal.com
But then you can't laugh at how terrible it is! ;)

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Date: 2011-01-18 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] multred-a.livejournal.com
Never. I love BH...and will never watch this US show-just as I will never watch the new Hawaii 5oh.

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Date: 2011-01-18 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sspring92.livejournal.com
I forgot it was on and only saw the last 15 minutes. I really don't care for Josh or Aidan. I agree Josh is no where near as endearing as endearing as George, and Aidan is to Hollywood, gossip girly looking. For some reason The British accents make it all seem more plausible to me. this seems like people acting.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 05:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roh-wyn.livejournal.com
For some reason The British accents make it all seem more plausible to me. this seems like people acting.

THIS. Totally.

You know, one theme I keep hearing is that British shows are remade rather than just re-broadcast in the US because the average Joe in Anytown, USA doesn't like shows with accents.

Um, how parochial do they think we are? Has there ever been a decent-ish show on HBO that didn't feature accents, whether Roman or New Jersey? Whatever.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 10:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] enomis57.livejournal.com
Just watched the two clips (I ♥ Annie, Mitchell and George!) and I really was waiting for a laugh track to kick in on the US version as that is what it feels like!! A spoof of the brilliance that is BBC.

They couldn't even dress "Annie" differently?! Just *sigh*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 02:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roh-wyn.livejournal.com
YES. The US version has this weird sitcom-dramedy thing going on. The original has this sort of gentle, dorkish charm to it.

In the clip, George and Mitchell are just so adorable, with their fear of the unknown. I love that the boys have a random cricket bat lying around, like, oh yeah, they play cricket! ;)

In the US version, I can't ever imagine Aidan not being the pouty macho one, just as I can't imagine for a moment that Josh would ever be able to rescue him from anything...you know?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] enomis57.livejournal.com
I love George's "What could be more scary than one of us?!" - so true and yet they are scared!

How can you not love them?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 10:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gregoria44.livejournal.com
Oof. Mind you, my luff for the original probably wouldn't give me any room to like a US version, even if it were made of TV goldmagicwonderment, with the most appealing actors known to man in it.

I haven't got round to watching deleted scenes, so will end with guffawing at George's line: "We paid a deposit!" in the background of the convo!!

*loves George*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 02:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roh-wyn.livejournal.com
I just can't get over all the adorkable banter in that first clip, between Mitchell being all indignant ("Blood? Do you know how impractical it is to write with blood?") and George being all frightened. I wuv them both.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gregoria44.livejournal.com
BOY BANTER!!

Of course.

*slaps self on forehead*

That's where the writing combines so beautifully with the acting. Yes, they're a vampire and a werewolf, but also, they could be those blokes you know from everywhere.

I CAN HARDLY WAIT 'TIL SUNDAY!

\o/

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 01:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyarcherfan3.livejournal.com
I have only seen one episode of the BBC version, but I did like it enough that I was already throwing insults at the TV when I saw the SyFy adverts for their version (if nothing else it was the principle of the thing!). Now I really want to catch up on the BBC version and join in the probable mocking of the American version. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-18 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roh-wyn.livejournal.com
Oh, you must watch the BBC version. It's awesomesauce (and IMO, one of the best shows made over there in recent years).

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Date: 2011-01-18 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] javidan.livejournal.com
Haven't watched it yet...but making plans to.

And definitely looking forward to the 'real' thing.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-19 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] edoraslass.livejournal.com
re: 7

Thank you for articulating what my problem with Sam Witwer. You're exactly right; he's very intense in an unsettling way, whereas Mitchell is intense in the way that makes you think he's probably got a Very Serious Band and is going to bust out reading you his Very Meaningful Song Lyrics with no provocation in hopes of getting into your pants. And then, you know - the surprise!biting.

I gotta disagree about the recruiting brothel, though, mostly because that kind of thing has been so very done to death, blood lust as actual lust and the whole drinking process as the ultimate sensual act.

Also I'm not loving that Aidan is supposed to be 200 years old. Nitpicky, perhaps, or maybe I just really liked that Mitchell's backstory originates in WW1. Cause I do. :) Also to be EVEN NITPICKIER, the number of people named "Aidan" 200 years ago can mostly likely be counted on one hand with fingers left over. Ok, sure, maybe that's not his real name, but still. It bugs me. oh noes I got rid of my Ivan icon

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