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):

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