the circular runner

Being Human–the show and the action

In life, media, observations on February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

love these guys

I love Being Human, the show and the state of being, though I’m going to talk here about the former. I should say I liked the ScyFy version when I first discovered it a few weeks back and then yesterday, I discovered the British )original) version and I LOVE it more. I’ve been meaning to write about the show (the American version) for a couple weeks now. When I first saw an episode, I was hopeful the way a kid hopes he’ll get X at Xmas. I like finding a good show, which is not always easy nowadays, but Being Human, with its fantastical premise of a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf living in the same flat trying to get on like the rest of us, makes the stakes go up for me.

It might be a phase I’m going through as a reader/watcher of TV, it’s certainly more than a phase as a writer, but increasingly, I want a story to be a tale, by which I mean, I want it to take me on a flight of fancy and whimsy. Stories about “regular” people going through “regular” times are fine. I’d like to think if the story is compelling, then I will be compelled. The Wire is still my favorite show, which aside from a documentary on Baltimore, you probably aren’t going to find stories that are more realistic than the ones presented there. So, ok, I think I’m open to all kinds of stories. But still, there’s something about the fantastical show (not to be confused with fantasy, though that can be fine)–a narrative style that seems to be coming into vogue with Grimm on NBC and ABC’s Once Upon a Time–that excites me and, most times, then depresses me after I see the show in question. I haven’t seen Grimm yet, but Once Upon a Time is proof that network TV can take a great idea and dumb it down into intellectual dust. It’s precious and funny at just the right test-marketed moments.

I can hear my old roommate’s Alabama drawl right now reminding me that I shouldn’t expect so much from a network show–he also reminded me of this when we went to see blockbuster movies. Call me dumb, but I still hold out hope that you can tell an original story and have fun AND get people to come see it. Maybe I live in a fantastic land–it’s possible I guess. That might be why I get so upset at the stupid fantastical show–more angry than I get at the stupid cop show or inane sitcom. As a citizen of Fantastical-land, I don’t like my peeps being misrepresented by stupid-heads who don’t have a fantastical bone in their bodies.

So what do I think of Being Human on ScyFy?

these guys are good, too, but...

I think it’s good. I think it has an interesting premise and the acting is solid. For the most part, you can believe that the actors are what they play and, more to the point of the show, that they wish they were just ordinary, just human. That said, there are certain cliches the ScyFy version falls into that its British counterpart does not. And it’s these differences that get at what I hope for in a story. The American version tries a little too hard to make us understand that being a monster is not so different from what we all experience day-to-day. The vampire is lonely and hungers (literally) for companionship that he can’t have because he might end up chomping on some innocent person’s neck. We get it. The show goes out of its way to demonstrate that this is like what any drug addict would go through–the addiction to blood is ruining any chance of his having a relationship. I get it. Blood is a drug. Vampires are addicts. Addicts also exist in the real world. I might even know of some or at least I’ve seen some on regular TV, thus, this character is not so foreign and, by extension, not so fantastical and, sadly, a lot safer and a lot lamer. Consider that on a recent episode, the vampire is in need, suffering from his need, and meanwhile, some poppy-song is playing as we see the montage of his suffering. It’s like Gray’s Anatomy or Private Practice with monsters.

Boo! or is it Booh? I guess it’s both in this case.

Look, I am different from a vampire. I imagine you are, too. I am not immortal. I do not need to drink blood. Do you? Send me a comment if you do because I really want to know.

I wish the writers of the ScyFy version would just tell their story and let me feel for the characters where they are, not where I am or could be potentially if I were to be bitten on the neck by some ghoul. That’s what the British version does so well. The writers on that show seem to know that people like good stories even when they are about people different than themselves. As someone who increasingly loves the tall-tale, the fairy tale, the fable as a form, I don’t need the writer to make me empathize by force. I don’t know diddly-squat about the Baltimore drug trade, but I was moved by the stories in The Wire all the same. Likewise, I don’t know what it’s like to live like a monster, but tell me his story so I can. Maybe I will identify with things about the character, and maybe I won’t, which in a way would be better. I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of stories like trips. I don’t want to go somewhere I know all the customs already. I want to go places where I see new things. Stories, apart from entertaining, are ways for us to learn and amplify our appreciation of others like trips are. That’s why stories are so important–all of them. Even fantastical stories, as long as they are well told, can teach us to be… yes, more human.

  1. Reblogged this on Honeyps's Blog and commented:
    Yep being human is a hardest thing to do..and easyest too..nw that we ll have to eithr we want to be human or nt …?

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