Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Paranormal Pop Column: 'Being Human' beastly good, bloody real

What do a ghost, werewolf and vampire roommate have in common?  It’s not that they all walked into a bar and created the setup for a hilarious joke. 

Instead, it’s that they are not just supernatural but feel unnatural. They’re unexplainable rejects in a world where it seems the humans around them are living enviable, blissfully average existences.

And after watching the Syfy network’s new drama Being Human, the American reboot of the British show about the three cohabitating supers, I connected to the onscreen monsters.

A tagline for the show suggests it’s not easy being human, referring to the special issues of being immortal and feeding on blood or making certain to set time aside every full moon for a little feral activity. But Being Human just as easily relates to the idea it’s not easy being a single post-college 20-something working an entry-level job in an unwelcoming world.

In its first three episodes, Being Human manages to be witty, sexy, dark and emotional – not unlike the best of Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. Watching a show with some sex, blood and violence is far more entertaining than one called Being Angsty Quarterlife Crisis Human, the paranormal pop culture series explores the transitional phase when people are supposed to grow up and figure out what being an adult is all about.

When everyone around them appears to be picnicking and eating sandwiches on a sunny day, the characters of vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer), werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington) and Sally the ghost (Meaghan Rath) are trying to avoid too much attention whilst resolving their “stuff.”

Each had plans that didn’t exactly work out. For instance, Sally had the bad timing of dying before she could get married, and Josh couldn’t handle the pressures of lycanthropy and dropped out of premed. Meanwhile, Aidan is trying to become a better man; He’s trying to break his substance abuse (it’s a nasty plasma habit), leave behind him his bad boy reputation and ignore the old crowd of vampires who were never very good friends to begin with.

They compare their worlds with others, are nostalgic for the past, long for normalcy and intimacy, and seek an end to disappointment and frustration. The once-popular band of outcasts find others like them, share sorrows and discover new joys with (sometimes literally) gallows humor.

This is the life of nearly everyone who moves into a too-small apartment and must re-evaluate their world away from classrooms and parents. Instead of being content to address issues like getting hungover after a kegger, taking a final or pursuing a career that pleases the parents, the troubles are more complicated: Insecurity about love, hating a job, having bad credit, being unable to remain solid and move onto the afterlife. OK, maybe not the last one.

Being Human is such a good show because it feels so honest.  It is a paranormal series, but is about normal life – and that’s more frightening than full moon fever and carries more bite than a vampire.

1 comments:

Edwards said...

Nice tie in to Buffy - I totally agree. Great show so far.