TV REVIEW Being Human 2.01

In case it's not painfully obvious, here be spoilers.

It’s back… but everything’s not quite back to normal, as the show deals with last season’s fall-out

Written by: Toby Whithouse
Directed by: Colin Teague

The One Where: George is the victim of a series of vampire attacks. Nina changes for the first time and tries to get George to understand the difficulties she’s having adjusting to this new world. Meanwhile Mitchell and Annie both get potential love interests - Annie when she gets a job at the pub at the end of their road, and Mitchell when he bonds with someone over a missing goldfish. As you do. And the man who Owen told about Annie at the end of series 1 is, it turns out, a religious zealot who’s part of a shady organisation working on eradicating supernatural threats by removing their powers using scientific means. Although if the first test we see is anything to go by, the results are a little, erm, messy.

Review: Well George killed Herrick, saving humanity from a vampiric revolution, so everything in the garden is rosy and our heroes can all just sit down, relax and have a celebratory cup of tea from the stack Annie’s made and placed on every surface, or - even better - a pint at the Kings Head, right?

Not so much.

I think we can safely say Being Human series two kicked off with a bang. With shows like Lost teasing the tiniest developments of characters and story arcs into multi-episode lessons in patience, Being Human shoehorns in more in an hour than most other shows do in four. We have a host of new characters - I love the interplay with Daisy and Ivan (although am I the only one who thinks Daisy’s bonkersness is Drusilla-esque?), while Saul and Hugh - and indeed the whole comic plot strand of Annie deciding to get a job at The New Found Out - are welcome arrivals, although I think the latter is going to turn out to be nicer than the former.

While there’s lots going on for all our characters here, this is very much a George episode, with the ramifications of killing Herrick making him self-absorbed and, well, a bit of a git to those around him, particularly Nina. While Russell Tovey has expressed concerns about the darkening of George’s character this way, the writing and his performance is excellently pitched - just on the cusp of making George unsympathetic to the audience. It’s like having a friend who goes through a phase of being a complete tosser, and you try and give them leeway because you know there’s underlying reasons for it but then they go just a step too far - but before you can condemn them completely they do or say something that reminds you why they’re your friend in the first place. That said, George going from lying with the dead deer to shagging Daisy in five minutes? Bad form indeed. You can’t help thinking that’s definitely going to come back to haunt him, even without Nina now having super werewolf smell.

As for Nina... Poor Nina. Sinead Keenan’s performance here proves that she’s good at more than just sarcastic comments and death stares, and in particular the scene with George where she goes from shock to fury to grief is just gutwrenching and arguably one of the best things Toby Whithouse has ever written.

Overall, a solid four stars - a couple of cringey moments, Annie’s Cockernee pub landlady thing in particular was a little OTT for my taste, but overall a great start to the new series, with some interesting foundations laid for what happens next.

Pop culture reference of the week: Annie getting business tips from The Apprentice – “At the end of the day it is just about giving it 110 per cent.” (it would have been her smalltalk about the Whedonverse with Nina while waiting for her to change – “There was a werewolf called Nina on Buffy ...” except pedantically enough Annie got it wrong and it was Angel ).

Our world but not: Ivan implying that vampires swarm to places of political unrest to take advantage of the upheaval - although I’m not sure comparing Bristol with Baghdad and Phnom Penh is entirely fair.

Soundtrack of our times: Simple Town by Willy Mason adds an extra layer of heartwrenching to Nina’s isolation as a guilt-ridden George sees her at work but can’t bear to speak to her. (Where is our Being Human soundtrack album? - the DVD release with some of the songs missing for licensing reasons is so much the poorer for it). Narin Bahar

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