With the new main cast line-up settled in now, BBC Three’s Being Human returns next month for its fifth series, and SFX has been lucky enough to see the first episode.
Thanks to the gradual way the new line-up was has been introduced, you barely notice there’s none of the original cast around. Even if you do, you give up caring pretty damned quickly. “Trinity” may not be a classic episode – like most first episodes there’s too much necessary setting up to do – but it does have all the hallmarks of what makes the British Being Human such a cherishable series in spades.
Here are a few random, non-spoilery thoughts and cryptic clues about what to expect:
• Alex (Kate Bracken) is wonderful as the new ghost on the block and has some brilliantly snarky lines throughout (listen out for her casual mention about “drawing cocks”). Although she has to go through the “I can’t feel, I can’t love” motions we’ve all see before, it’s not laboured and she does have one genuinely heart-rending scene of acceptance. She also seems more ready to use her ghostly powers to her advantage than Annie was. There’s a great, eerie moment when torments someone who doesn’t know she’s there
• Hal is just brilliant. Honestly, Mitchell fans, stop pining and enjoy Damien Molony’s quirky performance. Hal’s a tad more of an Anne Ricey vampire than Mitchell in the flashbacks (which is ironic, since Toby Whithouse retooled series one to make the vampires less Anne Ricey after the pilot) but in the modern day his OCD tendencies are used to great effect, and makes the moment when he loses his vampire cool all the funnier/more shocking.
• Oh yeah, and there’s a lot of topless Hal, very early on…
• Tom is a little underused, but has a few good moments, and remains thoroughly entertaining to watch and great part of the mix. His best line involves him grumbling about being given a “general knowledge round”. He manages to unwittingly grate on Hal’s nerves a couple of times, but it’s a shame there aren’t more Hal/Tom scenes as they work well together, dramatically. On the other hand, he has some great scenes with Alex.
• It starts with a flashback, and has lots of flashbacks.
• The main “concept” of the season – as it’s revealed over the course of the episode – is one of the most outrageously hokey ideas the show has yet attempted, but it grasps it with such gusto, you’re left desperate for more.
• There’s a new bit of mythology about the creation of vampires.
• Alex seems to have a knack for untimely, tasteless jokes. Not sure if this will be a running gag, yet, or just a reaction to her unease at the new world she finds herself in.
• Richard Wells’ music seems more to the fore than ever before, and there are some lovely moments when the score sounds like something out of Amelie or Hugo .
• Hal is forced to witness something that could drive him insane.
• There’s a reference to a vampire in Marigolds – which must be on purpose.
• There are some great domestic scenes, reminiscent of series one.
• Phil Davies is amazing as Captain Hatch, and cleverly introduced in a slow, subtle way… He is absolutely chilling at one point.
• Hal does things he regrets and is bound to regret more as the series goes on… both in the present and in flashback.
• Hal has a problem with punctuation.
• There’s a brilliant, quip-filled fight scene.
• A couple of performances by guest characters are a little broad and overly comedic (oh God, it'd the nasally nerd), but one of them redeems himself as the episode goes on.
• Somebody acts so bizarrely around Hal, you kinda hope there’s a supernatural explanation for it later in the series (but you fear there may not be, and it’s just another one of those broad performances)
• There are some great tonal changes – it flows effortlessly from comedy, to high emotion to horror.
• And there are some very creepy bits, especially when someone bends over backwards to accommodate a new arrival.
• The plot concerning the Cleaners (those men in suits introduced at the end of last season) takes a turn you probably won’t expect, which makes them more even more interesting.
• The pop music used on the soundtrack includes a surprising choice – a certain, quirky punk classic.
• An extra with no lines is killed, but despite his silent status you will be glad he’s bumped off.
• There’s a very unexpected cameo. You may not even recognise who it is when he appears. If you don’t, check the final name in the list of actors in the credits (don’t do this beforehand, because if you do recognise who it is, you’ll love the fact that you recognised them without being prompted)
All in all a strong start to the series, great central performances, and an intriguing new central arc. Mitchell who?
Read more about the best of British TV in the print edition of SFX every month and in the current SFX Special Edition (dedicated to the best TV shows ever) - subscription offers available for a limited time !