Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Even More Being Human

To recover from the excitement of yesterday's live blogging experience, I felt the need to immerse myself in more Being Human pondering. My post here on Monday was less of a review, and more of a teenage "Me 4 Mitchell" fest. Which is weird, since he's a 116 year old vampire who murders people really quite violently. And also, he's not real. But what the hell? I don't even live near Bristol, so it was never going to happen anyway. And to be honest, I could probably go for Ivan instead at a push. Except he's dead, as well as fictional.

Anyway, I'd already read this interesting post on Monday, so I went back to the Cosmic Calamari's blog last night and looked for more Being Human writings. I wasn't disappointed. Mr (or Ms) Calamari has lots to say about Being Human, and this post in particular caught my eye.

For me, Being Human is more than the sum of its parts, and I can forgive it many things because I find it thought provoking as well as hugely absorbing, and because it can take me to the verge of tears minutes after making me roar with laughter. The fact that it has faults makes it, ironically, seem human and I love it even with its flaws.

But it does have flaws, and some of them are irritating. Annie's position within the spirit world, as discussed by Mr(s) Calamari is certainly one of them. Sykes and Gilbert have been great additions to the show, in my view - Gilbert was one of my favourite characters of Series 1 - but as Calamari's post notes, surely the whole point of Annie's situation it that it isn't the same as being alive. Gilbert and Sykes both helped move the narrative of her character forward by providing exposition. (Is exposition solely a literary device or can it be applied to film? Whatever. They provided information, to Annie and us, about her situation and causes of it.) I wanted more of Sykes, but instead we got the single mother trying to bag a dead fireman. Annie was apparently a celebrity within the ghostly community and the problem with that is that we'd never heard of it before - or since. The babysitting was obviously to make Annie think about what she'd lost - her future life - but the trouble with it was that it introduced ideas that were convenient for this episode, and were then apparently forgotten about, or at least unexplored. It's perfectly reasonable to expect, and indeed need, 'realism' in a show about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost in that just because they are supernatural and don't have to be restricted by normal, human rules, that doesn't mean they can be completely free of any rules. Their characters have to be real within the rules of their species.

The biggest difficulty I had in the series climax was in Episode 7 when Mitchell systematically failed to realise who Lucy was for a very long time. Throughout that episode whenever anyone mentioned the name 'Jaggat' in front of Mitchell, I was thinking "Why isn't he reacting? Why isn't he exploding into a huge ball of vampiric rage? Has he gone deaf? Was he thinking about getting some new fingerless gloves and not listening?" instead of watching the screen intently. It was a distraction. Mitchell met Lucy at work. There was lots of interaction before they went for a drink, and this happened at the hospital. Where she was a doctor. A doctor! They wear name badges, for God's sake. Is it really possible that Mitchell would not have known her name? There didn't seem to be any suggestion that she was working under a different name - was there? I missed it if there was. People definitely mentioned Professor Jaggat in front of him. Ok, they didn't refer her 'Lucy' and 'Jaggat' in the same breath, but come on. He isn't that thick. Jaggat is hardly Jones. Surely you would at least think "That's a co-incidence!" and then wonder if there was a connection. And then go and find out. Of course, if Mitchell has twigged it would have ruined the great dramatic reveal by the vicar when he finally realised who had been behind the explosion at the funeral parlour, but the fact that I kept scratching my head and wondering why he hadn't worked it out yet didn't help with the dramatic tension for me.

Having said that, I can't help feeling I'm nitpicking. I've enjoyed the series hugely and I can't wait for more. And I'm glad Tully got to help George in the end, and kind of redeem himself a bit for giving him 'the curse' in the first place. Tully was a pretty objectionable character of course, but still one I eventually pitied when it became clear that he'd lost his family, and was horribly lonely. The curse of the werewolf had wrecked his life, and he had just reacted differently to George. I was sad that he'd died in the chamber, and pleased at his redemptive act.

How he knew that the werewolves had all died when the whole point is that they'd been sold the story that the chamber would save them is a question I just won't ask myself.

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