Archive for January, 2012

Being Human: “All Out of Blood” (Spoilers Syfy, BBC)

This was a pretty tame episode, but at least we weren’t subjected to boring “Princess Suren”.  Instead they delved deeper into the roommates’ personal issues.  Syfy makes a lot of the same points as BBC, even if they’re not using the same exact stories.

Off the three roommates,  Sally has to do her own thing almost completely.  Initially in Season 2, Annie could be seen by and interact with regular humans.  There was an entire plot point where Annie gets a job at a local bar and is targeted there by some entity from the other side, the BBC equivalent of Sally’s dark, misty reaper.  The entity uses a human who had a near death experience to try and drag her through a door.  After this experience she goes back to being invisible to normal humans, at which point Sally could possibly pick up the same storyline again—or not.

It’s still similar:  Sally’s in danger from an entity because she turned down her door, and though it’s not explicitly stated as it is in Annie’s case, she’s beginning to worry about her roommates moving on without her.  For the BBC version, Annie has good reason to worry, as Mitchell is always gone because of his new vamp obligations or his new crush, and George actually moves out.  Combined with her own experiences in her failed attempts to build some sort of social (after)life, she starts to realize the downside to eternity in one state of being.

Sally has come to this realization much faster, but that makes sense since she hadn’t bonded as much with her roommates as had Annie in the first season—they’re not grounding her in the same way.  This season, even in only 3 episodes, has already shown her reaching out more to the boys than she did before.  There hasn’t necessarily been much depth involved in the reaching, but there’s still plenty of time for that.  I appreciate any improvement.

Aidan is struggling much more with his addiction than Mitchell initially did in the second season, but there are reasons that I think this helps with the continuity if Syfy intends to have a similar third season.  Mitchell ‘s stress mostly sprang from being unable to keep the other vampires clean and then being ill-equipped to deal with their indiscretions.  Trying to work within the dirty but effective system that Herrick left behind to protect the vampires’ secrecy was enough to test his self-restraint, but there were no blood bags or whores to fall back on.  The problem for me with continuity came when Mitchell had little trouble sleeping with a mortal woman, yet in Season 3 he tells Annie he’s incapable of separating sex from blood and in fact uses one to get the other.  If Aidan has a similar future in store, it makes more sense to show a great deal of struggle now.

Julia, the doctor that Aidan’s been dating, is revealed as Josh’s ex-fiance.  Lucy, the doctor who dated Mitchell for much of the second season, had no prior relationship to any of them.  George’s fiance never makes an appearance except in the pilot, which isn’t included in the first season because it had different actors for Annie and Mitchell.  At one point during the first season, George mentions to Annie that he has seen his ex-fiance with someone else, and that’s the end of it.  I won’t appreciate them using Julia as Aidan’s love interest for the rest of the season because they don’t need that wedge driven between two best friends—that would ruin Aidan for me.  That friendship should continue to be the most solid part of the show.

Finishing up with my favorite couple, Nora and Josh are very different from Nina and George, but perhaps on a similar trajectory regardless.  I’ve said before, Nina never killed—George did, and it made him much more aggressive but not necessarily looking to kill again.  Fortunately, I was looking for a tougher Nora and this is a way to get one.  There must be something wrong with my brain, because I love this savage Nora.  Watching her stalk Josh’s ex—c’mon, which one of us wouldn’t do that??  I love the way Kristen Hager, the actress playing Nora,  reveals the beast within with a simple change of tone and expression.

Last week I wondered about Nina’s wrath with Mitchell, which Nora would have no reason to feel since Aidan never set her up with Josh.  I missed this plot point because it lead to such an intense confrontation between the two.  Instead of not being angry at all, Nora directs that wrath at Josh, rightfully so, because he fled from his relationship with his fiance, Julia, but felt free to take chances with Nora.  Which way is best?  George was too kind-hearted to take a chance with Nina’s safety but Mitchell thought dating Nina was part of “Being Human” and so he asked Nina out for him.  Josh made that same decision for himself, presumably having been convinced by the success he’d had so far in their joint experiment.

Speaking of experiments, this show has Josh attempting to find his own cure.  On BBC, George never returns to medical school because of his condition and though he is still a genius, he never believes there is a chance of a cure.  Season 2 does revolve the idea of a cure, but from outside sources, which have yet to be hinted at on Syfy.

Next week shows some extra-curricular (read:  nothing to do with BBC) werewolf problems for Josh and the return of the very stereotypical vampire princess (yawn).  I think I know where some of this is going—I’m just not telling you yet.

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Syfy’s Being Human: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? (Spoilers Syfy, BBC)

Two episodes in and I’m having a much better time than last season.  Admittedly this could be because I found more fault with the BBC’s second season than I did with the first.  Syfy has a lot of opportunities to improve upon it.

I mentioned last week that George was kind of useless for Nina.  Like when he finally faces the fact that he changed her, it’s Nina who comforts him while he cries.  Every time I see that scene I want to reach into the screen and shake him.

Anyone who watched Syfy tonight saw Josh contain his own guilt as he attempts to convince Nora to survive this.  Two things in George’s defense:  First, Josh’s circumstances allow his mind to be more stable; he never killed, is not being constantly attacked by vampires, and has not given more ground in his head to the wolf.  Second, Nina is far stronger than Nora…heck, Nina is a lot stronger than George.  That’s why they complement each other so well.

I’ve decided the best thing to do is to stop expecting Nora to behave like Nina and accept her as a completely different character.  That’s why now I kind of like her.  I suppose she doesn’t need to turn any of that blame Aidan’s way as Nina did with Mitchell.  Mitchell is the one who encouraged George to date Nina, going so far as to invite her over for their first date.

Nina:  You loaded a gun and you fired it into a crowd.

My feelings for Sally are, per usual, slightly more mixed.  It’s good to see that she had some bonding moments with both roommates that didn’t involve whining and I was thrilled to see that she called for Aidan for help after her nightmare.  In the BBC version, Mitchell and Annie had already had some “moments” in season one that never happened for Sally and Aidan, so I was wondering if they were going to scrap the connection between them.  Maybe not!  🙂

Another Syfy plus is Sally’s ability to enter the bodies of humans.  I thought Meaghan Rath did a great job portraying something anyone could imagine:  the ultimate high, for a ghost to really be human again.  In the BBC second season, Annie is also testing her powers but the best she can do is touch the human and feel what that person experiences.  One finds out in Season 3 why that’s just not as good…

At this point, I can’t tell if Aidan’s storyline will resemble Mitchell’s second season at all.  True, the young woman that Aidan met at the hospital could be the human who was Mitchell’s love interest for a time, but she didn’t get the job and this episode ends with them leaving the bar together.  If he is hunting her, then she’s not the love interest.  That woman sticks around.

BBC has no Mother, nor Mother’s Daughter, Suren, but perhaps Suren is supposed to replace gorgeous, psychotic vampiress Daisy?  If so, Suren should step up her game because in comparison she’s completely dull.  I’m just not thrilled with all the cliche vampire posturing from her character.  Daisy was all about having fun:

“A lot of vampires, it’s all about the blood and the world domination. Me and Ivan… we’re just about the tourism.”

Daisy’s story was completely different from Suren’s, but she was the most important female vampire of Season 2.  She influenced Mitchell and even George, to some extent. But this wouldn’t be the first time I thought they were replacing a main character from the BBC’s version, only to see that character show up later in the season.  Syfy has more episodes, so they’ve got plenty of time.

Syfy’s Lost Girl: UF Fans Should Take a Look

This is a no-brainer.  The whole reason I watched Lost Girl, besides the fact that it conveniently aired after Being Human, is because it looked so much like some Urban Fantasy series brought to life.  A chick in leather with magic powers and quick wit who kills a bad guy within the first ten minutes?  I even Googled it to make sure it wasn’t based on something I’ve read or could read.

Main character Bo (played by Anna Silk) is the primary draw for me.  She embodies the quintessential UF heroine with her tough girl leather outfits and contrasting lighthearted humor.  Yet she is humanized by an obvious sense of loneliness and a longing to belong (which tells me to look forward to some ultra-fun angst).  Also magnetic is her elfin-looking but fully human side-kick, Kenzi (actress Ksenia Solo), who is rescued by Bo in the beginning but manages to rescue Bo right back by the end of the premiere.  You just know she’ll be kicking ass at some point.

A possible problem for UF fans is the way this show warps mythology for the sake of its world-building.  My first problem was the Morrigan (played by Emmanuelle Vaugier), whom you might identify correctly as an Irish goddess of battle, yet here she wears heels with shiny jewelry and a ton of makeup.  She is no one’s idea of a warrior queen.  She looks like one of those Real Housewives—the Real Housewives of Unseelie Court.

Of course they don’t use that word, they just say dark court, and it’s versus the light court, not Seelie.  Recognizable wins over accurate, especially in TV.

The succubus mythology has also been seriously messed with.  Bo may remind you of  Richelle Mead’s UF heroine, Georgina Kincaid, but they’ve stuffed her in with fae mythology and left out anything about demons or hell or immortality.  Instead, she’s a changeling, a fae baby given to humans to raise, or at least that’s the way that I’ve interpreted her story.

I’ll give Lost Girl a chance, because it still reminds me too much of the typical UF universe.  It’s up to the writers and actors to provide suspension of disbelief, despite a mythological background that’s out of whack.  But we know it can be done.  After all, Being Human just proved it the hour before.

SyFy’s Being Human Season 2: Off the BBC Track (SPOILERS BBC & Syfy)

Here we are again:  another series and another chance to play Syfy versus BBC.  At the end of season 1, I speculated that there were enough differences between the two that perhaps Syfy would be branching off in its own unique direction.  One episode in and it definitely still looks that way.  Just to be clear, I intend to spoil the ending of both BBC and Syfy’s first seasons, and the BBC second season.  If you didn’t see either of those endings, don’t go forward—you’re supposed to be surprised.  🙂

Let’s start with the end of last season, which is important in order to understand some big differences that exist before the second season even begins.  If you don’t recall and you missed the replay tonight, let me remind you that Sally tries to torture Josh via bitching and moaning so that he’ll use his wolf to kill Bishop for Aidan, since all three friends are veritably certain that Aidan will lose the fight.  Josh reluctantly agrees, but then Sally and Aidan turn the tables on him in order to protect him from having to kill.

That was a huge surprise for BBC fans, which was great because I thought I could only be surprised the first time around.  In ours, George pretends he intends to run away with Nina, when in fact he tricks Herrick into being locked in with his wolf.  He changes and tears Herrick to shreds.   The American version does offer a more satisfying fight, as the BBC focuses on a battle of words and the fight itself is a few blurry moments of audible savagery.  Yet this is George’s attempt to accept his wolf in order to save his best friend.  That’s why George and Josh begin their respective second series in completely different places.

This might be a good thing, since in the BBC version, George spends much of this season being kind of a dick and poor newly-turned Nina deals with most of her problems alone.  Will this happen for Josh?  Hard to say, but so far there are few similarities.

Both Nina and Nora keep having been scratched a secret until the first change.  However, Nina can see Annie, so she asks for help and swears her to secrecy.  I had hoped that Sally and Nora would have a similar bonding experience, which in my mind could have been done without allowing Nora to see her yet, but Sally continues to be solely immersed in her own ghostly realm.  While it seems likely that Josh will find out about Nora, depending on how he manages to escape being shot by the vampire, Nina continues to keep her secret until the truth comes out in an argument.  She has distanced herself sexually from George, which he interprets as her rejecting his wolf.  (This may still happen with Nora and Josh, since the series starts with her gently refusing him.)  Nina begs George for patience and support but he is overwhelmed with self-loathing and the new level of anger and violence that are the result of his having embraced his wolf in order to kill Herrick.  He is also on edge because vampires are constantly attacking him in retaliation for Herrick’s death.  This is obviously not part of Josh’s reality at this point, which may change the direction of the series.

BBC’s Being Human Season 1 ends with an introduction to the villain of the following series, and it has nothing to do with any vampire “Mother”.    I’ve said before that the Old Ones were only introduced on BBC in Season 3, and the finale suggested that there would be a conflict with them next season.  The villain for Season 2 is an old man who has apparently been searching for the trio, and found them with the help of mental patient and fiance-murderer, Owen.  We find out in Season 2 that he’s a religious man who views all non-humans as abominations.

The environment between the roommates is fertile for a villain to exploit.  Mitchell is overwhelmed with being the new vampire king; George attempts to separate himself further from his wolf and causes more problems with his denial; and Annie is threatened by the world beyond the door that she turned down and also begins to think about the implications of immortality as an unchanging ghost.  Given Sally’s nightmare about a reaper coming after her and Aidan’s problematic attempt to keep the vampires clean, some BBC plot lines will clearly prevail.  The future of Josh and Nora is much more unclear.  I do hope Nora will go through the same anger and angst and love that Nina went through as she struggled to accept her new role.

One thing is clear, Syfy has an advantage because they’re two seasons behind.  This gives them a chance to avoid the pitfalls that poor Toby Whithouse’s show has run into because three of the four main characters are leaving before the story is told.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, those are  more spoilers than I really want to put here—Google at your own risk.