Review: Being Human Season One DVD Box Set

I was interested in writing up season two of the American version of Being Human for two reasons.

One, because there was only one season preceding it and because I had seen it around, and by that I mean that a couple of my friends had tweeted about it. I watched the first couple of episodes and I thought, I could get into this. Three days later I had finished the season. There was a point when I was watching an episode at about 10 o’clock at night. Everyone had gone to sleep and I didn’t have work the next day and I said to myself, one more episode. Then at 11 o’clock, rationalizing how functional I needed to be the next day, I said, one more. You know how this plays out. It ends in greasy hair, coffee within coffee and sunglasses. And sadness. The kind of epic sadness that comes from powering through an amazing set of stories, only to be told that once much needed sleep is achieved, I would have to wait until season two aired. And then I would have to watch it one episode a week like a mere mortal. GAH. The devastation.

What better to do during my downtime than to sink my teeth into the DVD box set?

Here’s what Being Human has to say about Being Human:

From the creative team behind “Pillars of the Earth” “The Mentalist” and “Heroes”, BEING HUMAN is Syfy’s re-imagining of the acclaimed UK series created by Toby Whithouse and starring Sam Witwer (Smallville, Battlestar Galactica), Meaghan Rath (The Assistants), Sam Huntington (Cavemen, Superman Returns) and Mark Pellegrino (Lost, Supernatural).

BEING HUMAN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON series follows three paranormal, 20-something roommates living in Boston – vampire “Aidan” (Witwer), werewolf “Josh” (Huntington) and ghost “Sally” (Rath) – as they struggle to hide their dark secrets from the world, while helping each other navigate the complexities of living double lives and trying to be human. Mark Pellegrino plays Aidan’s charismatic but menacing vampire mentor “Bishop”. In its first season, the show has averaged 1.8 million viewers, making it the network’s most successful winter scripted series launch in six years.

What Being Human doesn’t say about Being Human is that the struggle with the humanity of each of these characters is so beautifully written and extremely well acted by the cast. Their lives have changed in the most dramatic ways possible, and underneath their changes they are more like themselves than ever. In fact, their struggles bring out their humanity even more now than it did in their lives before. They see themselves as monsters, but truly their struggles are things we all deal with. There could be something inside us, something we might think is dark, something we might feel is viciously ugly, that we don’t want anyone else to see. Or we may have a part of our past, a part of our history that we are trying to rise above, or to try and break free from that keeps wedging its way back into our lives. Maybe even we feel alone in a room full of people. Maybe as loud as the feelings are inside, no one notices.

The stories are beautiful, engaging and valid, but Being Human really shines when one character starts to experience some major conflict with their personal struggle but is forced to table it briefly for a moment or two of roommate drama. It’s the stuff of friendships, and the way they support one another both in their local and epic struggles is perfection.

What the DVD box set has to offer (outside of the amazing episodes I just magically convinced you to watch back to back with pizza delivery being your only break)

BONUS FEATURES

• “Making-of” Featurette

• Cast/Crew Interviews

• Comic Con 2011 Panel

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Type: BD/DVD

Catalog #: (BD) EOE-BD-7063/(DVD) EOE-DV-6959

Running Time: 572 mins. + extras

Genre: TV

Aspect Ratio: (BD) 1080p High Definition 1.78:1/(DVD) 16 x 9 (1.78:1)

Audio: (BD) DTS-HD Master Audio/(DVD) 5.1 Surround Sound

Subtitles: English SDH

Making of Featurette (Length 47:57)

In case you didn’t know, this show is based on a version in the UK that is about to start its fourth season. They discuss the challenges of that. They’ve done it really well. There are several of the same plot points that parallel, but the stories behind them and their outcomes play out differently. The cast of the US version was actually instructed not to watch the UK series so that their interpretations could be fresh.  Witwer, Huntington and Rath go on to talk pretty extensively about their characters, their impressions of each other and motivations.

After that, there is a section dedicated to my favorite subject in reviewing, Rules. There is a great deal of mythology in place regarding ghosts, werewolves and vampires. This show explains which rules from these past mythologies it’s taking. Then it goes into each one, vampire, ghost and werewolf and what goes into each of those elements. This includes what goes into our main characters and what goes into those that are like them, including mannerisms, make-up, green-screen usage and CGI.

Finally they go into detail about how they use camera angles and techniques to include us, the audience, into the show as a part of the friendship and using different angles and techniques to give us the sense of being excluded as well. Also they go into what it means to each of them to be a part of the sci-fi genre.

There’s also a short featurette titled “What would you choose?’ where each of the characters tell us what they like best about being a ghost, vampire or werewolf, and how their monsters and stories differ from the UK version.

Interviews with Sam Witwer, Meghan Rath and Sam Huntington (Legnth 5:52)

These are on the spot, red carpet style interviews with the cast. They’re a little more “real” than the interviews that are in the making of featurette. They interact with each other in the interviews and joke around. It’s cute. They all have great chemistry.

Being Human Panel at San Diego Comic Con 2010 (Legnth 39:56)

Writers Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke join the cast and are all together answering questions about the end of season one and what season two has to offer. They are all clearly good friends and beware, Rath gets a little carried away and drops an f-bomb, but it really comes through how great their chemistry is. By the time they have all showed up at ComicCon they admit to having watched the UK version and have become huge fans. They explain how the show will be taking a completely unique route coming into season two. It’s fun to listen to them talk about each other and it’s fun to listen to them talk about what their cosplay choice would have been if they had dressed up for ComicCon. The audience questions are great and inventive and always my favorite part.

This show in all its parts is a complete gem. I admit that my addiction to the show was too much for me to bear. In the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas I devoured all three seasons of the UK version. I was worried that I would be spoiling myself for the second season of the US version, but that’s the best part. They’re just different enough that you can enjoy both. Like I said, A GEM, PEOPLE.

Now that I’m done with the DVD box set, and all three seasons of the UK version, I’m probably going to have to bury myself into the ground to keep me from attacking unsuspecting civilians in my anticipation for both shows to start their new seasons. I won’t have to wait long though. Being Human US starts back for its second season on Monday, January 16th at 9/8c on Syfy and Being Human UK will start its fourth season later in the year.

The box set hit the street back in November, so you should have no problem picking up your Blu-ray ($49.98) or DVD ($44.98) from your local or online video retailer.

Advertisements

Posted on January 6, 2012, in TV. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: