Greetings, vamps, wolves, and ghosties. I’ll be your Being Human TV Club representative for the rest of the season, so I’m legally obligated to tell you right off the bat that I have almost no prior knowledge of the original British version of this show. I’ve seen one episode (the first), and I didn’t see that one until after I’d watched the premiere of the SyFy series last week. Furthermore, I’ve made an executive decision not to delve any deeper into the U.K. series, at least until this season is over. I figure it’s my job to judge the American edition on its own merits, especially since there must be dozens of places around the Intertubes offering up beat-by-beat comparisons between the two. We all know how that usually goes: The British version rules; the U.S. version can go die in a fire.
And yet… since I did watch that first episode of the original Being Human, I can’t help but notice that nearly every moment of “There Goes The Neighborhood, Part 2” is a direct lift from its British predecessor, from the opening, Sally-narrated montage, revealing the secret origins of our supernatural trio, to the climactic evisceration of an innocent, which might actually have been shocking had I not just seen it happen. Following that montage, the episode picks up where we left off in "Part 1," with Josh fixing to go all fur-and-fangs in front of his sister Emily. This cliffhanger was the major deviation between the U.K. and U.S. models (although for all I know, the same thing happens later in the British series), but its resolution was utterly anticlimactic, as Aidan, after finishing up a late-night snack, notices a voicemail from Josh and rushes to Emily's rescue. (Dracula never had these problems. The wireless service in Transylvania was terrible.)
Slavish devotion to the source material continues, as Sally learns that landlord—and her fiancé up until the moment of her untimely demise—Danny is on his way to do some routine maintenance on the apartment. The boys make Sally promise to stay hidden at the top of the stairs during Danny's visit (which made more sense in the original, as it was established that other people could see her), but as she learns later when Danny returns to make a poor attempt at plumbing, she's invisible to her ex. Meanwhile, Aiden brushes off a flirty new orderly, hoping to spare her from the fate of his last one-night stand, Rebecca. His good intentions are for naught, however, as he learns Rebecca was turned vamp shortly after their roll in the hay, courtesy of Mark Pellegrino's Jacob… er, Bishop, and she's thirsty for her first kill.
It’s not just the plotlines that have been Xeroxed from the original; chunks of dialogue have been lifted intact, as when Aidan tells Danny, “I think every house has an echo of the people who have lived there before.” It’s not that there’s nothing new here at all— I did like Danny’s description of Sally as the kind of person who turned off Marley and Me as soon as the dog had trouble going up the stairs—but it’s hard to see why “There Goes The Neighborhood” needed the two-part treatment, unless it was a contractual obligation to shoehorn as many emo ballads onto the soundtrack as possible.
All of this only cements my decision to avoid the rest of the British series for now, since I don't want this to turn into a weekly game of "What's wrong with this picture?" As it is, I find the premise engaging and the characters likable enough (if a bit lightweight so far) that I'm keen to see where this is all going without constantly consulting the road map.
- Just because I'm not going to keep track of all the differences between the U.K. and U.S. brands doesn't mean y'all can't keep a running tally in the comments. Knock yourselves out!
- By the way, did anyone else wonder why Rebecca had so few questions about the vampire life—for instance, why she was able to go about in the daylight hours? I understand that Dracula had a day pass in the original Bram Stoker novel, but the whole "daylight turns vamps to dust" rule has been an established part of the pop culture for nearly a century now. Personally, I'd be a little wary of hitting the beach to work on my tan.
- Mark Pellegrino certainly seems to be the go-to guy for supernatural bossmen on the teevee these days, doesn’t he? He's definitely the standout performer on this series so far, even if playing a force of pure malevolence isn't exactly a stretch for him.