Review of Being Human ‘The Last Broadcast’
SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen Being Human ‘The Last Broadcast’
And so we come to the end of our Being Human journey, this week was the last ever episode of the show. There has been laughter and tears along the way, as well as a line of corpses littering the path, but what would the series be without a little death?
The aptly named The Last Broadcast concluded the story arc to this series, involving the devil and his return to power by creating chaos amongst the werewolf and vampire communities. My overwhelming sensation while watching this episode was surprise at how similar it felt to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Of course there are similarities between the two programmes – primarily they are both supernatural fantasies featuring vampires and werewolves, coupled with elements of dark humour and drama.
However, there was a real energy to this episode that evoked memories of those heady Thursday evenings in the Nineties and early Noughties, watching Joss Whedon’s masterpiece on BBC 2. For instance, there was the moment where Alex burst out of her own grave and stuck her hand out of the turf, then there was Hal’s musical number right at the start, and of course the lengthy fight between Tom and Hal in the pub to an adrenaline-pumping track.
These little moments were great and made The Last Broadcast really enjoyable to watch but I did wonder why the writers did not feature more of the same earlier on. This week the show felt fast, loose and free. There was the distinct impression that creator Toby Whithouse knew he had nothing left to lose, so why not go out on a bang rather than a whimper? Not to mention a song, a dance and a bit of panache via Hal’s song.
The choice between two different realities in The Last Broadcast was another reason why this episode reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There was an episode in season 6 of Buffy called Normal Again where Buffy was presented with two realities, one in which she was the slayer and another where she was a normal girl simply suffering from hallucinations. It was up to her to choose which version she wanted and created ambiguity as to what was real and what was not. Much in the same way, the ending of Being Human cast doubt on whether the trinity had truly defeated the devil and broken their curses, or whether they were living in a dream world created by him.
I like to think that the trio defeated the devil and went on to live happy mortal lives. But there is something too perfect about that world, the colours are too warm and everything is too good to be true. The last scene is one of domestic bliss and for me it was a nice ending, compared to all the death and destruction that audiences have been subjected in past series. But ultimately it is up to the viewer to decided.
Overall this series has felt incoherent and disjointed, I wasn’t completely convinced of Hal’s return to dark side and Tom’s vengeance – it just didn’t make sense. It really did feel like at the start of the series the writers had an idea for a stupendous story arc but half way through developing it they were told that the show was getting cancelled. Saying this, there have been some enjoyable bits, my favourite episode involved the little Victorian ghost who treated Tom like his horse. There were also the scenes involving RPG-playing, aspiring megalomaniac vampires Crumb and Alan that were hilarious.
In terms of the acting, Phil Davis was marvellous as Hatch while Steven Robertson gave a compelling turn as the neurotic civil servant Dominic Rook. Both Kate Bracken and Damian Molony have been good as Alex and Hal respectively, but out of the three leads I think Michael Socha has been the strongest. Socha gave a consistently brilliant performance as Tom. I’ve said it before but his character is the heart of this show and he carries on this notion of trying to be human despite his curse.
It was great that Hal mentioned Nina, George, Annie and Mitchell because it would have felt like there was something missing if the original cast was left to one side. Just like Misfits and Doctor Who, Being Human has been through major cast changes but I felt like these new characters were good and worked.
Perhaps I am in the minority but I really liked the new series of the show. I liked the old characters and in particular the series involving experimentation upon supernatural beings which was fascinating. However, there was a depressing fug that hung over the show, added to this was the shoddy, cheap-looking sets which really irked me. The writing was the key to the series but in this day and age, where television is becoming more cinematic, I despaired at the lack of investment in the aesthetics. For me, the fourth series really shone in terms of cinematography.
Since last year the series felt like it had moved more into Joss Whedon and Buffy the Vampire Slayer territory. With the departure of the cast, the series shifted both tonally and structurally, in fact I think it could have been the British Buffy for a new generation. However, there was too much love for the old series and die-hard fans, who could not suffer the loss of these wonderful characters. In my mind there was no reason why Being Human could not have been re-booted and re-launched in its new format but it wasn’t to be. I feel like there was so much potential here that was snuffed out far too soon, without giving the show a chance to evolve and grow.
For those who have a penchant for the supernatural there is a new series starting on BBC3 called In the Flesh. It is basically Being Human with zombies and is even slightly reminiscent of Warm Bodies, the latest romzomcom since Shaun of the Dead. The era of vampires and werewolves has ended and now it is the rise of the zombies (pun intended).Tagged in: Aidan Turner, Annie, being human, Damian Molony, george, In the Flesh, Kate Bracken, Lenora Crichlow, michael socha, Mitchell, Phil Davis, Russell Tovey, toby whithouse, vampire, werewolf
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