The Problem with Vampire Shows and how Being Human (UK) got it right
I, like many others have been a long-time fan of the vampiregenre. For many years as a child and a teenager I appreciated shows like Buffy
and the Vampire Diaries. I applauded them for their portrayal of vampires and
how they interpreted the genre.
It was after watching the BBC’s Being Human that an epiphany
of sorts overcame me. I suddenly looked at the vampire genre in a very different
light. I could not help but notice what was suddenly wrong with the portrayal
of Vampires and the other characters who inhabit these worlds. I suddenly realized that Being Human is the best of them all.
Being Human is a show about a Vampire, a Werewolf and Ghost
who share a house. Admittedly it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. It is
however a fascinating concept that has never been explored before. (Warning-there
Aidan Turner plays Mitchell. Mitchell is a Vampire who is
just over 100 years old. The characterization of Mitchell is a breath of fresh
air for the Vampire Genre. Many would probably expect Mitchell to be wise,
mature, brooding and mysterious (aka Stefan Salvatore, Edward Cullen, Angel,Bill Compton ect). Although Mitchell can be brooding and mysterious at times, he is mostly an every-man character who works at a hospital and gets seriously annoyed when his favorite television show is re-scheduled.
Russel Tovey plays George. George is a Werewolf and Mitchel’s best friend. Once again George is a character who defies the Werewolf cliche. George is sweet, innocent, sassy and hilarious. He adores Mitchell and Mitchell adores him back. No Vampire Vs Werewolf hatred here.
And then there is Lenora Crichlow who plays Annie. Annie is a ghost. Mitchell and George stumble upon her when they move into the house that she died in. Annie is an adorable character who strives to live even after death.
The thing that makes this show unique is the emphasis it places on friendship and human connection. Each character on this show is not motivated by greed or the greater good. They do not desire much from life. All they desire is the mundane aspects of being human. Whether it’s having a house party or getting a job, these characters desire the everyday human things. Hence, only after being stripped of their humanity are they able to appreciate what normal people would consider boring.
This is where the genius of the show lies. Because the value on living like a human is placed so highly in these characters lives, life itself is not treated with disrespect. I would say that the Vampire Diaries is the worst offender when it comes to having random background characters killed and it not being a big deal.
On Being Human there are no fancy tricks. Mitchell does not have an off switch. He must choose not to give in to his addiction and when he fails at this task the show does not take the situation lightly. It is openly acknowledged that even his friends who love him have no right to forgive him because it is not their place.
I’m not going to lie, the ending of their story is very bittersweet.
Ultimately this show is about three characters who would have been a lot worse off had they not found each other. Their strive to be good and decent is wholly motivated by their love for one another. This is a show about human connection and finding happiness in the everyday things we take for granted.
If each man or woman could understand that every other human life is as full of sorrows, or joys, or base temptations, of heartaches and of remorse as his own … how much kinder, how much gentler he would be.
“You what?!” your father bellowed, clutching at his dark locks and staring at you.
Biting down on your lip, you averted your gaze and reiterated, “I fed off someone, OK? He-he provoked me and I just…father, sometimes it’s hard.”
He sighed and sat down on the sofa next to you, taking your hands and offering a taut smile. “I know, love,” he mumbled, “I know. But remember, we’re in this together, you can come to talk to me or tell me if something like this happens. You don’t have to hide it from me. Me and you. ‘Til the end. Understand?”
Returning his smile with a weak one of your own, you nodded, “Yeah. Me and you. ‘Til the end.”