being human

Rating: ★★★★☆

By the end of Being Human’s transitional fourth season the last of the remaining original cast members had departed for pastures new. There was certainly a divide within the fan community over the future of their once beloved supernatural show, budget cuts at the BBC lead to a six episode order for the new series which returned to BBC Three Sunday night.

Our new trinity of housemates are having a tough time getting on, vampire Hal (Damien Molony) is trying to remain blood free but being tied to a chair in a messy house threatens to send him over the edge. Werewolf Tom (Michael Socha) is taking those all important steps to adulthood and new ghost on the scene Alex (Kate Bracken) is on the hunt to locate her body to pass over as quickly as possible.

Despite his best intentions, Hal quickly finds himself off the wagon when he plays a role in an accident that causes the death of timid office drone Cram (Colin Hoult). Not wanting another death on his already brooding conscience, Hal makes the questionable decision to turn Cram into a vampire and keep him locked up in the basement. However when Cram (who prefers to be called Crumb) escapes, he takes revenge against his boss’s nephew; the office golden boy, and embraces his new found bloodlust.

The closing moments of series four introduced a shadowy organisation not dissimilar from the Initiative featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lead by Dominic Rook (Steven Robertson) the army of grey suited agents have been working tirelessly to keep the streets free from vampires and werewolves. Dealt an early blow, Rook is informed by the Home Secretary (an ingenious cameo from show runner Toby Whithouse) that he has three months to close the organisation down due to funding cutbacks.

Throughout the episode we’re drip-fed flashbacks to the nineteenth century where Hal was a part of another unlikely trinity. The commander of the werewolf army Lady Catherine (Victoria Ross) and Hal forge an alliance to stop the war between their kind, believing their feud is giving power to Old Nick himself, they dabble in dark magic with the assistance of necromancer Emil (Jeremy Swift).

The trio set about casting the devil out of the pits of hell and into human form but the spell goes disastrously wrong and brings with it the big bad of the season. At a first glance Captain Hatch (played with glee by Phil Davis) is just a yellow teethed broken down old man who spills vile obscenities from his rotten mouth, the closing moments of the episode reveal his true identity and difficult times lay ahead for Hal,Tom and Alex.

You certainly don’t get much bigger than having Satan as the main antagonist of the series, the scope is ambitious but the reduced episode count has brought back a sense of immediacy. There’s a lot going on in this debut episode which could have all to easily been a cluttered mess, thankfully Whithouse rediscovers the right balance between comedy and drama and serves up a confident opener that bodes well for the rest of the series.

Being Human continues on BBC Three Sunday at 10pm.

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This article was first posted on February 7, 2013