The US SyFy channel have remade the BBC series Being Human. When that was announced, a lot of people made snotty remarks and asked “WHY?”, and I was one of them. But SyFy channel begged people to have an open mind, an arguement which its hard to object to. So I dutifully bit my tongue and waited until I’d seen the it before I said “well that was a waste of effort”.
This isn’t a re-imaginings, SyFy have done a straight-up remake from the plot down to the costuming while the original show is still making new episodes and airing them on a widely available channel (BBC America). Isn’t that basically just saying that your country’s audience is too insular to get past strange accents?
I didn’t enjoy watching the double-episode pilot, but I was struggled to work out why. The humour seemed a bit too reliant on embarassingly stupid choices by characters and the plot and dialogy a bit heavy handed, but nothing terminally wrong.
As I haven’t actually seen the UK series for a couple of years (I really liked the first series, but for various reasons haven’t watched any more) I decided that I’d go back and watch the pilot of the BBC series so that I could make some nice sweeping statements for this post about how the US series missed the magic of the UK one. But re-watching left with with exactly the same sensation as the US one and I have only just worked out why – I know what’s going to happen. I know how the relationships will develop, I know why the Ghost is still around, I know what the Vampire organisation is doing, I know what issues the Werewolf will wrestle with… I know all of it and am just bored.
Some television series can be watched over and over again, either because you find new little elements and perspectives that weren’t obvious the first viewing, or just because it’s so entertaining you don’t mind taking the journey again. It would appear that Being Human is not one of those series. That’s absolutely fine for the UK series, or even for people who are encountering the US version fresh. But if you’ve seen one, there’s no need at all to see the other.