Well then, all change chez Being Human
as we start Series 3: They've moved to Wales
because that's where the money's coming from
, the supernatural trio is now officially a quartet (Sinéad Keenan's name no longer comes after the "gap" in the end credits and she appeared in the - sadly godawful - promo images this year) and, following a question put to Toby Whithouse in a Q&A last year which must have set him off on a train of thought, episodes are now titled. I do prefer episodes to have titles, I must say, especially when you're looking back at a later point. It's hard to go "oh of course, episode 2.3, who could forget what happened in that one!" I was wondering if we'd get a new pre-credits teaser theme, following Series 1's voiceovers and Series 2's flashbacks, but as we went straight from "previously" to the title card this week, I guess I'll have to just wait and see. So, first impressions of "Lia" by Toby Whithouse, directed by Colin Teague:
- Opening with Mitchell, George and Nina viewing their new house, a tatty former B&B, the bored and unprofessional estate agent was a nice nod to the pilot. We've heard a lot in the advance publicity about how huge the Honolulu Heights set is; that'll certainly give them some scope to make their standing set continue to look interesting. First impressions of the new home are positive, although it's still a shame the pink house is gone; it had been there since the start, I really felt like I knew my way around it.
- Very funny opening scene as well, I especially liked everyone instantly dismissing the story about the B&B being haunted. Overall the humour was definitely back to Series 1 levels I thought, though as has always been the pattern with Being Human
it was concentrated more in the first half-hour.
- Straight after the reintroduction of the regulars was what felt, funnily enough, like the biggest change to the show, in that we had Robson Green and Paul Kaye show up in quick succession. It's not like Being Human
hasn't always cast familiar faces in supporting roles but (regardless of what I
think of either of them) they're bigger names than we usually see on here. Green in particular has a massive mainstream fanbase rather than "cult" pedigree. It's the first time I've felt like, if this was a US show, there'd have been a "Special Guest Star" credit.
- Although like many people I was wary of Robson Green, you've got to admit that physically he's genius casting as a werewolf, and though we didn't see much of him tonight what we did see was fine. I was more worried about the very arch Kaye. Fortunately the role of a manic compere was suited to his overacting, and this turned out to be his only episode anyway. His first appearance when abducting McNair was the only bit I found a bit cringey.
- Wow, Michael Socha (Tom) looks like his sister! (Lauren Socha, aka Kelly from Misfits
.) I kinda would though. He got his shirt off this week, presumably he'll get more off in future. And who knows, maybe the writers won't introduce a religious element that prevents a full-frontal, like it does with Tovey. What? You have to think of these things.
- I loved that Tom was doing chicken-on-a-string just like George. It was a nice link to Tully and a start to what we're promised will be a theme this year, of seeing some of the werewolf subculture we haven't seen so far. This really felt like it kicked in at the end, with the McNairs killing Vincent with a specially-carved, wolfy stake. Vampires and werewolves have always had an enmity in the BH
universe but it's always been one-sided, so it's nice to see the werewolves fighting back.
- Werewolf Fight Club worked (and fits in perfectly with the way vampires have treated werewolves in the past) but it's a tricky one to get too excited about because similar stories have been done before in Angel
, the latter a series Toby Whithouse has written for in the past. I did like the dark humour of Vincent ripping up his betting slip when the victim didn't last two minutes.
- Speaking of Torchwood
, Kai Owen! As a dogger! And nearly getting killed by George. That triple transformation scene was the tensest of the episode, I like how the series continues to find new ways of making this regular sequence look fresh.
- On to Mitchell's journey, which again started with some dark humour as George and Mitchell failed to be quite as respectful towards a dying man as they'd planned to be. I don't watch Eastenders
but I know Lacey Turner was considered to be another big guest name. I enjoyed her performance, although the meaning of H12, and therefore her identity, was pretty obvious. I liked her aggressively flirtatious manner which suggested it was going to turn nasty (as of course it did, in a way.) And the resolution of Mitchell's journey with her confronting his trait of doing good as if it cancels out the bad was spot-on, and chillingly done.
- I find myself having little to say about the regular characters, in a good way - both in the writing and the acting they were exactly the characters we've loved from the previous two series, everything about what they said and did felt natural.
- At the end of Series 2, Whithouse teased that where the first threat was supernatural and the second human, the third year's danger came "from within." The BH
publicity machine hasn't mentioned this much lately and from "Lia" this could still mean pretty much anything. The new theme that did
crop up at the end was one of fate. Mitchell's time and manner of death is predetermined. Or is this just another mindfuck from The Men With Sticks And Rope, especially as his killer is allegedly going to be a werewolf? TMWSAR also seem to have let Annie go pretty easily, given how keen they were to get her back last year. Is she part of the plan?
- Overall as series premieres go this was a strong one - better than last year's, it makes me optimistic about the new series and next week's episode looks interesting as well (even if it looks like another Mitchell-centric one - I don't mind them, so long as they don't outnumber the other characters' stories, like they seemed to last year.)
- And: Welcome back, Russell Tovey's arse, oh how we've missed you.
Episode 3.1, "Lia" - thoughts?
Fight Club: A knockout
Club Class: Better than average
Tesco Clubcard: OK but nothing to write home about
Club 18-30: Covered in sick
If you keep picking at it, it won't get better