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So anyway,
Because what the Net really needs is another person sharing his uninformed views
"Feel the Burn! Who's ya daddy! Say what you see!" 
23rd-Jan-2011 10:04 pm
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 and Torchwood, 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
23rd-Jan-2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
Couldn't agree more with your review. I thought the performances were excellent, especially Russell. I think I'd forgotten how fond I was of his wee face, and how much he could make me feel just with one look. Lacey Turner was an excellent guest star, she was just the right side of menacing. And where I normally am not a fan of Nina, I really enjoyed her character in this episode, and the George/Nina relationship worked for me much better than it did before.

The only thing I wasn't sure about was the very sudden propulsion of the Annie/Mitchell thing, which I'm all for, but it felt a little bit forced? But I trust them to make it work.
24th-Jan-2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
I think the Annie/Mitchell thing was so barely on the radar in the first two series that they really were only going to do something about it with outside prompting. And given where that prompting came from then the two of them pairing up is surely on TMWSAR's agenda, which would explain them letting her go in the first place. I really liked how Colin Teague shot that Lia/Annie scene, where you always felt there was something going on with Lia in her scenes with Mitchell, it was always pretty obvious who she was so she had a valid complaint against him. Whereas in the waiting room you just felt like everything she said was a trap.
24th-Jan-2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
Yes that's a good point; it is all a little bit... well-prompted, and perhaps there's a reason for that. But then again I thought Nina and George was massively rushed too, so I worry that it could just be that striking again.
24th-Jan-2011 01:20 am (UTC)
Annie must be part of the big plan, given how many different doors they tried to drag Annie through last year I don't buy the whole wrong door thing. Not to mention Lia pretty much pushing Annie on Mitchell.

I didn't hate the guest stars this week, the two werewolves are interesting, I'm very happy the vampire guy is dead though, he was just annoying.
24th-Jan-2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
No, the wrong door excuse doesn't wash for a second. By TMWSAR's standards Annie was ready to cross over at the end of Series 1 when her door showed up and her whole storyline last year was dominated by them trying to get her back. Unless of course it was all an elaborate plan to get Mitchell into purgatory and kick off whatever happens next. I would certainly hope Annie will start to question why she's really been sent home once the euphoria wears off.
25th-Jan-2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed her performance, although the meaning of H12, and therefore her identity, was pretty obvious.

I (still) don't know what H12 meant, was it the number of the train or something?
26th-Jan-2011 12:28 am (UTC)
Her seat number - Carriage H, Seat 12. If you watch it again, just before she's revealed covered in blood Mitchell spots an "H" on the wall of the carriage, and we see the 12 on the side of the seat.
26th-Jan-2011 12:44 am (UTC)
Ah, thank you!

Yes, I'll definitely have to watch it again for all the details I missed the first time around. That is no hardship though. :)
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