Being Human Season Two

Being Human Season Two
5
Given one word to describe Syfy's take on soapy ,British, supernatural roomies drama Being Human that word would be "adequate." Never explicitly bad, but never rising above the line of serviceable mediocrity either, the American version of the show, with a premise that sounds like the setup of a cheap joke — "so, a vampire, werewolf and ghost share an apartment" — is essentially an inferior, but harmless version of the more successful shows that preceded it. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer without the wit, insight, accomplished fight choreography and distinct verbal gymnastics, or True Blood without the self-aware camp and graphic titillation, then add a pinch of Degrassi-style "issue of the week" schmaltz and you're almost there. The first season struggled to find its footing, getting overly hung up on Sally the pretty ghost's abuse victim storyline, the woe-is-me bitching of Josh the handsome werewolf and Aidan the duck-lipped vampire's attempts to shun the blood-sucking lifestyle. While the storytelling and acting improve in season two, the show is still frustratingly hit-or-miss. Kristen Hauger's doctor/potential wolf child baby momma character, Nora, becomes more of an essential figure, providing a compelling plot line for Josh (Sam Huntington) to engage in while focusing his often aggravating survivor's guilt. Aidan's story is given a Whedon-indebted injection of paternal concern for one of his vampire children gone rogue (remember the Jeremy Renner episode of Angel?) and directly borrows Dichen Lachman of Dollhouse as a new love interest connected to the royal fanged family. Once again, poor Sally draws the short straw; she's saddled with an overly emotive story-arc that sees her deal with mommy issues and her dark side physically manifesting as a swarthy dude with murderous tendencies. Each episode takes on a specific facet of addiction and/or impulse control, with subtlety never on the menu — Josh suffers from internalized rage; Sally gets hooked on possession; and Aidan (Sam Witwer) has multiple blood-lust relapses. It's all quite watchable, but is far too self-serious for its own good. In the "Comic-Con Panel" included with the special features, it's clear that both Huntington and Witwer are game for some much-needed goofiness, hamming it up for the screaming fans while a nervous moderator asks co-showrunner Anna Fricke how she feels about taking on increased responsibilities in the wake of her husband's promotion to (the far superior) Supernatural. A lengthy "Making Of" contains a bit of candid on-set footage and a few comments about the season's "falling off the wagon" theme, but mostly just sticks to having the actors describe the basic journey each of their characters took over the course of the year. Last, and certainly least, "Problems" describes the trials and tribulations facing each of these blatant supernatural metaphors. Since problems are all these characters have, the comments simply reiterate sentiments already covered in the "Making of." Like the series, the home video collection of Being Human is full of superfluous padding. (eOne)