Monday, 11 March 2013

Being Human ends with everyone, well, being human

Well if I was going to have to pick a day to be ill with the lurgy, I could have done worse than the day on which the finale of 'Being Human' and the second part of the 'Top Gear' Africa special came out on iPlayer.

The former crept up on me somewhat. It was only after watching the fifth episode of the current species that I discovered that the BBC were not planning on making any more. As it turned out 'The Last Broadcast' was a competent sending off for an innovative series but an episode that never entirely reached greatness or memorability.

(spoilers ahead)

Firstly, as a Bristolian born and raised, I am glad with how the location change worked out. Bristol got the halcyon days of Mitchell, Annie and George while Barry got messily exterminated during the threatened Apocalypse. Now I'm not saying that the two things are linked but maybe other television producers should consider the example before abandoning the South West. 

On a more serious note, I thought that the finale was, perhaps necessarily, a bit exposition heavy. So far the current series had had to mainly focus on fleshing out the new trio of main protagonists. This meant that the  overarching story had only been patchily developed and the Devil only had his hour to shine in the last episode. 

... and shine he did. He has been a singularly unpleasant enemy from the start and his brand of suicide inducing, head-screwery made a nice change from the more institutional and physical threats that previous series have dealt with. The scenes of chaos throughout the city emphasised what he could do unchained but there was no last minute transformation into a skyscraper rivalling hell demon and he remained a more psychological threat to the cast.

It was pleasant to see a relatively happy ending to the series. I've noted in the past its tendency to become a bit Titus Andronicus like at times as well-liked characters were swiftly axed for dramatic effect and casting reasons. It made a refreshing change from the status-quo worshipping normality of most television series but people do like the odd untarnished victory for the good guys.

It was strongly hinted that the elimination of the Devil led to the 'normalisation' of all Vampires, Ghosts and Werewolves. This seems a neat but unsatisfying ending to the series' examination of the experience of living while being different. If the supernatural types have at times seemed analogous to junkies, misfits and even AIDs sufferers then this extremely artificial removal of the problem gives no clues as to what the directors really think can resolve problems of inclusion and belonging. The actual mental and social issues that lead to alienation are unlikely to be brought to an end by such a quick fix and it would have been nice to have had a less explicitly 'magic' wrapping up of these themes.

All in all though, a pretty good finish to a series that has tried some new things and kept my attention throughout.  

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