Vampire TV shows have been very en vogue in the last few years, with US programmes like True Blood
, The Vampire Diaries
and Blood Ties
doing the rounds. But Being Human
was different. It was low-key and gritty; it didn't have the flashy special effects or multi-million dollar budgets of these American shows. It was primarily a character drama about extraordinary people trying to live ordinary lives. And it was brilliant.
Series 2 picks up just a matter of weeks after the close of the first series. George and Nina are still together after the dramatic events at the end of the first series, although their relationship is becoming increasingly strained and George is acting more and more aggressively and wolf-like (remember Tully?). Nina is trying to remain distant to him while she gets her head around what has happened, and keep secret from George that mid-transformation he scratched her too.
Things are askew for the vampire factions in Bristol, now disparate and lawless without their leader Herrick. Mitchell realises that they need a strong leader and structure else they will run amok and destroy all order and the uneasy truce with the authorities, all the while trying to curb his bloodlust and convince others to do the same. A potential love interest is introduced in Lucy, a lonely doctor who Mitchell befriends and grows increasingly close to over the series. Meanwhile, an 'Old One' named Ivan and his insatiable wife Daisy come to town, to revel in the chaos and see how events pan out in the wake of Herrick's death - but are they allies or enemies to the increasingly burdened Mitchell?
As ever, Annie is the ray of light in the series, and Lenora Critchlow plays her part to wonderful effect, with a beautiful mixture of joy and sadness. Having refused her invitation to 'cross over', Annie is now hunted by Death and its agents, and must learn to combat this lest she be gone forever. Along the way she meets other ghosts and some psychics, and begins to question whether she really wants an indefinite life without really living.
A major plot arc this series concerns a mysterious and fanatical institute headed by a former reverend named Kemp and his colleague, Professor Jaggat. They seek to destroy vampires and cure werewolves by any means necessary and don't care who gets in the way, and it's not long before they set their sights on our trio who are caught unawares and unsure how to deal with what may or may not be a threat to them.
Overall, it's an excellent return for the programme, if perhaps not quite as tight as the first series. In particular, it felt like too many plot lines or characters are dropped before being fully explored (such as Hugh, or George's 'Tourettes'), and the last episode was a little anticlimactic and low-key considering the build-up. It's a lot darker and busier than the first series, and by the end everything has changed and we're looking at a very different format for a highly anticipated series 3. It's excellently directed with a great soundtrack and very stylish all around, showing that programmes don't need a monster budget or CGI to remain compelling viewing. If Being Human continues to ride this wave, it will easily be one of the best British TV shows ever. Essential viewing.