After having met the cast of the upcoming U.S. version of Being Human on Syfy, I had the opportunity to check of part of the original British series – specifically, the Blu-ray release of Being Human Season 2 (also on DVD, released September 21st). I have not seen season 1 yet other than bits and pieces, so I don’t have a full sense of the show, but I can see why there is a desire to bring this to the U.S. This will, however, be a brief review mostly of the Blu-ray release itself.
The story, in brief: Mitchell (a vampire), George (a werewolf), and Annie (a ghost), all in their 20s, living together while they try and live indepedently of their curses and integrate into society. With the beginning of season 2, Mitchell is now the local vampire leader (Herrick now being dead), George may have infected his girlfriend Nina, and Annie has taken solid form. However we learn of two strangers who know of the supernatural creatures, and seek out to eliminate all of them…
The series is very low budget (although bigger than season 1), and at times that can be seen but all in all they do a great job with what they are given. Season 2 improved in many areas, including the lycanthropic transformation sequence and the ultimate werewolf form.
Also, in the second series we learn a lot more about about the supernaturals, especially ghosts, and the “doors” they may pass through to the whatever lies beyond for a ghost – the afterlife, or the ultimate end to their existence, once whatever ties them to Earth is dealt with. We can see different colors of light beyond the door – perhaps representing different fates. And we learn there are “gatekeepers” – entities who seem to decided who should be moved on to the afterlife – and they have an eye on Annie…
The Blu-ray release features a full 1080i widescreen transfer, so the video is clear, albeit with a few motion artifacts. Alas, the audio is pretty basic 2.0 digital stereo.
There are special features found on discs 2 and 3. No commentaries, just featurettes:
“Blood Bursting” (8:51) – The making of the compression chamber scene from the beginning of the first episode.
“The Caves” (6:28) –Catacombs in Bristol used as a period shoot
“Unleashing The Beast” (7:02) – All about George’s experimental attempt to be normal
“The Swinging Sixties” (8:52) – How to bring back Herrick? Have a 60s flashback!
“Behind the Makeup” (7:16) – Just what it seems like – the makeup artists behind the characters, from hair to prosthetics
“Making the New Werewolf” (11:05) – Improving the werewolf transformation and the final werewolf.
“Train Carnage” (7:31) – Creating the scene where Mitchell and Daisy go crazy on a train.
I thought it was strange that Disc 1 only contained two episodes and no special features, but it turns out not to be true – they are just hidden as “easter eggs”. If you wait long enough, you are suddenly taken to a “CenSSA” (The Centre for the Study of Supernatural Activity), screen, with the only option is “Enter”. There, there are two more special features:
“The CenSSA Story” (24:37) – A sort of documentary of sorts, of the sort you’d expect from some “crackpot” UFOlogist you’d find on the Internet, with a bit of Ghost Hunters thrown in, with Lloyd, who creates CenSSA but also works for the strangers Jaggat and Kemp.
“Guided Tour Of The Facility” (4:17) – Handheld video with Lloyd (of CenSSA) showing the facility.
The packaging is interesting – the 3 discs come in a cardboard folder with plastic disc holders, one disc on one side and 2 on the other. The two discs are stacked (which I’ve said before I dislike), but the holder is a bit different – the discs are held a little further apart, with the bottom disc in a “pocket of sorts under the hub of the second, so the second disc has a full hub to hold it and is less likely to pop off accidentally. This does make it a little thicker though.
Each disc is also nicely screen printed with one of the main characters, which matches identically to the background image behind the discs.
The menus are pretty basic, with my only complaint in that there is no “play episode” menu. There is a “play all” option, and scene selection menu. So if you only want to watch episode 2, for instance, you need to select “scene selection”, then “episode two”, then the first scene.
But now I have to go and get season 1 so I can have the full mythology and story…