Wednesday, 8 February 2012
"Oh, Forget To Mention, These Guys Aren't Human Either"
Hmm. Well, that was certainly different. For reasons that will likely be obvious to those who saw it, and indescribably spoiler-heavy for those who haven't, it's debatable whether this episode can be reviewed at all.
I'm bored right now, though, so I'll give it ago. As intimated a few lines above, what's below the fold is massively spoilertastic, so tread carefully.
Simply put, the season 4 opener of Being Human didn't feel like an episode at all. It felt like someone decided to dramatise a press release.
"Being Human regrets to announce that Sinead Keenan has decided to quit the show, without filming an exit scene, so we've had to say she died off-screen. Oh, and Russell Tovey has had enough as well, he wants to concentrate on Him and Her, even though it's fucking awful and he's not even of the right persuasion to appreciate getting to kiss Sarah Solemani. So we've had to kill him off, too.
In order to balance this out, we've also not brought back the rather brilliant Lee Ingleby as Wyndam, killing him off-screen and replacing him with another vampire policeman. Fans concerned that we are covering old ground need not fret, however - Alex Jennings will only be a bit rubbish in one episode, before he's killed by George to provide a heroic note to Tovey's departure. This will be done using some bollocks about toxic blood we scraped together because we couldn't think of anything else.
Mark Williams has also been cast to prove once again that it is not true that all people who can do comedy can also act (see also Izzard, Eddie - terrible acting of)."
Aside from setting up Mitchell's replacement - and the start of what looks like some kind of mad time-travel plot, which I'll dissect once I know more about it - pretty much everything we saw on Sunday felt like a mad dash to tie up as much as possible, so as to start next week with a comparatively blank slate. That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course. Indeed, given the behind the scenes changes, it was probably the only sensible option: serve up a single fairly unsatisfactory slice of barely held-together action with horrifying plot-holes (why the hell didn't the vampires kill George and Tom when they had them, or at least keep them locked up?) and then draw a line under it.
There are a few long term issues that have arisen in all this, though. The prospect that Mark Williams might return is not one I'm particularly relishing - he felt like he belonged in another series altogether, and probably not one from this decade. The unseen death of Wyndam and pathetic bitch-slapping of Grifla rather puts the kibosh on the Old Ones as a terrifying supernatural threat. And whilst I've not been entirely kind regarding my opinion of Russell Tovey's acting on more than one occasion (the Guardian once compared him to Scooby Doo, but I think the dog's nephew is closer to the mark), I'm really not sure Michael Socha has it in him to replace Tovey, who if nothing else didn't lack for presence.
Still, early days, and so forth. Plenty of time to pass judgement on this season once its settled down. Though of course given Hal's comment about a ghost being unable to survive the loss of both their location and their familiars, it seems distinctly possible that Annie will be gone by season's end, and the whole of this year will prove to be simply a transitional phase.
We shall see.