So I recently watched a few episodes of the US version of Being Human, the ones that are available on Hulu. I don’t know what I was expecting. I like the urban fantasy genre but I don’t like vampires all that much. The stuff I read/watch with vampires, I enjoy despite the vampires. And I like my stuff a bit more complex emotionally than we tend to see a lot of the time. Bonus points when research on mythology/folklore is evident as part of the worldbuilding.
I love Buffy but I don’t really like most of True Blood. I like the Cassandra Palmer books because of the intricate time traveling thing that sorts itself out by the end of the first trilogy, the unique way the main character uses her powers, and the chaotic action scenes; not because of the vampires. My favorite urban fantasy author (Seanan McGuire) hasn’t even written a vampire as of yet–she’s drawn from fae stories and cryptozoology instead.
Nonetheless, two things about this show indicated that I should give it a chance: the premise, and the fact that it was based off of a British show. And wouldn’t you know it, I liked the few episodes of the US version that I saw. Naturally, I wanted to watch more. But the obvious question I had to ask myself was whether I should watch the British version, or go back to the beginning of the American version. Google seemed to indicate that everyone disagreed with each other, so the only way to really find out was to try watching both.
I decided to do a preliminary comparison of this by watching the first episode of the UK version followed immediately by the first episode of the US version.
The US cast talks a bit about the BBC version towards the end of this video; definitely cool that there’s respect there, even if they aren’t supposed to watch too much of it.
First, the UK version. I really, really wanted to like it. The BBC’s done wonderfully with Doctor Who and I’m still keeping up with Merlin as well. The premise for the show is great; I really like that the core of the story is three friends, not any kind of relationship. And the story is about them trying to be better people. I personally think that friendship isn’t represented well enough or often enough in the TV I see, so for me, this is a very strong premise.
Something about it just wasn’t working for me, though. I don’t know, maybe it felt too stereotypically normal, which is something I don’t go for as a matter of personal taste. Or maybe it just wasn’t personal enough. I didn’t feel like the characters were interacting so much as sharing the same space. But what I will say to the show’s credit is that it was genuinely funny. Funny isn’t that easy to come by for me, in most media. I’m very skeptical of comedy because I’m too used to seeing comedy that doesn’t work for me. The parts that were supposed to be humorous in this episode, though? They had me laughing.
When I was watching the US version, I immediately felt like the characters cared more. Their struggles felt more internal. This episode had a lot more reaction shots compared to its British counterpart, and did a lot more with the characters’ faces. Instead of just being in a room together, it felt like they were genuinely interacting. When George complained about Annie, he just sounded like a jerk. When Josh complained about Sally, I got where he was coming from and why he was upset, even as I got where Sally was coming from too. That’s a powerful difference.
The American version wasn’t as funny, but I’ll take the characterization over good comedy any day. And watching Sam Huntington act as Josh is really fun. Serious charisma there.
So the UK version, unfortunately, looks like it might not be quite for me. The US version so far is intriguing.
Anyone prefer one or the other? Or love both?