The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Screen Daze: American Idiots Being Human

Written By: Liam Walters

Okay, so this is something that has been annoying me for a while now. Usually it was just bubbling in the background, as it happened to shows that I liked, but not so much that it did anything more than annoy me… But that all changed one night not so long ago… When a friend showed me a video… A promo for an ‘All new original series’, starting in America. But the problem is, it’s not an ‘All new original series’, it’s an adaptation of a British series..

The show in question is the truly magnificent Being Human, created by Toby Whithouse. The British, original version of the show is just fantastic. Its one of my favourites, being able to build up suspense and drama throughout the episodes and even from series to series.

Currently we are in Series 3 of Being Human, and only being 2 episodes in, I already loving it. Even in the first episode of the series, it preludes to what will happen later on, and the episodes build up on that, introducing new plot elements which will surely return and deliver an amazing story to tell.

Going back to the roots of the show, it was first made as a Pilot. The pilot episode starred; Guy Flanagan as Mitchell – A vampire, Andrea Riseborough as Annie – A ghost, and Russell Tovey as George – A werewolf.

Only Russell Tovey would move on to the series, being joined by Aidan Turner & Lenora Crichlow as Mitchell and Annie respectively. Herrick would be replaced by Jason Watkins, and Lauren by Annabel Scholey. Each episode in Series 1 would follow its own storyline, whilst contributing certain plot elements to the main series storyline, such in the way of Doctor Who.

The first series went about with introducing the characters to the audience, and exploring their inner personality. With George and Mitchell, they did this by creating a ‘Me vs The Monster’ feeling. There’s Mitchell, who doesn’t want his blood-lusting vampire side to take control and dominate his life. He wants to live a good life. With George, it’s his fear of his werewolf side, and how it might hurt the people he cares about, or just about the rest of humanity.

With Annie, it’s more about acceptance. Acceptance that her living life is now over, and that she has died. Acceptance in being a ghost, and acceptance that it was her boyfriend, who was cheating on her, who had killed her.

The second series continues on, focusing on the characters abilities to deal with road blocks in their lives (or afterlives). With George, he has to deal with giving the love of his life the curse he had, and her leaving him. For Annie, its how no one can no longer see or hear her, apart from super-naturals. This effectively permanently stamps her as a ghost. She also has to deal with other spirits trying to force her into the door of death.

With Mitchell, it still focuses around him trying to deal with his blood lust, but now having to take the role of the vampire leader, and dealing with everyone else’s blood lust, as well as a love and betrayal from the same person.

It is far too early in series 3 to find any focus for the characters, but if I had to hazard a guess, then I would say that it’s trying to find normality, after accepting who and what they are. I guess we will see as the series continues.

Going back to the original point of the article. There is now an adaptation currently airing on Syfy in America, still under the same title, though changing the names of the characters (and of course, the fact that its suppose to be set in Bristol… Of course, series 3 of the UK Being Human has moved the cast to Wales).

Although I should actually watch some of the episodes before judging… I can’t really help it. I just find it pointless in the end. They were showing the UK show, and obviously it had good rating otherwise the adaptation would be made… But then why make it in the first place? Profit maybe… More than likely, I can’t think of any other reason. It’s not like it needs to be translated. Sure there are a couple of British references, but not that many that would alienate the American viewer (I can actually vouch for this as I have an American friend who absolutely loves the UK series).

I guess in the end, they’ll always be American adaptations of British shows, and vica versa. And sure, they won’t always be great, or even good… But as long as they leave Doctor Who alone, then I guess I guess I can leave them be…

What do you think of American adaptations? Have you seen any in recent years that are actually quite good, or are you like me, just hoping that they’ll leave our shows alone? Discuss in the comments below.


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