Stars: Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, Sarah Allen, Gianpaolo Venuta, Mark Pellegrino
Writers: Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke based on the U.K. series BEING HUMAN created by Toby Whithouse
Director: Adam Kane
Network: Syfy, airs Mondays
Original Telecast: January 17, 2011

Syfy has taken a considerable risk in developing the popular U.K. genre series BEING HUMAN into an American off-shoot. It’s not that there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just that the U.K. series is still so fresh in our minds – and about to head into Season Three as we speak.

Plus, it’s damn good. You never want to mess with something THAT good.

That said, there was potential for this remake to be a complete and utter disaster – a failure of epic proportions. Yet, surprisingly, the U.S. version of BEING HUMAN, developed by Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke from the Toby Whithouse created series, has turned out to be rather awesome.

There were many pacing issues with the U.K. series – long lulls that tended to slow down the plot momentum of many episodes (as good as they were) and with the U.S. version taking the original U.K. pilot as its template, it’s managed to retell the story in a faster, livelier U.S. pace.

Of course, there’s some adjustment. Getting used to three new actors aping (and in many cases looking and dressing quite similarly to their U.K. counterparts) is startling at first. The plot points are also pretty dead-on, which makes you wonder how much the show will adhere to the U.K. scripts or if it will veer off pretty quickly into its own alternative universe.

Regardless, BEING HUMAN has the potential of being Syfy’s latest and greatest breakout series.

The premise sounds like a bad joke: a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all live together in a house and try to learn to “be human.” Except the punchline is pretty dark and depressing.

Vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer) is like a recovering alcoholic. He gave up human bloodshed some time ago, but his desires catch up to him as the series begins and he sucks the blood of an innocent woman he worked with at the local hospital. He’s devastated, and the vamp that turned him, Bishop (Mark Pellegrino) shows up to chat with him. He thinks Aidan is back in business, and it seems like the vampires have organized under Bishop (who also happens to be a cop). There are changes coming, and Bishop wants to welcome Aidan back into the fold.

Meanwhile, Josh (Sam Huntington) is a classic, tragic werewolf who ends up spending the night in the woods when a full moon comes to avoid hurting innocent people in the city. When he was bitten, he disappeared and left his family for fear he would hurt them, but now his sister Rebecca (Sarah Allen) has showed up and discovered him.

Since Aidan and Josh feel horrible about being monsters (Aidan says in the opener about regular people “you wake up from your nightmares, we don’t”), they decide to rent a flat together and try to help each other with their urges. While there, they discover a ghost also resides there. Her name is Sally (Meaghan Rath) and she doesn’t know how she died, but she’s grateful she can now interact with someone after spending the last six months talking to walls.

It’s an unlikely partnership, but it’s also the basis for a format that sounded really jokey when the U.K. was announced they were going to do it, but once you watched the show, you realized Whithouse had fashioned an original, yet familiar universe that turned the werewolf/vampire/ghost genres on its head.

BEING HUMAN, the U.S. version, has tons of potential. The actors are rather good at bringing their own vibe to these already established characters, and Carver and Fricke have managed to layer in enough of their own mythology to ensure the show can continue on for 13 episodes (versus the six episode first season U.K. run).

Yes, BEING HUMAN will be polarizing for fans still reveling in the U.K. series which is going strong. It may very well be a love it or hate it thing, but if this pilot episode is any indication, Syfy has finally found a crossover hit that will be appointment viewing for fans of genre-bending shows like TRUE BLOOD and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

Do you love the new BEING HUMAN or hate it? COMMENT below at let the debate rage on

CLICK HERE for more EXCLUSIVE interviews and reviews from ASSIGNMENT X on BEING HUMAN

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