It’s always risky killing off a major character, but sometimes taking that risk is what a show needs. Joss Whedon was not afraid to take the character kill off risk, and his shows and films benefited no end from the power of such bold steps.
But Being Human has lost not just one but three major characters in the space of one season’s close and another’s opening. Is this a step too far? Given that the character reboot to Being Human has been principally triggered by career moves of its stars rather than the demands of the story, the show should be at a disadvantage. Nevertheless a strong show can work with such events. When Seth Green left Buffy mid season to take a role in Austin Powers, the move led to character development for Willow. Without her long-standing boyfriend Oz, Willow was able to explore her sexuality. Mitchell’s story came to completion through series three with the realisation that he could never really find redemption except in death, so his death and departure were fitting. It should work well for the show for him to have moved on.
George’s send off is less satisfying. His statement that his story is over is a bit stretched. But I can’t help feeling that without Mitchell and Nina his character has no purpose but to look moody and resentful, so it is a good time to go. My major complaint is the lack of any such resolution for Nina. She had started on the edges of the special threesome and had become a major character. But dispatched off-season and off-screen, she was consigned to the sidelines in the end.
In the meantime Annie is still great at being an emotional ghost who attempts to hold everyone else together. She is not ready to move on, and clearly she needs back up. Can her new supporting cast fill Mitchell’s and George’s shoes? I hope they don’t. It’s enough to stick to the formula of having one werewolf, one vampire and one ghost in a house share, hopefully the new characters will do more than try to mimic and replace the old ones, like some sad US version of the drama (heaven forbid that should happen!) We know Tom well enough, and he is no George. We will have to see how new vampire Hal shapes up, but from what we have seen so far the aim is to go for the smooth opposite of Mitchell’s rough attitude.
If the show is to stay strong it needs to keep up the strengths that have made it so good so far. Strong writing, strong characters, a good dash of humour, vampires making overblown portentous promises to end the world, “We’ve entered the end game. We are going to swallow the world in one quick gulp…” yes, you know the sort of thing. So far so good. I found the mirroring of the trinity set up around Hal a nice touch and loved the geeky Vampire Recorder. There are a fair few tropes of the vampire genre such as flash forwards to an apocalyptic future London and prophecies written on human skin (eeeww!) The idea that the human baby born of two supernatural beings is some kind of a saviour echoes the role of Connor in Angel. Being Human’s own special trope of the sinister police who are vampires is done well as usual, and yes of course “It’s a trap!” Obviously…
So while those of us who still haven’t got all the channels are still waiting for True Blood… there is no need to squeeze all the vampire fun in at once after all… I am looking forward to seeing how the new look Being Human evolves.
Text ©Angela Stapleford