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SyFy Pulls Off a Better-Looking Being Human

Let's get this out of the way: Being Human isn't really about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost who share an apartment. I mean, it is, but what the show is really about is three twenty-somethings dealing with the pains of being different. While I've never woken up naked next to a gutted deer (except for that one time in Tahoe, but I can explain that), I often feel like I'm on the outside looking in, and that's the whole point of Being Human, Syfy's enjoyable adaptation of the U.K. series that itself is relatively new.

The first thing you have to do to appreciate Being Human is repeatedly tell yourself to "just roll with it." Forget your preconceptions about vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and everything else. This is a world that exists in the mind of original series creator Toby Whithouse, and it's his world. So if you have a problem with Aidan the vampire walking around in broad daylight, check that baggage at the door.

Being Human does a great job of balancing everyday humor with serious drama. When Aidan, Josh the werewolf, and Sally the ghost are at ease in their apartment, the banter is light and jovial. But when s*** gets real, as it did at the end of the series opener, it gets really real. This spinning-plates task of keeping things hilarious and heavy is going to be vital to the show's quality, but so far, so great for executive producers Anna Fricke (Everwood) and Jeremy Carver (Supernatural). Carver's influence is especially noticeable, and given the fact that he wrote Supernatural's genius episode "Changing Channels," that's a fantastic thing.

Sam Witwer looks right at home as Aidan, Sam Huntington and his perma-Hound-Dog-eyes work well as the befuddled Josh, and a bloated Mark Pellegrino, after stints on Lost, Dexter, and Supernatural, has turned himself into an entirely new beast as a vampire boss. Meaghan Rath is a tad too bubbly as Sally the spectre, but that should change as the gravity of her situation unfolds. No complaints about the casting here.

What surprised me the most was the look of Being Human. By far and away it has the most style of any Syfy series, and it's a perfect accompaniment to the tone of the show. Yes, it's largely borrowed from the U.K. original, but the if-it-ain't-broke-why-fix-it rule definitely applies here. Plus, Syfy has poured much more cash into its version, bringing the look of things like Josh's werewolf transformation into this century.

Whether it was the right time or not to remake such a recent program (the U.K.'s Being Human premiered in 2008) is moot; Syfy is assuming you haven't seen the surprisingly wonderful original. And from Syfy's pilot, which debuted last night, it looks like the differences are understandably minimal. Producers had a chance to let arrogance take over and make this their own, but they wisely retained much of what makes the original great and the result is one of Syfy's best offerings. Even it is technically the BBC's.

How do you think the Syfy version fared?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I love the original BBC America version of the show “Being Human” and was a little hesitate to watch the SyFy version. I was glad my hesitation was proven to be wrong. Both the BBC version and the American version were excellent in their own right. I thought that perhaps SyFy would just completely imitate the original version and so it would be boring to me since I am already in the 3rd season of the English version, I was completely wrong. The writers of the show changed some of the story line to give the series an edge to the show and still keep you kind of guessing, “What will happen next”, for those who already have seen the original show. For that reason I have become a fan of both of the shows. For those who are not willing to give the SyFy version a chance because you are a fan of the original I have to say, don’t deprive yourselves of an excellent show. You will not be sorry, I promise.
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i apologize in advance, but i am SO TIRED of hearing everyone talk about the british version and comparing it to this one. they are TWO DIFFERENT SHOWS even though they are the same characters. clearly if you watched the british version first, you would be used to it, and the way the characters are portrayed - that is understandable. but at least have the courtesy to look at this show without comparison. it certainly can stand on its own. i will say that it started out a bit shaky and i kind of didn't want to watch the second episode, but i gave it a chance and it did not dissappoint. the characters have a wonderful chemistry together and the writing is solid. it is, at different times, funny, dramatic and suspenseful. in any case, how much does one expect from a television show? i expect to be entertained for an hour, and this show delivers. not to mention that the cast is certainly nice to look at. LOL. i look forward to the second season.
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Love the BBC original so I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the Syfy version. But after seeing it I LOVE IT!!! And Mark as Bishop makes me actually like it MORE than the BBC version! That's right, I said it!! Bishop is HOT and Herrick is not!! Deal with it! In fact he's so hot he'll have you rooting for the Vamps!! (BTW did they call him bloated? Jerks!!)
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Lesley,

You are correct about Coupling. No idea why I said Couples. :)
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I'm a fan of the original, so I don't think I'm going to check it out unless a few months from now I notice comments saying that SyFy changed up the plot. . . in a good way. It's like The Office. I watched the British version first, and I just couldn't stomach the American one when I tried to watch it. British tv just has a kind of charm that we can't reproduce. On the other hand, I can't help it. . . I love the US version of Queer as Folk more. I think it benefitted from the American flash and edge. American shows ARE prettier. . . just depends if you want pretty or gritty.
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@iamgman 1126... that was "Coupling"... not Couples...... and I turned off the SyFy version about 10 minutes in..... BBC's version is sooooooo much better..... Sorry SyFy........ thumbs wayyyyyyyy down on this one!!!!
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You really can't compare Brit and American adaptions. Brit shows are usually 6-7 episodes per season. American are 13-26. Considering the UK version has only had 12 or 13 episodes if I recall, the American version will have to expedite the story to set up a new plotline if they go 26 shows.

That being said. I hate most American adaptations (Couples for example), but I think this one has legs. We will see.
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I finally begrudgingly checked it iut and yeah it is cosmetically better looking but thats it, there is no original storyline- just becasue they are remaking a show doesn't mean they need to rip off its storylines too and Bishop/Marks hair was horrible and Sally way too bubbly
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Very disappointed. For those who liked the new season, should go look at the original one. I love the characters and they really capture your attention. I mean the new season does too, but it's not all that good to me. I was hoping they would keep the characters and make more episodes. Well all I know is that I am not going to see this new season.
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A good start but I have to say, as a fan of the original British series, I'm a bit disappointed. ALL of what I thought of as the best parts of the original were left out. The funniest (most human) lines were cut completely and sorely missed. The humor/horror contrast was what made the original so great. Syfy's version ...has lost a good deal of that. Hopefully things will get better as the season continues.
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Not sure I want to see this. The UK version is great, and seeing a lot of the comments below, it might feel like Ill be watching the same show just with an American accent.
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The two series (UK and US) are so similar its hard for me to really enjoy the show. It kinda feels like to me I am just re-watching the UK series over again only now with different actors. My hope for this series is that they will change it up as the series progresses.
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sam witwer is an amazing actor i just loved watching him on smallville and now that he is playing a vampire i love him even more!!!!!! i am a huge really huge vampire fan!!!!! i love anything to do with vampires or even werewolves too!!!!!!!
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in the old being guman my favorite is mitchell he is so hot and so incredible !!!!!!!
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i really like this new re make of being human !!!!! i mean i like the old british version of being human too! but i love sam witwer in this new remake of being human !!!!!!!
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I'm sure most of have seen the original. The US version if 'ok' so far but I do feel a lack of the electricity I feel when watching the UK version.
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i think the werewolf is awful, when russel tovey screams you feel the pain and in the US version it looks like it doesn't hurt at all
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Having seen the UK version, I think that this has potential. For one thing, while the premise is the same, I have a feeling that the story is going to branch out very quickly especailly given the fact that the first season of the UK show was only 6 episodes and SyFy will probably try to extend that out a bit. The special effects are OK but I liked the werewolf transformation in the UK version better.
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i haven't watched the uk version but what i watched monday on syfy was really well done and extremely interesting. I'm looking forward for the next episode.
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Wow, a vote of confidence from Tim? I'm definitely checking it out now.
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I love Sam Witwer. I haven't seen or care about the UK version. The first episode was great and I loved it!
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this is horrible. acting is wooden and has lost the charm of the uk series
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haven't seen the UK version so I totally enjoyed this one. I was left hanging on the last part though. Can't wait to see the next episode.
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i definately liked it, i thought it was great and will def. watch it again.
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what's the point?
Plot is the same, acting is wooden, only the SFX is better. If they want to make this better than the original or at least as good, then they need to re-invent the material, not just change the colloquialisms.
There is no angst in any of these characters and nothing believable, SFX doesn't make something scary... the should take a leaf from Hitchcock, it is what you don't see and you have to imagine makes it frightening.
In a highly paranoid country like the US, surely they can add in conspiracies, a CIA guy or 2, change taking over the world by force to getting elected to government and by stealth. Pay homage to the original but use it as a starting point only.
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I have never seen the UK version and since I haven't liked a British show since AbFab I am unlikely to ever see it. That being said, I actually liked the first episode of Being Human that I saw on Syfy. I have loved Sam Huntington since Jungle2Jungle and it's great to see him on TV. I have no complaints... yet.
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I also don't think it was that good. The casting is not great. The ghost and the vamp both need to improve. The werewolf isn't bad, but NOWHERE near as good as the UK version. I also didn't like the fact they tossed his sister into the first episode. Probably should have done some character building so we care more about that situation. Only saving grace to this version is Mark Pellegino. I will give it a few more episodes, but I suspect with each passing episode we get farther and farther from the UK quality.
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I really don't think it was that great
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The episode unfolded almost line for line as it did in the UK version, making it feel pointless to watch all over again with less talented actors. When I heard about the casting I was pleased, they all really looked their parts. But my fave character in the UK version is George (Josh), you really feel for him. But in this one he seemed really selfish. Sally and Aiden seemed similar enough to their original characters, and ppl who havent seen the UK version wont know what their missing so for them this would be a pretty good show. Its done its job in introducing a great story to a new audience. But after a couple more episodes, if this doesnt prove itself, there is really no point in watching it when I have the UK version to enjoy.
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the whole point of sally the spectre is for her to be bubly but i'm going to be irritated if she doesn't make lots of tea :(
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The American version started at the beginning. The boys have just moved into the apartment and met Sally (Annie). Sally is newly dead, and is unable to touch things and be seen. Josh (George) has just recently encountered his sister (ex-fiance), instead of months ago. Rebeca (Lauren) has only recently been killed by Aiden (Mitchell). The US version is trying to start at the start, instead of starting a story in the middle of events unfolding. Both methods have value, and it's probably easier for the US version to do it this way, to add some content (the first season of the UK version only has 6 episodes). Time will tell, I think, but so far I can't say if one is better than the other. Though so far I like the British actors better. Still, time.
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I like the UK actor so well, it will take me a while to adjust. I think I'll like the Syfy version, but probably never as well as the original...
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i like the us version,but english one is ok too
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I missed it. I'll watch it soon :D
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The UK version is better. The US version lack's the good acting. The acting is wooden in the US version. Why re-make something that is great already????
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I am actually really surprised I like the us version better. There were a few key things I hated about the uk version that always irked me. A. I like how the werewolf transformation didn't take place in the guys brand new apartment. Let's destroy all of our new stuff and also expect a werewolf to not be able to escape a flat with a door and windows. Right! I also enjoyed the fact that Sally cannot immediately touch things or be seen by people. It adds something to build on. I feel like this version has what made the original so great with some of the weird contrivances thankfully fixed. It's miles above skins which will never be able to deliver what we need from it. Especially since half the characters are nowhere near as vibrant and interesting as the original. The worst part is they change the gay character into a girl just because it's more acceptable in American society to have a girl experiment. That part makes me sick.
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The thing about the uk version is yes they lack our special effects but they make up for it with their writing. I dont understand why this country has to remake (or try to) evey popular show in the UK! Yeah their effects suck but they dont have the Universal/NBC money that SyFy has to play with. I kind of like the UK warewolf's transformation better because it looks like pain and the actor makes it look like torture where as this one in the pilot make it look like he had a stomake ache. I think that what is going to make the UK better than the US is that you feel for those characters, its more substance due to their small budget for effects and i think that your not going to get that bond in the american version. And naming the vampire Adian might have been an homage to the actor that plays mitchell, it screws me up everytime I hear the name i think about the UK version which while watching a remake you shouldn't
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I think that remaking the show was definitely a risk and I agree that you don't need to fix something that isn't broken. But the number of people who have never even heard of Being Human before the SyFy version came out is a lot. And the premise of this show is so interesting that I am not at all surprised that someone decided to try a new version. That being said I have watched the BBC version and I watched the pilot episode of the SyFy version and I have to say that I enjoyed the SyFy version. I can't say whether i like it more as I have only seen 1 episode but i will say this. I know a lot of people that would never have given the BBC version a glance just because its BBC. Sorry but i know a lot of people who stick to US and Canadian networks. Now maybe the BBC show will have a biggest audience from people who have seen the SyFy version. Anyway I will be tuning in to see more as I too was pleasantly surprised and happy with the quality of the new version.
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I am please with the US version watched the UK being human and wasn't too pleased with the werewolf transformation. The US did it justice and the story line seems very lively at best looking forward to episode 2 as the ending was very good for the 1st episode. And not to be a suck up but I look forward to reading your thoughts each week on any show :)
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It just doesn't compare with the BBC version. It feels like much of the substance has been ripped out. I find it telling that they named the vampire in the American version after the actor that played him in the British one; Sam Witner doesn't hold a candle to Aidan Turner. Such a shame, but not unexpected.
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It was amazing. I have never seen the BBC version, but seeing as this one is more of my American ground, I think I don't mind watching the newer version first. Being Human is a very cool and classical show....plus, the werewolf isn't all macho like they make werewolves these days, which I like. ^-^
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Most impressed. In the early stages I was all “how can they have the main character do that and then expect us to route for him, methinks I won’t be coming back to this prog”, but by the end I was all “omg, I want to know what happens next, right now!!!!” - btw I haven't seen the UKone.
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well done SyFy. the US version seems to be on par with the UK version.
UK version is slightly lighter and has some humor. US version is a tad bit darker with a bit more glossy finnish. Im looking foreward to watching some more.
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I skipped the BBC version because on the surface it just didn't look like it had anything new to offer. I watched the Syfy version (because honestly there was nothing else on) and found it actually enjoyable.
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As someone who's already seen the UK version (as some of the others have as well) i don't see a point of watching this. However, I'm pleasantly surprised that it did look and feel better than i anticipated.
Season 3 of the UK version starts this Saturday, so i'm going to be passing on this one and continue to watch the original version.
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omg sam witwer
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I've seen both this pilot and the pilot of the UK version, and to be honest I liked this version better. I already can't wait to see the next episodes, hopefully they can keep this up.
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Why bother with re-makes of already brilliant TV shows. It's not like this originated in another language. The only thing that is different is that the cast has been "prettied" up. The same thing has happened with Shameless which for it's first episode stuck so closely to the original that you are left wondering why, and where did the heart and soul of the drama disappear to. The BBC are in post production for a UK version of US comedy "Grounded For Life" which is to be a vehicle for a very funny guy Will Mellor, and as much as I love Mellor's work a little bit of me is screaming "give me something new"
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The Original version is far superior
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Seriously, why do people have to call it the US version? Its produced by a Canadian company; Muse Entertainment. It airs simultaneously on Space, its filmed in Montreal with an extensive Canadian cast. In return for some SyFy money they had to say it was Boston and tone down the sex and blood for the FCC. Its not as funny as the BBC3 version nor dose it look as good ascetically. It only looks better than other SyFy shows because Montreal looks better than Vancouver. Furthermore why did Maidan and Gosh have to become nurses? Whats wrong with orderlies? And why change the original ghost concept? Its all flashy now. Also can we kill the music for a minute? Dose someone always have their iPod cranked or do most SyFy viewers just get bored easily?
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