Thursday, July 29, 2010
Last year's Comic-Con featured a huge crowd for BBC America's supernatural drama series Being Human, which hadn't even premiered in the US yet when the stars of the BBC Three series made their way to San Diego. A year later and the enthusiasm for the series--part Gothic horror, part soap, part buddy comedy--hasn't diminished.
Televisionary special correspondent Lissette Lira attended the press room for Being Human and spoke to the cast about illegal downloading, the US version of Being Human that Syfy is developing, what's coming up on Season Three of the UK version, and Barry Island.
Wait, Barry Island? Yes, you read that correctly. Just why are Mitchell, George, and Annie headed to the pleasure park? Read on in Lissette Lira's full report on just what went down behind the press room's closed doors at the Marriott Marina last weekend:
After a warm reception at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the Being Human cast--Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, and Aidan Tuner--returned this year, along with first-timer Sinead Keenan. The cast first appeared on Thursday night, when they introduced the premiere episode of Season Two to an enthusiastic Comic-Con audience.
The following day, Russell Tovey recounted for the press room how on the previous night, Sinead had warned him, “No one’s seen it yet, darling, it comes out Saturday.” To which Tovey replied, “I promise you everyone there will have illegally taped it.”
Aidan Turner also chimed in, lamenting how much content the US audience loses because of the ad breaks. “That kind of sucks really,” Turner complained. “We shoot 55 to 57 minutes and you lose a lot here [in the US broadcasts].” This then led Tovey to voice his support for the illegal downloading movement. [Editor: Televisionary does not condone illegal downloading in any form, but does appreciate Tovey’s candour on the matter]
Tom in Oz: to view Tovey's response please press play on the video at the bottom of this post.
What else did the oh-so-charming cast have to say? Read on as our in-depth press room report continues, complete with video of Being Human's Turner, Tovey, Crichlow, and Keenan.
As the discussion shifted to the topic of Season Two, Tovey teased, “You start seeing cracks in relationships and friendships. Everyone seems to go off on their own adventure and journey. Annie has been caught in a bubble and thinks that everything is blissful, we’re all safe and life’s great and she’s blinkered to the fact that Mitchell and George are suffering terribly. George is filled with testosterone and has manned up more than he’s ever had to be a man before because of the wolf that’s taken over him and he used the wolf to kill Herrick. And Mitchell’s abstinence from blood is getting harder for him, but we all kind of miss each others' issues. Everyone is in denial.”
Lenora Crichlow echoed this sentiment, describing her character Annie--the group's resident ghost--as being “on a bit of a personal journey again trying to deepen her understanding of what it means to be where she is and who she is."
"There’s lots of things that come up that kind of snap her into reality," said Crichlow. "She has to confront death several times again and the way she died again so it’s bleak getting hammered home. Whatever happened to her she has to face it, she has to get real about it in order to kind of move on at all.”
As some viewers have noted in the past, the “supernatural rules” on Being Human can be somewhat vague at times. In response to the criticism, Turner argued, “Toby created his own rules which I think is very cool. We can’t really afford CGI to let Mitchell run really fast along the streets. I think Being Human is about engrossing these characters in the reality of making things believable and a lot of these rules wouldn’t have worked."
"With Toby making his own rules about vampires and different supernaturals, it just makes it more real and more unique to our show, which is what it’s kind of about," he continued. "At the beginning when we started shooting the first series I thought God, people are gonna go mad, they want form, they want what they know in the structure of these supernaturals but I think it’s refreshing for a lot of the fans to see this and to see it work and how it works. I think it’s cooler that Mitchell can cook with garlic or that he eats a lot of foods. Breaking tradition, I think, is refreshing.”
Keenan likewise observed, “All the afflictions, like being a vampire, a werewolf, or a ghost, it’s incidental almost. The beauty of the show is that it centres around everyone’s relationships and their struggles.”
As for the American version of Being Human currently being developed by the Syfy Channel, the cast was generally positive and supportive in their remarks. “I think they’ll be radically different,” Turner said of the two versions. “What works for the British show is that it is low-budget and it’s kooky and it’s a bit weird. It has its own thing going on. I think it’ll (the US version) look glossy and very high production values and it’ll have its own energy and its own vibe going on. I mean it’s great, it’s a huge testament to the show that somebody wants to make it. They did the same to The Office and that’s been a massive success, so it’s a huge compliment and I think we’re all very proud of that.”
Tovey was similarly upbeat, pointing out, “We’re lucky that we’ve been on American TV. It’d be depressing if we hadn’t been and trying to get it out here and they made that and no one knew we existed. But people can make a comparison now and that’s great for our show.”
Sinead Keenan then offered, “It’s great that somebody somewhere likes the idea so much to make their own version. I wish them luck, I think it’s great and hopefully then people might go, oh, I wonder what the original was and come back.”
Being Human is currently in the midst of shooting Season Three of the series in Cardiff, after relocating from Bristol where the first two seasons had been filmed. Regarding the change in locale, Turner said, “It’s going really well. The move from Bristol has been pretty flawless. It’s been fine, it’s great. They built a new set for us in Cardiff so we have this gigantic set that we never had in Bristol. This year it’s a whole lot bigger. It progresses with the story and with the characters’ relationships with each other and everything it’s just a natural progression so it’s gone good.”
Tovey noted Cardiff’s role as the home of such successful BBC series as Doctor Who and Torchwood, adding, “It’s pretty cool to be somewhere that has sci-fi folklore like Cardiff because of everything that has been there and it’s quite cool that we’re now part of that click of sci-fi.”
In addition, the cast revealed that Season Three will be set on Barry Island, prompting Crichlow to promise, “We’re going to put it on the map. Now everyone will be wanting to go to Barry Island! It’s a very cool place.” [Editor: long-time fans of Gavin & Stacey already know Barry Island is aces. Tidy.]
As with Season Two (currently airing on BBC America), the forthcoming Season Three will contain eight episodes and introduce a new threat with which the characters must contend. “Season 1, the threat was vampires,” Crichlow explained. “Season Two the threat is human, Season Three the threat is from within.”
And as for fans hoping to see a favourite character or two return to the series, Keenan hinted, “The good thing about this show is that death means nothing. Anything is possible so you never know.”
Being Human airs Saturdays at 9pm on BBC America.
Press play to hear the BH cast at the San Diego press room ComicCon 2010: