Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Having watched the first two episodes of the latest series, I'm feeling again what I felt through the previous two series: frustration that I need to be a bit circumspect about my enthusiasm.
You see, Being Human is about three different characters, who at the beginning of the first series, share a flat. One is a vampire, one a werewolf, and one is a ghost. That's not likely to be welcomed as a great opener to a sermon, or the introduction to an illustration. And actually that's a real shame - my sons' generation would be there in a flash. But knowing how some Christians find C.S. Lewis dubious, and Harry Potter decidedly dodgy, I guess that Being Human really would be a bridge too far.
The real interest in the plot is that the vampire is 'on the wagon', the werewolf is surprised to be one, and the ghost initially can't work out why she's a ghost. In the second episode of series one, she asks, 'Am I going to be like this for eternity?' None of them are human but they are desperately trying to be human, and doing so through relationship. And the issue of what it is to be human in community underlies the whole storyline. It's hugely theological!
There are moments of great hilarity, with some wonderful one-liners. There are moments which are deeply tender and moving. I need to come clean and acknowledge that there is some gore as well as some sexual content; but overall this is a drama which is both comedy and intensely serious, with a terrific story line which gets better and better.
In the first episode of series three, Mitchell goes to purgatory to rescue Annie, the ghost, who's been dragged there, at the close of series two. There he's made to face up to his crimes, and the engagement with themes of sin, guilt, shame, and in particular repentance, was profound. In the second episode, the ongoing themes of the need to love and be loved, and belonging were richly explored.
Running concurrently with the third series is an online spin-off, Becoming Human, which I'm going to take a look at.