DVD: Being Human: Season One
Release Date: July 20, 2010
After watching and falling in love with the BBC series Being Human, I was excited to learn that Fandomania would receive copies of the first season on DVD. Since I’ve already reviewed the episodes themselves, I’m going to focus on the extras as well as the quality of the DVD itself.
The DVD set consists of two DVDs with all six episodes of the season (three on each disc) as well as extras related to the series on each DVD. There are six extras on the first DVD: “Alternate Scene” (yes, just one), “Character Profiles,” “Vamping it Up,” “Toby Whithouse on the Journey,” “Locations,” and “Costumes and Make Up.” The alternate scene is from episode three, and features a brief conversation between Annie and Gilbert, the ghost George and Mitchell introduce her to. It would have added a bit more obvious romantic interest in Annie on the part of Gilbert. It was a nice scene, but it wasn’t necessary so I’m sure that’s why it was left out. The “Character Profiles” feature is just what it sounds like — each of the actors talk about their own and other actors’ characters. One interesting inclusion / omission is that Tully, who only appears in one episode, gets a profile, but Nina, who is arguably a more important character, gets none. It’s an otherwise interesting feature with good insights into the characters.
“Vamping it Up” is about the “rules” of vampires in the Being Human universe. The explanation for why vampires are not destroyed by sunlight, while surprising, was quite sensible. In “Toby Whithouse on the Journey” (Toby Whithouse is the creator of the series), Whithouse outlines the journey of how Being Human eventually got on the air. One of the key factors was the fans. It’s an example of fans rescuing a show before it even started! The “Locations” feature surprised me with the detail that went into the various locations used in the show, but surprisingly there wasn’t a lot of detail in the incredibly short “Costumes and Make Up” feature other than Annie’s look. I would have expected something about the vampires’ eyes if nothing else (George’s transformation into a werewolf has its own feature on the second disc).
The second disc features these extras: “Deleted Scenes,” “Extended Scenes,” “Stunts Package,” “Our Journey’s End,” “Becoming a Werewolf,” and “Video Diaries.” The first two are typical DVD features, with some really great scenes (like Annie relating more fully the story of her death and discovery of what really happened to Gilbert right before death’s door opens for him), some funny but unnecessary scenes (like the scene when a neighbor accuses Mitchell of groping his wife and telling her he was going to have sex with her doggy style; this was the episode with Tully, so chances are that’s who it really was), and the ones that make you wonder why they were included (like Annie hearing voices in her head after she refuses death).
The “Stunts Package” and “Becoming a Werewolf” features are also pretty self-explanatory. The former described two stunts in detail — Annie’s death and the car accident with Mitchell and Bernie, the boy he befriended. It’s interesting to see how these stunts are staged, but it wasn’t really anything I hadn’t seen before in other similar features. “Becoming a Werewolf” describes how they transformed George into a werewolf, especially in the final battle with Herrick. It’s amazing how seamlessly they blended Russell Tovey with an animatronic model and CGI. Pretty impressive for a TV show.
“Our Journey’s End” is a sort of companion piece to the “Character Profiles” because the actors describe where their characters and the show end up at the end of the season. This was particularly interesting because it was filmed before the second season so they had no idea what was coming up yet. “Video Diaries” was one of the most surprisingly interesting features in the set, although I wouldn’t have thought so at first. Aidan Turner (Mitchell), Lenora Critchlow (Annie), and Russell Tovey (George) all had their own cameras that they used during filming. This gave us a behind the scenes look at all of the actors, but also gave us some insight into the actors themselves. I particularly enjoyed Russell’s creative use of the camera, filming himself in mirrors and then later using “special effects” to make the other actors “disappear.” Admittedly it was silly, but it made me laugh nonetheless.
There are a couple of technical aspects of the DVD that I feel I should mention. During the episodes (as well as during the features when they show scenes from the show itself), the video becomes jittery when the actors move. It’s a little bit annoying, although weirdly enough it doesn’t happen in the features themselves. Of course, this might be simply an artifact of my watching a standard DVD on a Blu-Ray player, or it might be due to the transfer from PAL to NTSC. The other point has to do with the music in the episodes. I had heard that the music on the DVDs had changed from the original broadcast. It had. That’s unfortunate, but neither issue should detract from the enjoyment of the show.