Thursday, January 16, 2014

Being Human: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
being humanFrom the creative team behind “Pillars of the Earth,” “The Mentalist” and “Heroes,” “Being Human” is Syfy’s re-imagining of the acclaimed BBC original series created by Toby Whithouse.  “Being Human” follows four paranormal, 20-something roommates living in a Boston brownstone – vampire “Aidan” (Witwer), werewolves “Josh” (Huntington) and “Nora” (Hager) and ghost “Sally” (Rath) – as they struggle to resist the temptations of their true natures. As the third season of “Being Human” returns, the four learn that there is a price to pay for getting what they want. Watching the characters hide their dark secrets from the world, while helping each other navigate the complexities of living double lives and trying to be human, viewership for the third season averaged 1.8 million viewers, making “Being Human” a Top 10 Cable Program in its time period among adults 18-49 and 25-54. Season 4 of “Being Human” premieres January 2014 on Syfy.


Show (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

Being Human is the story of four roommates who share a home in Boston.  These roommates are friends despite their many differences – including their species.  Aidan (Sam Witwer, Smallville) is a vampire who is over 100 years old, despite his twenty something appearance.  Josh (Sam Huntington, Fanboys) and girlfriend Nora (Kristen Hager,Wanted, Aliens vs. Predato: Requiem) are werewolves.  Sally (Meagan Rath, Prom Wars) is a ghost who once inhabited the home with the man that killed her.  These supernatural roomies live double lives, pretending to be human and are fiercely protective of the only family they have left – each other.
If you haven’t seen the show yet and don’t want to be spoiled then you better stop now but I think most people who want to read this review probably have seen the earlier seasons.  We left off with Aidan in a coffin in season two and as season three begins he is released to find that the vampires are on the verge of extinction.  A relatively mild human flu has made human blood deadly to vampires.  Aidan and the few remaining vampires search desperately for uninfected humans and Aidan makes a lucky discovery when he meets a teenage “bubble boy” with an autoimmune disease, who has been completely isolated.
Vampires aren’t the only ones with problems.  Josh and Nora’s decisions from season two are back to haunt them and they are pursued by a pure blood werewolf who wants revenge for the death of his son and the disappearance of his daughter.  Josh starts season three as a human, having killed the wolf that turned him, but with a wolf for a girlfriend he can’t exactly go back to a “normal” life.   Even Sally the ghost sees big changes in season three.  Although she was once stuck in the house in that ugly sweater she died in, Sally is still in limbo.  Her friends go to drastic measures to bring her back and amazingly “back” means alive and breathing.  In season three, the roommates all have a shot at getting what they want but they also learn that the good things in life don’t come easy and that everything has a price.
Syfy’s American take on the British series, will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 7, 2014.  If you binge watch, and it is possible you’ll be ready just in time for the season four premiere, which takes place on January 13, 2014.  However, if you are up to date this is a series that you can successfully binge watch.  Personally I was able to knock out season three in two days, but if I’d been truly dedicated I could have done it in one.  I have not seen the British version and the fact that I like the American show so much makes me hesitant to watch the original series.  I just can’t imagine a British Aidan and I’m not sure I want to.  Because of that, I have no opinions on the differences between the two shows but I can say that I like the American version, and for now I’m sticking with it since I enjoyed season three tremendously.  I especially liked getting to see Sally walking around in the land of the living.  It was interesting to see her personality, and her story line includes some of the most touching moments the show has ever seen.
As I said in my review of the second season, I didn’t start watching the show until then and I am willing to admit that was a mistake. There are many shows that you can just join at any time but this is not one of them.  Although I watched the complete season two and now all of season three I still find myself slightly confused thanks to missing that first season. There is a lot of history between the characters, both in their own human and their supernatural lives which continually factors into their current situations.  If you have the time, I strongly suggest you avoid my mistake and start with season one and work your way through the series because it’s worth it.

Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

Being Human: The Complete Third Season is presented on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1 ratio.  The show is dark and that’s where a lot of television shows fail.  Thankfully, the images were never washed out and the blood is varying shades of a sinister red that is murky and believable.  Judging skin tones is unfair but impressive as you often notice Aidan’s pail white flesh in contrast with the rosy cheeks of the vampires.  In some shows, I can’t help but pick a part ever bit of banding or fuzzy lines, but in this case the imperfections did not concern me, or limit my enjoyment of the series.

Audio (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track on the Blu-ray is also good and adequate for this type of show.  The dialogue is even and intelligible throughout.  Supernatural fire, ghosts and other elements are audible and lend to the believability of the unbelievable things you see.  As characters lay dying, even their last breaths are evident.

Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

For such a great season, I had hoped for higher quality extras. While I love bloopers, they did not need to be separated by episode, and I could have done without the cheesy music and graphics. The Comic Con Panel recording was amazingly low budget, as well.
Being Human: The Complete Third Season contains the following extras:
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette – Cast and Crew interviews and behind the scenes footage beginning with the actors excitedly returning to work for season three.
  • Being Human Panel from San Diego Comic-Con 2013 – An oddly low budget recording from within the crowd. Having personally been at comic con it’s obviously that the person who recorded this, while likely with a stationary tripod, was seated in the general population. The panel including introductions is recorded in its entirety but not edited and there are people walking into frame.
  • The Cast on Cliffhangers – The Cast weighs in on the story arcs.
  • Bloopers – Funny moments from various episodes throughout the season.

Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

Being Human: The Complete Third Season is definitely my favorite season so far.  With only thirteen episodes, the Blu-ray release leaves ample time to watch for the first time or refresh your memory before season four airs.  The characters all have a chance to develop this season.  Many of them get the chance to be human, and they all grow to appreciate the brownstone occupants as family.  I enjoyed the show and found the audio and video presentation more than adequate for this type of show.  I highly recommend adding the Blu-ray collection and suggest getting the previous seasons as well. Being Human is the type of show that definitely lends itself to repeat viewings and would make a great rainy day marathon.
Order your copy today!

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