Being Human: UK vs US

An opinion populated comparison between these two sister shows

After patrolling message boards, comment sections, and other dark corners of the internetz I have compiled some opinions and judgments about these two science fiction television shows. Unfortunately this is based on the UK series up through season 3, and the US version to the present partway through the 2nd season.
I watched most of the UK version of Being Human before the US version began so I’m pretty sure that makes me an expert at this of some kind (completely joking). The following should depict what I feel are the ups and downs of both television productions in a semi-serious battle royale.

The original UK version of this show has its own separate charm and bite. It also holds its own different uniqueness over its counterpart. Just the fact that it was first gives it originality points – especially considering some of the early season plot-lines. It is a degree darker, which I LOOOOVE, but its wickedness often seems unfocused as plot-lines change.  Everything about this show seemed to take a very realistic twist to it – that I had begun truly imagining if these creature truly existed they would be exactly like Annie, Mitchell, and George during season one.
The US version seems to have the money – which shouldn’t be a selling point but it totally is. Most people talk up the special effects, and CGI utilization but I see this as more of a positive in respect to production and cinematography. Some of these shots are gorgeous. The lighting in their house could only get more gorgeous if the windows were suddenly turned into stained glass.  Props to production crew and cinematographers. This also gives them, sadly more potential as a whole. From the beginning they could go places the UK one could only reach through script/imagination which isn’t necessarily weak but weakening to plot exploits.

Its apparent to me, though most UK message board posts seem to not agree, that there is a great deal more planning going to the US version. It may have waited until episode 6 to truly change up some of its plot-lines but it is apparent that in the future they will be vastly different. Watching the UK version, at least up until season 3, I kept getting the feeling that someone wasn’t script supervising.  That they were always reaching for the shock when I still just wanted to be entertained. My loose example will be Annie and her touching AND not touching objects early in the series and people seeing then not seeing her. These sort of loose ends felt like broken lore. Sometimes that is my favorite part of a science fiction show: The new lore introduced into known “monsters” (Supernatural, Vampire Dairies, Buffy, etc).
It just started in some places it probably always wanted to go therefore subjecting the viewer to lose what could have been a fun experience.  Perhaps that is my problem – I find the US version to be more in tune with my taste of what I expect out of a reality breaking show.

Each cast is its own separate entity of cool. The characters on the UK version got my love first but every problem and judgment I had with Mitchell, George, and Annie seemed to straighten out (mostly) for Aiden, Josh, and Sally. This is where the US version has recently won my favor. Some of the changes have spun the plot more in my favor while keeping me on my toes guessing what will be similar and what will be different.  Here is a short character breakdown some major players and their counterparts and my purely opinion based garble.

Annie and Sally
Ghostly Annie was initially one of my favorite parts of the UK version. She is for the sure the most lovable out of both versions of the show. Between her cutesie voice and facial reactions, and tea I really enjoyed her.  But that is also my problem with her. She is frankly very weak even when she is “powerful”. Her choices always seem major but she barely seems to know why she is doing them. Her character drives should be more than satisfying the males in her life (or perhaps I was taking too many feminist courses while watching this show)
The US ghost, Sally, is certainly stronger, cruder, with more of a darkness that bleaches into her reality every now and then. Some people seem to have a problem with her but from the beginning I have liked this character more than her counterpart. Also she loves to say the word “boobies” which I happen to love as well.  I get an intense feeling of camaraderie from her and her US roomies which probably echos them growing closer in real life. It feels a bit more real even though I pride the UK series of holding more “reality”. Don’t get me wrong both these characters may cry at the same thing but while crying Sally will probably make some snide aside joke about her lack of life. She feels darker in herself, selling the idea of her being a ghost to me more.

Mitchell and Aiden
Mitchell the vampire was interesting as hell, especially his flashbacks, but it soon became known as someone I lost interest in as the series progressed. Some people seem to find his devotion more intense and therefore “better” than Aiden’s, in respects to blood consumption but I also sort of a got the impression that the more manic Mitchell got the less real his “devotion” was. He was emotionally stunted, and immature for someone who has been alive that long. Sure it broke the mold of what we expect from vampires on television but it also felt weak. I know Aiden is also “older” than Mitchell ultimately but why did Mitchell do nearly everything with the grasp of a middle-schooler – even down to giggling about sex.  He has lived. He has warred. He has basked in the blood of many… yet certain concepts seem too much for him. Although this could have been a private side of the show and how it wanted to communicate its vampires. One day he knows what’s for the best, and then next he’s doing the opposite all the while audience knows every move he is making is digger him deeper. Usually this sort of self (unknowing) harm is endlessly entertaining but he just came of as sort of illogical and dumbed down. I suppose some people found these character reversals interesting but to me it just broke the integrity of the character I thought they were. This could be my bad as I know I have made characters into something they aren’t in the past but truthfully Mitchell boggled my mind with most of his actions after season 1. And this is from someone who absolutely loved him for at least a season and half.
Aiden is older, a bit wiser, and more of a leader. This characteristic sort of fell more onto another character in the UK version so this was a bit of a surprise. He is much more “Angel” like but he is also much more like the character I created in my head. It is almost as if Vampire Aiden is trying to play “Human” Aiden while playing a whole other caricature of himself (or Angel LOL). Aiden playing Aiden playing Angel?Don’t get me wrong – It took me about 6-7 episode to even really like Aiden. Looking back I think the character kept making me think of Star Wars and therefore completely losing my train of thought whenever he was on screen (The Force Unleashed game). But now I like both him and his nifty flashbacks. Also no matter the mirrors between their origins Aiden is hitting me a bit closer to home. He just strikes me a more fitting for the character they seem to want him to be. Perhaps it was Mitchells nature but he just continued to fall short time after time – which means a hell of a lot metaphorically for his character but for show with such fanciful notions… YAWN

George and Josh
George was also the nobler, heroic character portrayed. His curse seemed truly horrible: And if you questioning that just imagine Georges continues insane screaming during EVERY SINGLE transformation. Sure by season 3 I was all “enough already” but initially it really brought the whole supernatural aspect to life with a frightening chill up my spine. I loved his strengths, faults, and everything in between. He is infinity more complex (than probably all these characters) while staying likable which should be commended. As the series progresses his “wolf” certainly brings him into a more angry jaded light. This is where I felt like they could have succeeded more – George took on all the characteristics I had sort of expected out of Mitchell. He makes the hard decisions.  Josh, I don’t think is even remotely ready for anything like that… WHICH IS HOW I LIKE IT. The US Josh, is socially awkward and seems to be staying in that wheelhouse. If he gets stronger, which he is slowly, I believe I would agree with such actions. George also took everything to a whole other level and while it was surprising it felt unrealistic to the character I thought I had known initially. Also I am fairly certain I never want to see a George ass-shoot ever again. It was so gratuitous – stop trying to make me giggle at bum shots while a character manically screaming because he is changing into a Werewolf.

A sure sign of my favorite the US version of this show is the character of Bishop and my love for him and all his badassery. Herrick being his counter was also one of my favorite parts of the UK version but Bishop surpassed him in all around villainy, intimidation, and smarts. It could be I am still madly in love with the idea of this being the same actor playing the near omnipotent Jacob on Lost but mostly it’s just me showing some love for an actor who is more talented and devoted to playing the shit out of this character.

For all these reasons I cannot stop watching Being Human… both UK and US. Both are very fun watches, but ultimately the US has more options to open up the series into something more epic and memorable. Also a degree of humor has been injected into the US version and there is nothing I like more than a show like that playing with itself. The grit and realism of its UK counterpart worked but had no lasting power for the characters, and the plot.
But really, what do I know.



~ by ATOM on February 11, 2012.

11 Responses to “Being Human: UK vs US”

  1. Totally agree! I am really loving the US version more than the UK version

  2. UK version was a lil better in my opinion, just really dislike Aidan and Sally especially Aidan. Bishop just seemed to be a knock off Herrick with no back up plans at all. And with Sally it looked as if all they did was look for people who look like Lenora regardless if talented or not.


  3. While I enjoy both versions of the show I much prefer the UK based original. The show is supposed to be a comedy drama and all the glossyness of the US version kind of ruins that for me but then again I know the US version is just based around the same original premise and is not intended as a direct remake.
    I have to laugh also at the typical “beautifull people” aproach of the US version, for example, firstly the George/Josh character, in both versions of the show they are socialy awkward and a little bumbling but the UK version George is far more average and plain looking in comparison with Josh in the US version. Secondly the Herrick/Bishop characters, the UK’s Herrick is a middle aged, slightly overweight character in stark comparisson to the US’s much younger and slimmer looking Bishop. Thirdly we have the Mitchell/Aiden characters, while the UK’s Mitchell is certainly a good looking guy he also has the appearance of your average guy in the street, the US’s Aiden just seems far too chiseled and “hunky” (R.Patz in Twiglight/Angel from Buffy???). Lastly we have the Annie/Sally characters, while both are very attractive women Annie has a much more natural, wholesome look about her in comparison with Sally’s more glammed up beauty, she looks like so many other US starlets with perfect teeth and looking like she could use a good meal (same could be said for the Nina/Nora characters too).
    Production values and casting of actors aside, another glaring difference in my opinion is the US versions apparent need to make the story have a much grander and wider reaching global scale which to me seems to indicate the US writers inability to create the story more around the central characters and their need to pad things out to fill up screen time.
    So there we go, my humble opinions on both versions of the show and just to reiterate what I said at the start, I really do enjoy both versions of the show but the UK version just edges out into the lead for me.

  4. The thing I love most about the UK is that it feels so very much like the real world – nothing is glossed over. The characters look like real people off the street and have crappy jobs and swear and go through so much little day-to day stuff that we can relate to, from tiffs over who’s not pulling their weight to proclamations that they really need to use the loo. Something the US version seems to have done (as a forewarning I’m only on episode 3) is hammer all of that gritty realism out, just like we all knew they would. It suddenly all becomes very clean-cut, down to every detail – the actors’ looks, the settings, and God forbid we get a butt shot or the use of the F-word. In combination, it takes the heart out a bit. It makes it feel that much more like a TV show.

    But I admit that there are a few upsides. One are the effects, which is another thing we all knew to expect. American remakes always mean bigger budgets, better technology. Sally’s smoke effect when someone goes through her, Aidan’s displays of super strength, and actually getting to see Josh’s bones grow and change up close are all very neat. Without some of those effects it was sometimes easy to forget that the protagonists were supernatural creatures in the UK version – especially in Annie’s case, who was more or less a regular person that some people just happened not to be able to see. I also like Aidan’s heightened maturity because, yes, Mitchell often came across as young, inconsistent, and rash. He was a bad boy. I like a more weighted, jaded, and grown-up quality to a man who’s more than a century old and has mass murder in his past.

  5. With all due respect, I think you like the US version more because your looking at both shows through a very American lens.
    Most obvious is your critique of the UK version for showing George’s ass and accusing it of trying to make you ‘giggle’ but that isn’t the point at all! Europeans just aren’t as prudish about nudity as American’s are so showing some butte cheeks just isn’t a big deal.

    Secondly you seem to be judging the shows not on their quality, writing, or acting, but based on how you would have written it-which doesn’t exactly make it better.

  6. I have only watched a few episodes of the U.S. version, but so far it seems the quality of writing as far as dialogue was much better in the UK version.
    Mitchell and George were always dropping witty asides, and they really sold the ridiculous things they did, such as Mitchell being almost giddy with excitement about inviting all the neighbors over for tea. Aidan does the same thing but he doesn’t seem very interested in it, leaving the impression that he is just doing it because it’s in the script.
    Overall the dialogue in the U.S. version feels predictable and bland. I’m going to try a few more episodes but not sure I will finish.

  7. “But really what do I know” -Sagebeth ❤

  8. I am sorry, but after watching the UK version of the show, it was almost nauseating to watch mediocre acting of American actors. And I am writing this from the US. UK version is brilliant and makes the show very realistic. The theater oriented British education of actors beats special effects and “hunkness” of American actors every time.
    The biggest problem for US version, in my opinion, is the ghost. I fell in love with Annie, whereas Sally’s character is pathetic in comparison. I take Lenora over whoever is playing US version any time.

  9. I much prefer the British version! It seems far more realistic. The actors seem to have a better insight of their character, where as the American versions, it just seems that they chose a kind of stereotype and over dramatised it! But i think what really gets me about the american version is the lack of subtleness! It seems to show things that shouldnt be shown, and miss things that need to be shown! It seems like they are a bit scared of being shocking! They seem to need to have to explain things in full details, not allowing the audience get there on their own!


    There are a few examples of this, such as when Nora gets scratched, they then have to remind you when it happened, even though it was about ten minutes early! Or when Aidan is sent the sex tape… for some reason the showed Rebecca (even though in pretty much all vampire lore, an image of a vampire can not be captured). In the British one, not having Lauren actually in the sex tape made it just a whole lot creepier, and then to watch the child watching the tape, it was just shocking! Im sure i could carry on with loads of examples


    One thing that you mentioned was the humour and how you thought the us remake injected humour in to it! However I havent laughed once at the us remake where i was always giggling at the UK original! Maybe this is just due to finding the humour different, but i just felt that the US make was a little to serious, and when it tried to be funny, it just seemed a little silly!

    All in all however i do enjoy both alot! Plus i like that the American series is now heading off the beaten track, adding in their own story lines. Im really interested where its going! However my last point about it is that I find the series too long! They doubled the length of the series to delve further in to character relationships, however by doing this, episodes start to drag, and they miss out chunks of what may not be important to the story, but are important to the show!

  10. Ok, so I binged watched the whole (as of right now) of the US version in less than a week, so obviously I loved it. I decided I wanted to watch the UK version, but then I was looking something up on IMDb midway through the first episode and realized that the main characters were probably killed off based on the number of episodes they were in. I didn’t finish the episode. That’s just dumb to kill off all the main characters; there is no way that I’m going to watch a few seasons only to have the building blocks of it swiped away. Sorry, not sorry. Besides, the first episode seemed off to me, but that’s probably because I watched the US version first. I enjoyed seeing the development of the three characters. I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a series not the beginning of one. It just didn’t feel right to me; however, I’m sure people who watched the UK version first feel the same about the US version.


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