TV recasting seem to have a bit of a renaissance. Misfits have lost almost their entire cast now (and frankly, I don’t see Lauren Socha hanging on too much longer), Ashton Kutcher is being paid an ungodly amount of money to be not funny on a weekly basis, and we’ve just had her off of Emmerdale announced as Karen Gillan’s replacement on the Who. The tendency is for mass recastings to be a jumping of the shark for most shows, so I was really worried to hear three quarters of the stars of Being Human wouldn’t be there for this, it’s fourth series.
So SPOILER ALERT Mitchell got staked, Nina got beaten to death by vampires, and George half-transformed and his kidneys exploded or something. However amazing series 3 was (and it was) it could be said that it could have done with a few more laughs, or at the very least the occasional rest from the unending grimness. So it’s quite surprisingly to discover that the brutal deaths of most of beloved characters actually leads to a brightening of the atmosphere in Honolulu Heights.
Of course, everything is relative, and there’s still plenty of blood, gore and death for you sadists to enjoy (episodes one and seven are, in particular, very dark) but this year everything just seems funnier and silly, with much of the Odd Couple routine from series one reprised by Hal and Tom, who as it turns out are actually better at it than George and Mitchell.
Much of the success of this series is down to these two new characters. Well, I say “new”, Tom was of course recurring during series 3 with crazy vampire slayer wolf dad Robson Green (an INSANE combination of words) but here he’s really able to shine. He’s just so sweet and naive, even when ruthlessly staking vampires, that it’s completely impossible not to adore him. Michael Socha is fantastic in the part making a fairly ridiculous character on paper, into someone completely believable and relatable. I’m not sure whether I fancy him though. I mean, he’s good looking and everything but it’s mental how much he looks like his sister (the sure to be soon departing Misfits star Lauren, who plays Kelly). It’s genuinely spooky.
Hal, on the other hand is beautiful and I love him. The character isn’t amazing, he’s just too similar to Mitchell. A legendary vampire, with ancient connections to local bad guys, who is trying to live a blood-free existence. Yawn. The thing he has going for him (apart from the whole matinee idol looks thing) is the fact that I actually believe that Hal wants to change and is trying really hard, whereas Mitchell always whined on and on, but would drink blood at every opportunity he had. Yeah, I never particularly liked Mitchell.
Then there’s Annie. Poor neglected Annie. For the last three years, she’s had to wander around the house, not being allowed to do much, supporting the other characters and being lumped with a not particularly convincing romance. So now, with a baby and the new characters and everything, Annie’s actually been given a chance to shine, as the sort of matriarch of the house. There are also some heavy rumours flying around that in Sunday’s big finale she’s going to cross over. I’ll miss her, and Lenora Crichlow who is amazing, but maybe it’s time. But if there’s one thing that needs to happen before she does go, it’s that the writers need to LET HER USE HER AWESOME TELEKINETIC POWERS. After going on an awesome rampage at the end of series 1, blasting vampires and whatnot, she’s only been allowed to destroy a murderer ghost and throw an old man over a garden wall. Let her blow shit up in an epic way!
As with every year, there have been various one off characters coming in to move along the different storylines, with varying degrees of success. I liked Adam’s return and thought his student/teacher, vampire/succubus (it makes sense in context) plot was surprisingly sweet. I also quite enjoyed Mark Williams as a rather different sort of vampire. However, some of the other guests… Well, Future!Eve for one is terrible and since BBC Three can’t afford a decent battle scene, it was up to her to describe some awful vampire atrocities which she completely wasn’t up to. Others seemed to think it was the time to turn on the ham, including the emo girl who went off with Arthur Weasley, Tom’s geeky girlfriend and JAMES LANCE as a serial killer ghost who was just so fucking creepy, I don’t buy for a moment that Annie would have been stupid enough to trust him just because he seemed to know Nina.
But the nice thing was, each mini-storyline has seemed to push forward the main narrative, with the baby, Future!Eve, the burnt arm prophecy, and what seems to be Annie’s passing over all not only referenced each episode but actually sort of the motivation behind each storyline. I’ve been very impressed with how they’ve done their “arc” this year, much more subtle than even Doctor Who does it (the year no one could fucking shut up about Torchwood was the worst).
And, however well the new boys have settled in, if Annie really is going to pass over in Sunday’s massive finale, could they lease not replace her with the Scottish girl? Alex, I think her name is. Because she’s awful. She might be OK at the dramatic bits but I’ve had poos with better comedic timing. I feel like her joining in might be one recast too many, but it totally seems like that’s where it’s going…