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Being Human: Season Three

(2011) *** Unrated
460 min. BBC.

/content/films/4064/1.jpgI'm not sure if the producers of Being Human realized at the outset of Season Three that they'd soon be losing one of their stars, Aidan Turner, to a film career (starting with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit twofer), but it sure seems that way. Turner's character of Mitchell, a century-old vampire, gets a go-for-broke story arc that sends him off in a satisfying way. (Fear not, Being Human fans: the series poised to continue with co-stars Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow and Sinead Keenan.)

Following the Box Tunnel 20 massacre that closed out Season Two, Mitchell and his roommates—werewolves George and Nina (Tovey and Keenan)—have moved from Bristol to Barry Island in South Wales. There, they hope against hope to save their other roomie Annie (Crichlow), a ghost currently trapped in purgatory and fearing Hell is next. It's no spoiler alert to give away that Mitchell succeeds in doing so, but in the process he's given a prophecy that a "werewolf-shaped bullet" will be the end of him. Indeed, two more werewolfs are prowling in the vicinity: guileless young man Tom McNair (Michael Socha) and his gruff, isolationist father (Robson Green). There's also the unfinished business of evil vampire William Herrick (Jason Watkins), who rose from the apparently dead at the end of Season Two.

Season Three's eight episodes also investigates the possibility of a romantic relationship between Mitchell and Annie, the fear-inducing pregnancy of Nina, and an awkward reunion of George and George Sr. (James Fleet). The focus remains on exploring the essential humanity of characters most people view as monsters (as George says, “Just because we’re normal doesn’t mean we can’t be—normal”). As created (and usually written) by Toby Whithouse, Being Human continues to inject winning humor and oddball domesticity into the supernatural thriller genre, though Season Three skews darker than the previous two seasons. Even the wonderfully funny Watkins—so good the series couldn't bear to leave him dead—returns in a way that initially robs him of his wisecracking (now an amnesiac, he's forgotten that he's bad) but gives the actor new opportunities to shine.

The season holds its biggest surprises in store for the big finish, a swan song for Mitchell that will send the show's most loyal fans into paroxysms of sadness. Once they've recovered, they'll have to admit the season ender is dramatically satisfying, if a long way from the relatively cozy household farce that dominated Season One. The show has grown up, and though it remains to be seen whether a fourth season without Turner will be worth the effort, I'd venture to guess that plenty will tune in to find out.

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Aspect ratios: 1.78:1

Number of discs: 3

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0

Street date: 5/3/2011

Distributor: BBC Home Video

2 entertain Video and the BBC give Being Human: Season Three a treatment that's consistent with the previous two season sets. The transfers are, again, 1080i, and while they're not as dazzling as we're accustomed to seeing in 1080p, they deliver an attractive picture nevertheless. I feel confident that this is how the show is meant to look: as a BBC drama, it doesn't boast the most vibrant of colors, but the image is quite sharp, with satisfying detail and texture. Sound is limited to lossy Dolby Digital 2.0, sufficient to deliver clarity but obviously not up to the hi-def standard.

A few fine bonus features reside on the set's third disc, starting with seven intriguing “Deleted Scenes” (11:59, HD) that are well worth a look. The “Extended Cast Interviews” (21:43, HD) are terrific; I wish more cast interviews were presented this way, unadorned by clips and frenetic editing. Instead, we get Aidan Turner, Lenora Crichlow, Russell Tovey, and Sinead Keenan sitting down and discussing the show, specifically their character arcs and their feelings as actors, including the experience of saying goodbye to Mitchell and the actor who plays him. Lastly, we get “Sinead’s Set Tour” (5:15, HD), a charming walkthrough that makes Keenan seem like the nicest, coolest person one could hope to have on a set.

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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