Directed by Declan O’Dwyer
Annie: “Normal people can’t see me.”
George: “I’m normal!”
Annie: “Sorry, by normal, I don’t mean those who turn into the littlest hobo once a month.”
Had I organised myself much better, I so would’ve written this review of the original pilot before BBC3 aired the first season but they do say, better late than never and at nearly sixteen months since original transmission, I hope that saying still applies.
Being Human started off as a series of six pilots, with the other five not being that very gripping. It’s easy see why this pilot would become the lucky one to spawn into a series. The potential here is hard not to see.
The idea of a vampire, werewolf and a ghost sharing a place together is bonkers, maybe unoriginal but incredibly inspired. In the first few minutes, we’re introduced to Mitchell and George while we have to wait halfway through the episode for Annie to show up.
Mitchell’s a vampire and one who’s making a conscious effort to keep himself in check with his baser impulses. From what we’ve seen in the series with Aidan Turner, that’s a struggle and with Guy Flanagan, the struggle is also every bit as prominent in the opening sequence.
Was there anyone surprised that the moment Mitchell and Lauren started having sex that he would either kill or turn her? It’s not something that shocks but Mitchell’s scenes with Seth (who’s a right bastard, even in this episode) indicated that he hadn’t intended to turn Lauren to the other side.
Mitchell’s struggle with his vampiric nature is something the pilot beautifully explores as do the series. Against George’s cynicism, he wholeheartedly believed that he deserved to be more than a creature in the dark and one of the ways of proving that to himself was to move into a house.
Given that George was also seeking for normalcy, it was understandable that moving into a house was the ideal of situations for him. He liked the idea of having one thing that would be non-supernatural and given how much George also struggles with the wolf in me, I did feel sympathetic for him.
Of course, Annie caused the spanner in the works by being another supernatural aspect of George and Mitchell’s lives. As soon as the estate agent was obligated into admitting that other people had found the house creepy, it seemed only fair to assume that a ghost would be present.
The Annie we meet here is equally as loveable as the one from the series and it also equally as insecure as well. We know nothing of her death and it’s fairly obvious that Annie herself is clueless about what exactly killed her. Her refusal to leave the house though raised some interesting moments.
One moment in particular were Mitchell and George trying to discuss privately about Annie staying with them. It made sense that George would want her gone but it was also nice that he seemed to soften towards her at the end of the episode as well. After all, Annie did prevent him from killing his ex-fiancée Julia.
That was another interesting aspect of the opening episode. Because he became a werewolf George fled from the love of his life, only to bump into her in the same hospital that he worked in. Julia made a lot of wry observations about George’s IQ and strength of character.
George showed some real strength of character when he threatened to kill Julia’s fiancé Peter. Given how much of a nasty toad Peter revealed himself to be, I almost wished George had carried out his threat. Julia looked horrified at George roughing up Peter but I also think it was enough for her to get the strength to dump him.
After all, just because George abandoned her, there’s no reason why she should be with someone as controlling and abusive as Peter. As for her finding her out about George being a werewolf, it certainly led to the best scene of the episode.
One thing I will continue to praise this show on is the werewolf process for George. It genuinely looks painful for him to change and Russell Tovey played an absolute blinder during those scenes. There were moments where even I had difficulty in watching George go through the process.
Of course the big reveal did mean that Julia wasn’t able to cope with it. I guess I couldn’t blame her but I did love her words of encouragement for George as well as her brief conversation with Annie as well. Due to Nina playing such a huge role in the first season, I think it’s safe to assume that Julia won’t be resurfacing in the near future.
As for Mitchell, this episode certainly ended on a big doozy for him. First off, there was Lauren overly enjoying the idea of being a vampire (someone’s read way too much Anne Rice), even to the extent of taunting Mitchell. Lauren seemed pretty ready to kill, she even talked about George. But we all know that Lauren will be the least of his regrets in the first season.
The other big problem was Herrick. I guess he’s a boss of sorts to Mitchell and he’s also one that wants to redress the balance. His little ‘aren’t humans savages?’ speech raised some interesting points; one that I think even Mitchell had some problems in trying to counter effectively.
As for their chequered history, it does feel very mentor/favoured student in the way Herrick and Mitchell address each other. Whatever plans of normality Mitchell might have liked to embrace pretty much got flushed down the toilet thanks to Herrick’s arrival in town.
Also in “The Monsters Inside”
This aired during February 2008 as one of six pilots for a series. It was in April of the same year that we found out it was going to become a series.
Lauren (to Mitchell): “You intrigue us. You don’t use lines. You talk about ancient machinery. You do conjuring tricks. Your eyes, they’re sad even when you laugh. When you look at me, it’s heavy. It’s old.”
For some bizarre reason when the first season of the series was released on DVD, this wasn’t included. Thank God for YouTube.
George (re not killing): “Why now?”
Mitchell: “When in Rome, stop killing the Romans.”
Julia: “I thought you died. We grieved for you and now you turn up here. What are you, a doctor or something?”
George: “I’m a porter.”
George has got an IQ of a 156, he’s Jewish and Mitchell considered getting him a cage for when he had to wolf out.
Estate Agent: “The back of the house doesn’t get much sunlight.”
Mitchell: “I’m not mad on sunlight.”
George (re Estate Agent): “How can she think we are gay?”
Mitchell: “Yeah – I am way out of your league.”
In a world where Fanfiction is so widespread, I’ve read enough stuff that would convince that Mitchell and George would make a cute couple.
Mitchell: “Why are you here?”
Annie: “Told you, I like it here.”
Mitchell: “I mean generally, why are you here?”
Annie: “I don’t know.”
George: “You’re lucky this isn’t tomorrow.”
Peter: “Yeah, what happens then?”
George: “Monsters come out.”
Mitchell seemed very perturbed by being called dangerous twice in this episode. I also like that him and George are porters. It works for the series. What’s up with the men with sticks and ropes that Annie discussed with Mitchell?
Annie (to George, re death): “It’s actually just as you’d imagine. It’s like in films, a good place.”
Herrick (to his followers): “I promise it’ll be painless and quick. I wonder how many times we’ve said that.”
Standout music: Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”, Pulp’s “Common People” and Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”.
Julia: “I thought you were gay.”
George: “That would’ve been easier.”
Julia: “Struggling to think of something that wouldn’t.”
Herrick (to Mitchell): “Everything’s about to change. It’s just nature. Like tectonic plates moving and shifting. And it all begins here. Now. You’ll need to decide who your friends are.”
Chronology: I think it might have been based in the latter half of 2008.
For a preview pilot, this is a wonderful precursor into one of the strongest and most engaging of series that we’ve had in a long time. If you haven’t seen it, then certainly seek out, by any means possible.
Rating: 9 out of 10.