Monday, March 21, 2011

My Review of Becoming Human

Written by Brian Dooley And Jamie Mathieson And John Jackson
Directed by Alex Kalymnios

Adam: “Someone once told me the way to stay true was to surround yourself with good people but first I have to go back to school.”

Really, it’s like Being Human meets The Breakfast Club but if anything that’s more of a draw than a put off. I already liked Adam when he appeared in the parent show and now in this online spin-off, so I was more than happy to see his character expand in this adventure. I certainly wasn’t disappointed either.

Adam clearly took most of the advice given to him George and Nina to heart because why else would he integrate himself into society by returning to school and trying to make friends? I always find it weird when vampires decide to go to school. College I understand but school, not really seeing the appeal.

Adam’s attempts of fitting in though started off pretty badly. In less than two minutes he managed to incur the wrath of both Danny Curtis and Brandy Mulligan (or is it Crompton?) and it’s not until he came into direct contact with werewolf Christa and ghost Matt that his own little gang came to life.

If this is going to be a teen version of Being Human, then Adam was definitely going to need werewolf and ghost allies but there was something delightfully Scooby Doo about these three supernatural folk coming together, especially considering that Matt’s death was a mystery that needed solving rather sharpish.

When it comes to Matt, this whole online series might be carting out as many clichés as possibly – geeky, overweight, secretly fancying a girl who doesn’t feel the same way (i.e. Christa) and bullied for the last six years but never does the character feel like an overt caricature. Some of the flashbacks of Matt in the moments leading to his death are a bit cheesy though but that’s a minor quibble.

I really enjoyed the way the gang went through most of the suspects though. I knew that neither Danny the bully nor Brandy the mob girl would be Matt’s actual killers but that was more down to how early they were dealt with and less to do with the obvious clanger that Matt wanted to keep his new friendships with Adam and Christa going.

However I was a little disappointed that Mr Swann wasn’t the culprit but that was more down to the fact that I hated the jerk, even though when I did PE myself, I never had the misfortune of dealing with an idiot like him. I suppose Swann will live on as an antagonist of sorts if this gets picked up for another run.

As for the seemingly harmless Mr Rowe being the killer, I guess I should’ve seen that coming. In some ways, he was like an adult version of Matt – being berated and used by co-workers in his adult life and I guess by Matt keying his car, Rowe finally snapped and just killed the poor lad.

Of course I don’t feel all that bad for Rowe – he did kill Matt and he would’ve killed both Adam and Christa if neither of them had the sense to chuck him through the door intended for Matt. However while it might be a good thing that Matt’s here to stay, I like the fact that Adam is aware of consequences likely to occur with Rowe’s unexpected journey into the afterlife.

For a fifty minute special on BBC3, this did essentially everything it needed to do. It gave us a decent mystery and solved it respectively whilst adhering to the mythology of the parent show but more important, it gave us three likeable and interesting characters to root for in the process too.

Adam might be able to control himself a little better but he did have moments where he could’ve slipped with both Brandy and Rowe and he might need to tone the werewolf bashing a little as well but overall in spite of some resistance, I could see a romantic relationship between him and Christa developing in the future.

Christa spent a large segment of this story actively trying to deny her true nature until she was put in a position where she needed to admit it to help Matt out. As long as they don’t go overkill on the angst with her, I think she will be a great character to watch. I enjoyed most of her sarcasm with both Adam and Matt.

I’d say however out of the three main characters, Matt is possibly the one that will be seen as an identification figure with his social ineptitude and terrible luck in general. I hope that if more of this spin-off comes that we see him develop beyond that though.

Also in “Becoming Human”

This originally aired online in eight instalments but BBC3 aired the whole thing together, which is how I watched it.

Christa (re Adam): “What was that anyway? The stuff he said, it was like he knew but that’s impossible. Then again, the whole what’s possible and what’s impossible thing is under review right now.”

Apart from Craig Roberts as Adam, the only other person I recognised was Emma Rigby from Hollyoaks who played Brandy in this. Craig seems to have a thing for blondes.

Matt: “This is what happens when the supernaturals get together. They use their powers to solve crimes and stuff, like the X-Men.”

Danny (re Matt): “Guessing he wasn’t stabbed then because they would’ve needed a big knife to get through that blubber.”

Fat jokes aside, there was a lot of comments about eggs with Matt. I like eggs too but probably not as much as Matt though.

Brandy (to Adam): “Do you wanna be in a story? How do you think it’d go? Silly little school boy asked too many questions.”

Christa: “How is Brandy, still alive?”
Adam: “She’s not my type.”
Christa: “Didn’t think you were such a fussy eater.”

Standout music: A lot of it was good but I didn’t recognise any of the bands in this one.

Christa: “Have you ever looked back at your actions of a drunken night and thought – was that really me? Because that’s what a full moon is like the morning after.”

Matt: “So does that mean I can stay?”
Adam: “I suppose for now.”

Chronology: None is really reference. We don’t know how much time has passed for Adam since “Adam’s Family” or where exactly this spin-off is located.

Whether you want to see this as an eight part mini-series or a potential pilot for a future spin-off show, either way, Becoming Human is definitely a worthy addition to the Being Human universe. Definitely worth watching.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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