Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Fangers, Digby and Casper: True Blood vs. Being Human
(True Blood's Jessica getting frisky...not in a good way.)
I've just finished watching the finale of True Blood series 3. And it was great, a lot of fun, just like the season overall and a marginal improvement on season 2.
But though this season had its fair share of inspired and messed up 'HOLY C**P!' moments (head twisting sex springs to mind) I didn't find myself particularly involved in what was going on. Part of the problem for me has been the werewolves. The furry critters made their début on the show this year. And that's cool. I love werewolves. They are by far my favourite mythical monster. Unfortunately the werewolves in True Blood ended up being a bit crap. They were mostly shallow and dimwitted trailer trash thugs. And as for the vampires... Well, Bill proved himself yet again to be a right arse. Luckily Eric is still pretty cool and I do still love Jessica. Other than that I don't much like the vamps in this show, though I did appreciate seeing more of their supernatural side this year. I loved it when their invitation to a home gets revoked and they then get invisibly dragged in reverse back outside. The series ended with several plot threads and a couple of cliffhangers ready for series 4.
Don't get me wrong, True Blood is still a highly watchable and enjoyable series full of great actors, high production values and messed up creativity. It even manages the odd good scare. Perhaps it's the format of fast paced plotting, loads of characters, gratuitous sex and gore that is starting to wear a tinsy bit thin with me. I kinda need something more for long term viewing. A bit more depth and a bit more weight maybe?
Speaking of vamps and werewolves I've also been re-watching series 1 of the BBC's Being Human. It is easy to forget just how awesome this show is. True Blood is a lot of fun but for my money we Brits here in Bristol (though now Cardiff for series 3...Boo!) have the superior show. It may not have the budget or gloss of True Blood but the writing to my mind is sharper, more focussed, more considered and a lot more meaningful. It is also primarily a character driven show whereas True Blood is mostly plot and incident driven, possibly suffering somewhat from too many characters and disparate story threads. For instance, in True Blood I like Lafayette but I wasn't remotely interested in his story this year nor really in the story of Sam and his family. In contrast, the beauty of Being Human is that the focus of the show is always on the three main characters: Annie the ghost, Mitchell the vampire and George the werewolf, and on their simple desire and struggle to have a quiet ordinary life. Being Human takes the trials and tribulations of real everyday life and gives them a supernatural twist. But it remains always utterly relatable. The point of the show is in its title. It acts as a mirror and an ode to what being human on a day to day level means. It's pretty much what Joss did with Buffy and why that show still works and resonates so well. Oh yeah, it also doesn't hurt that Being Human's main bad guy Herrick is simply one of THE best vampire villains ever. Jason Watkins rules! Plus the werewolves in Being Human are waaay better than the ones in True Blood.
In the end True Blood and Being Human are very different shows doing different things with the supernatural. And I appreciate them both. Though, for me, Being Human is the superior entity as it manages to do so much more with a lot less. Plus its local to me so I'm bias.