Whoa. Déjà vu. I watched a show and then another one that looked just like it. How much like it? Was it the same show? Well, that's still to be determined. I'm talking about Syfy's Being Human.
When I heard Syfy was producing a remake of one of my favorite British shows I was less than enthused. Things like this rarely go well, one glaring exception being The Office, which has faired very well here in the states. But I will say this, besides the show taking place in Bristol, there isn't anything inherently British about the plot of Being Human. It really is something that could be played in almost any local so I decided I'd give the new show a shot and try to keep an open mind.
I hadn't kept up with much about the American Being Human before it aired so I was confused during the first episode when I realize they had changed all the characters' names. Annie, Mitchell and George were now Sally, Aidan and Josh with actors Meaghan Rath, Sam Witwer and Sam Huntington. My only guess is this was an attempt to eliminate confusion when discussing the two different series because otherwise it makes no sense. I have not seen Rath's work before, she hasn't been in anything I would have watched, but you may remember Witwer from such shirtless roles as Crashdown in Battlestar Galactica and Doomsday in Smallville. He's also the voice and likeness of Starkiller in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Huntington should be easily recognizable by comic fans, he played Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns, he also starred in Fanboys.
With the first two episodes of the Syfy series watched I would have to say I got the same feeling from it that I did when I started the British series. Of course that's because the premise is exactly the same, three miserable and lonely people (who just happen to be a ghost, vampire and werewolf) find each other and decide to live in the same apartment. Being a ghost, Sally can't leave the apartment anyway so she didn't have as much choice in the matter. Aidan, like Mitchell, is trying to be a good vampire and not eat people, while Josh is trying to keep his loved ones at arms lengths to prevent them from being hurt by his werewolf curse.
Besides the same premise and characteristics, there are some tweaks made to the American version. Unlike in the British series where Mitchell himself turns the character Lauren into a vampire when he slips up, the girl Aidan drains in this version (Rebecca) is unwittingly turned into a vampire by his "friends" instead. Speaking of friends, Jason Watkins' Herrick, the lead vampire from the BBC series is played by a familiar actor here. You may remember him as Jacob from Lost, Mark Pellegrino. He's called Bishop this time around and the respect/hate relationship between him and Aidan has remained. Sally's story is identical to Annie's so far (and I find it oddly amusing they gave her almost the exact wardrobe Annie wears) but Josh gets an added twist. His sister is brought into the show to signify his previous departure from family and friends.
Aidan not turning Rebecca himself is definitely a major plot change and similarly, Josh's sister being added will also likely lead to the show taking different paths from the original show. It already has in a way. Even though the first two episodes were very similar, I don't see the show continuing along the same path as the British version for too long. Or if they do, I don't expect it to stay on the air. Without a doubt there are many people watching who have never seen the BBC Being Human but there are a lot like me who have seen both and simply don't want to watch a copy when we could easily watch the superior version (which just began its third season).
There's not as much blood and gore in the Syfy series, which the BBC show never shied away from. I expected that but bottom line, it's still enjoyable. If you've never watched the BBC's Being Human I would HIGHLY recommend it but for now Syfy's Being Human is an acceptable substitute if you like ghosts, vampires and werewolves...being human.