Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mainstreaming Horror / Being Human

Mitchell - Quite popular with the ladies,
and some gentlemen I know as well
In my last post I talked briefly about the different Vampire offerings currently out there in popular culture, and totally forgot to mention Being Human, the new series of which has just started tonight.
For those of you that are unaware of the genius that is Being Human, it is, in short, a 'comedy-drama' about a Vampire, two Werewolves and a Ghost that all live together and their attempts at living 'normal' lives, in spite of their various disabilities.

It's not really a comedy, it's more a finely observed character piece, with humour arising from the juxtaposition of banal normality and the fact that they're monsters with unfortunate issues (hunger for blood, anger issues, transforming at the full moon, being invisible and dead etc).
Tonight's episode focussed on Mitchell (the Vampire) trying to atone for his murdering of 20 people last series by rescuing Annie (the Ghost) from purgatory (where she found herself after being exorcised last series), George and Nina (the Werewolf couple) attempting to find a safe place to transform during the full moon without endangering themselves, each other or passing innocents, and a sub-plot about two new Werewolves becoming aware of the main characters presence in the area.

Annie - had a hard knock life
In the past we've seen how Vampires organise themselves and the politics of succession and subterfuge they practice, how pissed the afterlife gets with Ghosts that don't cross over when it's there time and what they do about it, and what coping strategies Werewolves adopt to deal with their lunar cycle, as well as what can happen if they deny the wolf, and manage to avoid the change.

After watching it, my wife remarked that what she liked about Being Human the most was that it's just so British. The characters are really grounded with British (and I guess, Irish) values, reactions and habits. Refreshingly, it's not set in London, with the first two series set in Bristol, and the current third series set just outside Cardiff.
Americans - pay attention. If you wish to set a World of Darkness, or any modern horror game, in the UK, then here is your source material. Watch, take notes, look the references they make to UK TV and culture up on Wikipedia.

George - I believe that the special effects guys may have seen
American Werewolf in London once or twice
Right now I can see a workable WoD cross over game that uses Being Human as its core inspiration. The various Morality systems used with the WoD games complement the 'treasure' of Being Human very well, even the Harmony system of Werewolf: The Foresaken. George tries to deny his Werewolf nature, and gains a derangement for his efforts, he is usually more confident and capable when involved with other Werewolves, and has clearly adopted Mitchell and Annie into his pack.