THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!
[Photos: Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW for Beauty & The Beast; Phillipe Bosse/SyFy for Being Human]
It’s officially summer. Time for sun, surf, margaritas and tawdry romance. If you’re a Beauty & The Beast fan, you’re probably already pining away for the start of the new season in the fall. What’s a beastie to do in the meantime? Sure, you can watch season one of BATB over and over, but at some point, you may experience burnout. May I, your humble scifi4me.com BATB recapper, make a suggestion?
Run, don’t walk, to a convenient source of previously aired TV shows, and watch Being Human (US version) starting with season one. Now, why would you crazy kids have any interest in Being Human, if you’re a beastie? BATB centers on NYC detective Cat Chandler (as played by Kristin Kreuk), still recovering from her mother’s murder years earlier. Detective Chandler’s paramour Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) is a well-structured former physician now living off the grid, a beast with a heart of gold who endured medical experiments resulting in super-strength, enhanced senses and a need for anger management. The show leaps back and forth between sci fi, romance, thriller and police procedural.
Being Human’s genre, however, is supernatural/paranormal fantasy. Vampire Aidan Waite (Sam Witwer), werewolf Josh Levison (Sam Huntington), and ghost Sally Malik (Meaghan Rath) live together in a Boston brownstone, striving to maintain their humanity. Being Human is really more than just that tiny synopsis, however. Thus, I’ve taken it upon myself, my dear reader/viewer, to demonstrate how various plot points and characters that enrich BATB also enrich Being Human. This week, I’ll count down reasons 17-28 why you should be watching BH if you love BATB, and next week, reasons 1-16.
Reason 28: Fugues
Vincent’s fugues provided a plot point that ultimately prevented Cat and Vincent from first hooking up (they were supposed to go away together for the first time, remember?). In season three, Aidan also experiences fugues, only with more dire consequences. Oh, what the conflicted mind will do to itself for the sake of protection.
Reason 27: Going underground
Vincent and J.T. have gone underground to ensure Vincent’s safety from Muirfield. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s say that Aidan also needs to go underground for a time near the end of season two.
Reason 26: Facial expressions
If you have followed my recaps, you know that I’m a fan of Kristin Kreuk’s subtle, yet oh-so-loud facial expressions. Her one-eyed eye roll when Gabe meets her for the first time in the women’s dressing room is an expression for the ages. But Ms. Kreuk has got nothing on Sam Witwer of BH. He is the man of a million faces, but perhaps my favorite is that wide-eyed Kewpie doll expression of his when he’s caught off guard. And while his character is one that has experienced more than his fair share of pathos, he does occasionally crack a smile that employs his whole face. When that happens, the whole world stops and stares for a while.
Reason 25: Men in uniform
Granted, Josh and Aidan typically wear scrubs, given their hospital employment, and in Vincent’s case, we’ve seen both scrubs and army greens. All three characters make those uniforms look good.
Reason 24: Men in black
We get so used to seeing our handsome leads in well-fashioned street wear, it’s often a delicious shock when we see them dressed to the hilt. Vincent gussied up for Cat’s father’s wedding and for the masquerade ball…wow, just wow. But when Aidan and Josh are also dressed for an important wedding event in their own show, they are serious contenders.
Reason 23: Mother issues
Something about mothers behaving badly shocks us. If moms can’t be expected to behave properly, is there no hope for the rest of us? We ended season one of BATB uncertain about Cat’s mother’s character. Is she a good guy, or a bad guy? In BH, you get similar conflicts with Sally’s mother, when she makes some choices that challenge notions about moms and their own needs. And then, there’s Mother on BH. Essentially queen of the vampires, Mother is one tough mother and is not afraid to exercise tough love with her children.
Reason 22: Old exes
When old exes resurface, it throws characters off balance. Case in point: Alex on BATB. Enough said, right? On BH, Josh’s ex-fiancee Julia appears for a few episodes in season 2, and Josh faces major decisions. The situation is ultimately resolved, but in a completely unanticipated fashion. This girl’s opinion: the writers on BH made the “old ex” story arc in BH more interesting, relatable, and smarter than that we saw with the Vincent-Alex debacle.
Reason 21: Flashbacks
BATB used flashbacks that provided insight into Vincent’s experience in Afghanistan and the medical experimentation that resulted in his struggles today. Flashbacks are even more important in communicating Aidan’s centuries-old history. Without them, we’d not understand the complicated nature of his relationship with his maker Bishop or his views on children, family, power, blood or romantic love. Additionally, we get to see some entertaining costumes through the centuries and last several decades. My favorite period might be the 70s, when the raison d’être of Aidan’s “Celine” tattoo is revealed.
Reason 20: Fights
I’ll admit that I like my fights a little juicier than network TV typically allows, so BATB disappoints in this category. Both shows have a comparable in volume of fights, but BH’s fights exceed BATB in terms of bloody results. We’re not talking gallons of blood or evisceration, but there’s a noticeable difference. If you find you have a hard time stomaching the fights in BATB, you may need to avoid BH; but if the fights in BATB leave you wanting more, you’ll enjoy BH.
Reason 19: Do-gooders who aren’t what they seem
ADA Lowell turned out to have a much more complicated back story than anticipated. Granted, we all knew something was up with him, but the details were richer than anticipated. I don’t want to give away any big surprises, but let’s just say that BH has its share of characters that we initially view as good guys, but teach us that we can often be misled.
Reason 18: Wise, gray-haired men
Cat’s dad usually seems to have his head on straight and his heart in the right place, although the season finale makes me question whether that’s still the case. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. In BH, we get a less polished version of Cat’s dad in the form of Pete, a friend of Josh’s who has lived with his curse for many years and provides Josh with some much needed perspective on how to co-exist peacefully with one’s wolf. Pete’s a bit of a hippie, and his zen approach to life contrasts delightfully with Josh’s uptight, self-punishing ways. We could all use a little Pete in our lives.
Reason 17: Good-looking bosses
Joe Bishop plays police lieutenant and boss of Cat and her partner, Tess Vargas. Joe Bishop is so good-looking (“How good-looking is he!?”)…well, good-looking enough that those of you who don’t approve of the affair between married Joe Bishop and Tess can understand why Tess would be tempted. BH ghost Sally Malik gets a job in season three of BH. (How does a ghost get a job? It’s complicated.) Anyway, her boss Max is precious; the sweet way that Max treats Sally as their relationship evolves makes you want to experience young love all over again.
That about covers the first half of my list. Still not convinced? Really!? Let’s meet next week and see if I can’t bring you to my way of thinking. Until that time, enjoy a pitcher of margs for me!
[Official Beauty & The Beast Show on CW] [Official Being Human Show on SyFy]