* Prices may differ from that shown
8 x 60 minute (approx) episodes
I was pretty lucky that my discovery of Being Human came at a time when the first 2 series of this BBC3 show were available to buy for less than ten pounds on amazon. I spent a whole weekend recently watching all of the episodes contained in the first two series box set and hungry for more and desperate to know what happened after the climactic finale of the second series I was relieved to see that the third series had only just been released at the end of May this year and that it was available to buy. Placing my order with amazon and waiting a few days for its delivery resulted in me being able to catch up completely with the show now and this review is for the third series as a whole.
Please be aware that this review will contain information about the first two series, if you are new to the show and want to start watching it from the start you may be best advised not to read this review as it may contain spoilers and details of what happened before. I won't discuss the major revelations of the third series though so this should be safe to read for anyone contemplating buying this specific DVD collection.
George, Mitchell and Annie used to share a house in Bristol and as we discovered in series 1 they weren't any ordinary people. George is a werewolf, Mitchell a vampire and Annie a ghost who was killed in the house George and Mitchell moved into. Much of the first series acted as an introduction to the characters and how they bonded as friends, it explained a little of their histories and gave us the chance to get to know them. The first series mainly focussed on Mitchell and his struggle to give up his blood addiction whilst facing pressure from the vampire community and the series followed George as he attempted to come to terms with his 'condition' at the same time of finding love. All three of the characters had the desire to be normal and wanted to lead everyday lives whilst integrating themselves into society, Annie couldn't be seen by anyone other than other supernatural beings and George and Mitchell had jobs in a local hospital. The first two series concentrated on the central characters and their interactions and relationships with other people. George found love in Nina, a doctor in the hospital, Annie found a reason not to go onto the afterlife but found herself trapped there during the finale of series 2 and Mitchell? well, we all know what he did...
Third Time Lucky?
Series 3 picks up the story from where series 2 ended and being forced to relocate to a new part of the country after Mitchell's spectacular fall from the wagon the trio plus Nina now established as a central character rent a large ex-bed and breakfast in Barry, South Wales. Facing a new set of problems, this series builds on what we already know and provides another 8 episodes of action packed, thrilling drama and plenty of heart. Annie has much more of a presence this time around which I welcomed, she is integral to many of the interweaving plot lines in this series and her character ends up becoming very important. George and Nina make a surprise discovery which could have implications for them both and Mitchell's past ends up finally catching up with him and puts himself at risk by attempting to save Annie from Purgatory. There are revelations galore in this series and some unexpected twists which are genuinely surprising and once again I immersed myself fully into the show and the 8 episodes flew by.
All of the returning characters are now so established that the actors who play them seem a lot more confident and comfortable in their respective roles, fans of the show are used to seeing them now, we know some of their secrets and who they are so in series 3 we are given the chance just to follow them as they make some life changing decisions. New characters are introduced and feature in the ongoing storylines that this series tackles and there's plenty to enjoy this time round. This series does end up completing the story of one of the original characters and it was a brave decision to make to leave the show, this does mean that there are some tense moments which are brilliantly acted and the scope to provide a truly memorable exit is fully exploited and was exciting if not heartbreaking to see.
I have become a huge fan of this show since discovering it and even though I was drawn to supernatural elements of the premise in the first place this isn't the most important part of Being Human. It is a character-led series and you do form attachments to them, there is a real heart to the show and whilst there are scenes of violence and blood-shed these are needed to tell the characters' stories. The make up effects used are impressive to see, the werewolf transformations are excellently presented and the humour is wickedly dark. The show would appeal to horror fans or those who like something innovative and different in TV drama (it's black comedy elements remind me of the American TV serial, Dexter) and each one hour episode is a genuine pleasure to see.
Region 2 DVD Presentation
An official BBC release, Being Human series 3 is presented in this collection across 3 discs. It has a UK 15 certificate rating and a complete running time of around 7 hours 40 minutes. There are a few extra's on the collection but compared to Series 2 these are a little disappointing even if they are well presented and included are:
Extended Cast Interviews: As the name suggests these are a series of interviews with the principal cast. Each interview lasts around 7 minutes and are made up of the actors talking about their characters and how they have evolved in this series. They talk about where they started in Series 1 and how they have changed in the 3 years they have been making the show. I enjoyed watching this, it made a nice inclusion on the collection and is well worth seeing even if it isn't particularly insightful.
Deleted Scenes: A rather scant collection if I'm being honest and a rather irrelevant inclusion although the original opening scene of the third series is included and worth watching to compare with how the show ended up starting. Nice but not a required watch I wouldn't have thought.
Sinead's Set Tour: Nina (played by Sinead Keenan) takes a walk round the various sets used in the show, because this time the characters have relocated to a new place the sets are different to what they were in the first two series. A short inclusion at under 10 minutes in length but interesting to see the rooms that play such a big part in some of the stories and again a decent inclusion on the collection.
Other than being able to select subtitles if you need them that's all that is included in this DVD release and compared to the hidden content that the series 2 release offered I did feel a little short-changed here. At the time of writing this review this series is available to buy from amazon for just under £16.00 and whilst I think its well worth the money for the episodes themselves I do think that the BBC could have added more additional content on the region 2 release.
Interestingly the original soundtrack is included on this collection. I didn't know at the time of writing my Series 1 and 2 review that the soundtrack on the first two series had to be changed due to licencing issues but found that out when reading other people's thought on the show online. The music in series 3 is the original soundtrack as broadcast originally on the BBC and for the most part is very well placed and features well known songs although I did think the inclusion of Duran Duran's 'Hungry like the Wolf' was rather an obvious and clichéd choice for one of the werewolf transformation scenes I have to admit. Because I didn't know that the soundtrack wasn't original on the first two series' DVD release it didn't lessen my enjoyment but hearing well known songs this time round did add an extra element to the series and it's a shame that the previous releases weren't as originally broadcast. Many people complained about the soundtrack on the previous release so this should go a long way to appeasing those who said their enjoyment was spoiled before and worth mentioning here should that have been a concern to other people.
Conclusion and My Rating
Series 3 of Being Human is well worth buying even if the extra's on the DVD release are slightly disappointing this time. This show is one of my favourites now and I was pleased to read that series 4 is being filmed at the moment and am looking forward to being able to watch that as it is transmitted next year. Anyone concerned about the soundtrack being altered on the DVD release should be reassured that the original songs are included here and once again this is high quality drama at its finest. The show mixes the genres of horror and drama in a superb combination and provides some excellent acting from all concerned as well as some compelling and absorbing story-lines which take some unexpected twists and turns. It's life-affirming at times, has many funny moments and a few jumps and scares which definitely appealed to me. Series three builds in intensity over the course of the season and ends with the door wide open for next time and from what I've read about series 4 there are many surprises to come.
Four stars from me this time round as a rating for the purpose of this review, the show *is* a five star one in my opinion but as this is a DVD review and the extra's included aren't as good as they were on the series 2 release I'm deducting a star from my final score. At just under £16.00 the price isn't too expensive to be off-putting and fans of the show will definitely want this in their collection.
Recommended. Thanks for reading my review.
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