With Day Of The Doctor done and dusted, we take a look at this year's Christmas episode of Doctor Who.
Being Human series five: New cast have big shoes to fill
Being Human's Michael Socha, Kate Bracken and Damien Molony. Image. BBC
Being Human begins its fifth series and the BBC Three's supernatural drama is suddenly minus any of the original actors.
However, the high-concept holds firm as we follow the escapades of a cohabiting vampire (Damien Molony), werewolf (Michael Socha) and ghost (Kate Bracken).
I didn't like the unconvincing and sloppily written character of Cram (Colin Hoult), an office nerd who turns murderous after being turned into a vampire by Hal.
The ritual to possess a local madman with The Devil's spirit, in order to kill him, was appreciably spooky in an enjoyable way. I particularly liked the moment the possessed man's body bent backwards at an impossible angle once Satan had taken root.
I was a huge fan of Being Human's first few series, and mostly enjoyed the third that concluded with Aidan Turner's departure. Last year was an important transitional period as Russell Tovey and Lenora Crichlow also left.
Michael Socha's werewolf Tom was promoted to a regular character and Damien Molony's vampire Hal was introduced alongside Kate Bracken's ghost Alex.
"It doesn't help that the original actors have departed."
Ironically, The Trinity - the series five opener - marks the first episode with no connection to the original triumvirate, so I was interested to see if they would breathe new life into an ageing show.
This premiere wasn't bad, but I think a good deal of fans will concede that Being Human's past its prime. It doesn't help that the original actors have departed, but a bigger problem is how the concept doesn't appear to have much juice left.
We've learned a great deal about vampire society, the quirks of being a werewolf, and the peculiar afterlife, so I'm not sure what's left to explore.
The new characters don't strike me as especially worthy replacements for Mitchell, George and Annie - with the possible exception of Hal, whose noble backstory and courteous demeanour makes him twice as interesting as Mitchell ever was.
It remains to be seen if Alex offers something Annie didn't, beyond the fact she's far less annoying.
Is Being Human past its prime?
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- Yes - it's not as good anymore
- No - it's still a great show
Werewolf Tom is certainly likeable, but Socha's performance is so laidback he rarely demands your attention, which was never true of Tovey even if you disliked that actor's histrionics.
Out with the old...
This episode set up a handful of new ideas: Hal and Tom have taken jobs at a seaside hotel, and Alex is trying to work out what she has to do to "pass over" to the other side.
There's also a foul-mouthed old hotel resident known as Captain Hatch (played by the ever-dependable Phil Davis), whom we later learn is Old Nick himself.
Captain Hatch is a being who feeds on the conflict between vampires and werewolves, in a piece of hokum delivered via flashbacks to France 1918.
I guess after last year's use of ancient vampire elders plotting apocalypse, summoning Beelzebub is the natural next step to take.
Fans won't be too disappointed - this premiere was entertaining fun with flashes of greatness.
But has Being Human lost its dynamism? There were times when this premiere felt more like a ropey BBC Three sitcom than the return of the channel's flagship comedy-drama. Personally, I'm not convinced this new blood is enough to invigorate Being Human entirely.
- Verdict: Being Human remains a solid drama, but recapturing its glory days will be difficult.
What other reviewers said:
The Telegraph - "Perhaps there is only so much you can wring from the idea of zombifying a houseshare."
Digital Spy - "Whithouse's opener successfully juggles its multiple plotlines in an engaging fashion."
What people said on Twitter:
@RossoliniW - "I just watched the new being human on BBC.... No... Just no."
@seenituk - "The return BBC Three's Being Human was marred by gurning and slapstick."
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