Jan. 20th, 2011

theatervine: Dean Winchester dying - Supernatural S1 (hero by monticora)
[personal profile] theatervine

By Todd VanDerWerff January 17, 2011

"There Goes The Neighborhood, Part 1"
season 1 , episode 1

B av club rating B- reader rating based on 6 ratings
Being Human debuts tonight on SyFy at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Matt Zoller Seitz, in this year’s Movie Club feature at Slate.com, explained that the films of 2010 had him rethinking his prejudices about Hollywood remakes. In particular, he was impressed by how much he enjoyed the Let The Right One In remake, Let Me In, a film that took the same basic storyline, characters, and set-up of the Swedish film (since, indeed, both were based on the same novel) and created something that was interested in different things, that played up new moments and items, that found its own things to say about the basic idea of a young vampire and the boy who falls for her. Seitz’s argument was that we might start thinking of remakes as cover versions. No one terribly objects when a band covers someone else’s song because it likes that song so much, and indeed, there are many covers that are almost universally accepted as better than the original versions. Why can’t the same be true of film remakes?

Well, in a time where seemingly every British, Australian, or Canadian show with a vaguely interesting premise is getting remade for the American audience, we might as well start asking that question of television remakes, too. Just eight days ago, we saw an interesting remake of the British series Shameless, one that is struggling a bit to get on its own two feet, but one that is clearly finding lots of fun in adapting the series it’s based on. Tonight, remakes of both Being Human and Skins launch, and the similarities between the two are so striking that if we had a system that easily allowed for posting dual reviews of TV shows, I’d just write one piece for the both of ‘em. They’re both promising. They both have moments when they seem like they’re finding their footing and escaping their parent series. They both struggle with moments that are pretty much shot-for-shot remakes. They’re both shot in Canada. And so on.

Being Human, of course, is about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost who live together in an apartment. On paper, this sounds kind of terrible, but as executed, it’s surprisingly entertaining, with a fun sense of how these “monsters” might actually exist in a world that was unaware of them. The original series had a surprisingly light touch for the subject matter. Sure, it had the requisite pseudo-scary moments and the not-too-complicated mythology that’s the hallmark of shows like this, but it also had some fun banter between the three leads. (It’s here I’ll mention that I’ve only seen the first season of the original, though the producers of the U.S. version have also limited themselves to only those six episodes, choosing to completely avoid further information on where the original went to better differentiate themselves when the time comes.) Because this is the U.S. and goofy banter with a hefty side of mythology is one of those things we do pretty well, that’s what the producers of the new version—led by Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke—have chosen to emphasize. It works better than it has any right to.


popcultured: (Default)
PopCultured: Pop Culture News In a PC World

Most Popular Tags

August 2011

 1 23456

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags