Syfy’s Being Human @ Paley Center for Media NY
Posted by Sharlene Mousfar on March 28, 2011
Let’s start at the beginning. As soon as I heard Syfy was doing a remake of
BBC’s Being Human, while the original was still on the air, I wasn’t happy. In fact, I was pretty peeved because as most Americans know, when a UK show is remade for a US audience – it usually doesn’t turn out well (with a few exceptions of course). I was one of those chanting “It’s just going to be a poorly made ripoff!”. But in an effort to be fair, I gave the show a chance to win me over – 3 episodes later, I was done.
Until last week that is! The folks at Syfy and Paley were kind enough to invite Geek Syndicate to a Being Human screening and panel discussion at the Paley Center in New York City. In attendance at the event were Sam Huntington (Josh), Meaghan Rath (Sally), Sam Witwer (Aidan), Sarah Allen (Rebecca) and Mark Stern (President, Original Content).
To make a long story short – my opinion of this show has done a complete 180. Before the panel began, we were shown an advanced screening of the upcoming episode “Going Dutch”. I was completely expecting not to like it but boy did they change my mind! I won’t spoil it for any of you who do watch but if you don’t? You should tune in as “a lot of cool sh*t happens” according to Mr. Stern and he wasn’t lying! Both fans and media were shouting, screaming and gasping along with the cast, who had never seen the episode before.
While there were moments that harken back to the lives of George, Annie & Mitchell, it looks like in between the 7 episodes I missed, the American version has begun to step out on it’s own and from what Stern said in response to a fan question, he says show is already differentiating itself and Season 2 looks to completely diverge from it’s UK counterpart.
I’d have to agree with him – it’s beginning to show signs of being it’s own entity but it’s still tying closely to the UK version. The writers have definitely seen parts of Series 2 and 3, even if the cast hasn’t.
Speaking of the cast? They are ADORABLE. Yes, I said adorable. Their easy going camaraderie and fun attitude towards one another and the crowd really showcased why these 3 actors were chosen – their energy filled the room making the event a truly pleasant experience. We weren’t allowed to record or take photographs inside the auditorium, but I snapped a few of the cast before going inside:
I knew of Sam Witwer from his previous roles on Smallville and Battlestar Galactica and Sam Huntington from Superman Returns but not much about Canadian newcomer, Meaghan Rath. Now I love Rath – she’s got a fun, bubbly personality and isn’t afraid to be silly in front of hundreds of people. Example? She did impressions of the characters from Mario Kart: “I’m the best!” You couldn’t help but love her!
A lot of interesting discussion occurred and some key highlights were:
- Mark Stern was given a DVD of the BBC’s Being Human but passed on it because the premise sounded ridiculous. Witwer also had a similar experience when he received the script. Both were told that they should revisit and the rest is history.
- The cast was told to dial it back a bit chemistry-wise when they first started filming – this could be why I couldn’t get into the first 3 episodes.
- Speaking of casts, Stern found it incredibly difficult to find the right talent for the show as the original UK cast was “lightning in a bottle”.
- Sam Witwer is a ginormous geek. He and the writers tried to figure out how many people Aidan had killed since he was turned to give Witwer more ammo in playing the tortured Aidan. (The number was 15,000).
- Alice Cooper is a fan of both the BBC and Syfy versions of Being Human, but likes the American version more.
- Huntington was so nervous at the audition that he couldn’t stop talking while he was waiting to go in and read. So much so that the secretary eventually moved a “Quiet Please” sign right next to him.
- The cast hasn’t seen the BBC series until now as they didn’t want their characters to be influenced by the UK portrayals.
- The character of Aidan was indeed named after Aidan Turner as an homage to the actor and Mitchell (sob).
- The UK showrunners visited the set and gave their blessing.
Overall, it was a great panel discussion and the cast truly was the swaying vote in getting me to tune in. You can check out the trailer for the upcoming episode “Going Dutch”, airing Monday March 28th at 9/8c on Syfy:
GS Reporter: Sharlene