More ethics on TV! (Hear our discussion of "Walking Dead.")
"Being Human" is a Sci-Fi network show based on a British TV show (by the power of induction, I can pronounce the original better than this despite having never seen even a second of the British version) that follows in the footsteps of "Smallville" and probably other shows by relying on a certain kind of teen appeal: long stretches of modern "indie" rock, dreamy characters in teen-identifiable situations, etc.
That aside, the show is at least attempting to confront ethical dilemmas on a weekly basis. For example:
1. If you regularly turn into a were-wolf and kill everyone around you, should you allow your friends and family into your life to help you with your problem, or keep them at a safe distance so you don't kill them?
2. If you are a 200 year old vampire who's killed lots and lots of people but now want to be nice, how vigorously are you obligated to fight your former-friend vampires who still kill lots of people? Should you just live and let them live (and kill)?
3. If you're a ghost and know who killed you, should you haunt the murderer until he's insane or dead, or should you get over it and move on?
Yes, these conflicts play out as silly as they sound here. The obvious response to #1: Kill yourself! Or turn yourself over to the government to cage and dissect you! And if you don't, you can't expect the audience to sympathize with you, no matter how much you gibber like David Schwimmer. These other conflicts require a little too much discussion of the particulars of the plot for me to go into here, but involve similar frustration if you think about them too much.
A common theme is thinking about the ethical choices involved not so much regarding whether they hurt others, but whether they're healthy for you as perpetrator. The main reason as wolf-man not to beat the crap out of vampires is that fighting is giving into the wolf, which is unhealthy (from the perspective of the non-wolf part). Stalking the living as a ghost creates unhealthy patterns. Drinking blood from the living "once in a while" just makes you want to drink more blood. You get the idea. It's actually a very Nietzschean approach.
As in most cases, my take on the show itself is: "it's fine if you're into that sort of thing." Not great like "Walking Dead" by any stretch, but not terrible it you have a hankering for a wacky melodrama about the 20-something werewolf, vampire, and ghost housemate experience.
The British production appeared on Australian TV last year. I saw approximately 30 seconds of it. Moody teens on the television screen is not my thing so I can’t say I know anything of it apart from the conclusion inferred by Mark, ie. it is better than the American remake by a significant stretch.
My take on the genre is that these sound like the usual teen melodrama/growing up sort of ethical dilemmas – presented as metaphor
*1. If you regularly turn into a were-wolf and kill everyone around you, should you allow your friends and family into your life to help you with your problem, or keep them at a safe distance so you don’t kill them?*
This refers to either drug use, or masturbation. I will run with masturbation – cause over indulgence leads to hairy palms hence the werewolf metaphor.
Should you give into the urge? Every time you spill your seed on the floor, sock, handkerchief or whatever, are you not in fact taking a potential life? Should you not be donating your tadpoles to the local sperm bank to create a massive genetic store to assist in populating the galaxy once we develop long haul space flight?
If you are in a quandary over your potential sabotage of the Human Galactic Empire, how do you let your family in. What can you say to them?
* 2. If you are a 200 year old vampire who’s killed lots and lots of people but now want to be nice, how vigorously are you obligated to fight your former-friend vampires who still kill lots of people? Should you just live and let them live (and kill)? *
So, you ran with a gang for a while. And now, thanks to the help of your local happy clappers you have seen the light and dedicated your life to the service of Jesus (and our future Human Galactic Empire of Latter day Saints). Is this a personal salvation or are you required to carry the message of Jesus, and the HGELDS, to them. While it seems obvious that such an important thing as the future of Galactic man should drive you to combat your former gang members, many remain friends and you still respect them, no matter what their failings.
* 3. If you’re a ghost and know who killed you, should you haunt the murderer until he’s insane or dead, or should you get over it and move on?*
You started a facebook fan club for the HGELDS, and sent invites everyone of your 2,578 facebook friends. It turns out that one of your 2,578 facebook friends was not so friendly. They defaced and belittled your page with cynical wall comments. Another one of your 2,578 facebook friends, who also was a facebook friend of the wrecker, apologises and tells you who did it. They were only doing it for a lark and all will be forgotten once we are living as saints on a satellite waypoint, doing important logistic work for the advancement of the HGELDS. What do you do? Do you let it slide or do you start Trolling his misguided Daoist Universal Empire of the Enlightened Space Farers fan page? The DUEESF, are nice enough people, but their ideas will ultimately lead to a nightmare scenario. What do you do?
So ultimately these shows are just away of introducing, and dealing with, the important ethical dilemmas surrounding a teenagers contribution to Humanity and the sanctity of our future in the stars!