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.