Last night Syfy debuted its remake of the BBC monster mash Being Human, a show about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost who share(d) a rental property. I was pleasantly surprised that the remake was a decent translation of the original to the other side of the Pond. Whether this remake was entirely necessary is open to debate. The BBC version was probably about the best a show of this kind could be, but if given the choice between an American-Canadian Being Human (the show is filmed in Toronto, with a largely Canadian supporting cast) and more of Syfy's unimaginative, incompetent "original" programming like Haven, Ghost Hunters International, and the bottom-trawling Saturday night monster movie franchises, I'd take the more ambitious remake. Time will tell whether Syfy's version can balance darkness and humor like the original, but the pilot implies that the new show is aiming for a darker, less charming take on the source material.
Syfy's corporate cousin, NBC, has its own new show airing in the same time slot (Mondays at 9 ET), The Cape, a weird little number about a wrongly accused cop who puts on a magic cape and plays superhero in a crime-ridden city. The Cape is neither good nor bad (or perhaps, like the Nietzschean superman, beyond good and evil) but an uneasy mixture of mostly random plot developments married to aesthetic exercises in superhero mythology. It is probably no good sign that the third episode already has the magic cape's former owner returning to reclaim his wardrobe, or that the show's stars and producers promise that if only audiences keep watching eventually fun things will happen.
Finally, who would have thought that this season would bring us not one but two competing mystery series set in sinister boarding schools? Cartoon Network's Tower Prep, which last month ended its first season (and possibly only season, pending a renewal decision), was the better of the two series. The show centered on superheroes in training at a mysterious and isolated boarding school where they are held prisoner and all sorts of sinister sci-fi happenings are afoot. Nickelodeon's House of Anubis focuses on an American girl at a posh British boarding school who is investigating an ancient cult and implied human sacrifices conducted by the school's teacher-cultists. Neither show is as exciting as Harry Potter or as sappy as Never Let Me Go (apparently there was a boarding school theme over the past six moths...), but both are a bit more ambitious than most teen-oriented genre cable shows. Similarly, new channel The Hub's anthology series R. L. Stine's The Haunting Hour tries to be The Night Gallery for teens, and though I have not watched the whole run, it seems to have better-than-average production values for another Canadian-American on-the-cheap series.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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