` The emo threesome — imaginary family values

Last update on .

After watching Buffy on DVD, years after all of my friends had seen it on the network, and watching Babylon 5 on tape, and watching Big Love on DVD, and watching Firefly on DVD, and… well, every once in a while I hear that some new show is going to be premiered, and I think, aha, this one I will see from the beginning, so I can be a first-class member of its fan community.

So I just saw the premiere of Being Human and… well, it ended on a cliffhanger and I am not rearranging my schedule to see the second episode.

The main reason that Buffy, B5, etc. make for such good drama is that their protagonists actually have passions. That’s what the “pro” in “protagonist” means, right? The protagonist wants something, and isn’t satisfied by just going through the motions of desire. BH had an hour to establish the motivations of its characters, and defines them in terms of what they are avoiding, not what they seek. The emo-pire doesn’t want to feed off live humans. The emo-wolf doesn’t want his relatives to know that he’s a werewolf.1 The emo-ghost doesn’t want to leave her ludicrously underpriced two-story apartment.2

Even the episode’s bad guy, über-vamp sire of emo-pire, is weak: a vampire patriarch who has apparently read too many Dr. Sears books. There’s one scene where the emo-pire, who has been trying to claim that he is out of the whole predation scene, asks his sire for a significant favor, and the sire just grants it, without even a suggestion of “you owe me and you can be damn sure I will come back to collect on your debt”. If Vito Corelone had run his family this way, they wouldn’t have been able to take over a Rotary Club.

I don’t expect High Art from Hollywood, but sheesh, is a little storytelling too much to ask for?

1 The protagonists of Big Love, in the first few seasons, don’t want their neighbors to know they are polygamous—life in the closet, and the effects thereof, is a running theme—but that avoidance does not define them. They want to live as a family and maintain a lifestyle that resembles the middle-class LDS ideal while staying closeted.

2 The apartment is in a Boston neighborhood that my wife guessed as the South End, and the paying tenants are a hospital nurse and an orderly. I have an easier time suspending my disbelief in vampires.

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