Just as I was about to post my review of the glorious return of Being Human, the news broke that the fifth series would also be its last. The news wasn’t a surprise – my original review ended with speculation about it being the last ever series. After all, fantasy shows don’t introduce the Devil until they’ve already decided to go out in a blaze of glory. But, surprising or not, it’s still very bad news.
British TV is light on fantasy shows at the best of times, let alone really good fantasy shows, and Being Human has never been less than really good. It was often brilliant, a stone-cold classic, perfectly preserving an era of houseshares and 20-somethings who are scared of the Big Bad World in televisual amber.
It introduced the world to Russell Tovey, made a heartthrob (and a dwarf) out of Aiden Turner, and began the odd trend of Robson and Jerome being bad-ass (Jerome is continuing the trend in fine form over on Game of Thrones). It paved the way for other excellent fantasy shows like Misfits and The Fades (although, ironically, it also killed The Fades, seeing as BBC3 could only afford one of them). It managed to completely change its cast without losing any of the magic, and Hal, Tom and Alex are just as great as Mitchell, George and Annie. It had the line “who wants some of my chair?!”
And what killed the show in the end? Budget. BBC3 has no money, and seeing as their remit is for breaking new shows, Being Human is just a little too old for them. Creator Toby Whithouse insists that series five was always going to be the last series, although, as with Merlin, the BBC made the odd decision to not announce that until it had started to broadcast. But you can’t help but wonder whether Whithouse’s willingness to end the show might have something to do with a certain prime-time sci-fi show that could well be looking for a new showrunner once a certain anniversary is over…