There has never been a household as unusual as the one in "Being Human" -- three very special roommates are rammed into the two-storey home: the vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer), ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath) and werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington). While the three have bonded, they've also struggled to lead normal lives and leave any supernatural antics behind. Even on the spoiler-filled Montreal set in October, an ominous visitor was causing trouble for Sally. When not dealing with the crisis at hand, the three leading actors, along with executive producer Adam Kane, joked around and spoke about the second season of "Being Human."
In The Beginning
Based on the hit UK series of the same name, Space's/Syfy's "Being Human" borrowed certain elements from its predecessor. Thankfully, original British creators Toby Whithouse and Rob Pursey, championed this new version.
"For Season 1, they let us in on what worked for them, which was an amazing gift because invariably, you don't know until you get into it," says Kane. "You have a lot of ideas about what you'd like to do, but they were really open and honest with us about the things they stumbled upon in their own exploration of what worked. We were able to make a lot more successful choices because of that guidance from Toby and Rob."
Trying to adapt to their unusual circumstances, Sally, Sam and Aidan have endured extreme physical and emotional conflicts. As the second season commences, it's only been a short time after the finale, and the roomies are busy picking up the pieces.
"At the end of the first season, we feel all our characters had gained a certain level of freedom and maybe their lives were going to get a little easier," explains Kane. "Aidan had killed Bishop (Mark Pellegrino), his maker, and so we feel he's on the path to becoming free. Josh has let his secret out, so you feel he has a shot at a successful relationship. That weight has been lifted. And despite Sally missing her door, they found a way to love each other in a home where they are supported emotionally. That emotional support was lacking in her last relationship with Danny. There's this opportunity for the characters to move forward."
Calm Before The Storm
There won't be a quiet reprieve any time soon, though. Promos for season 2 of "Being Human" promise plenty of "temptations" and "unleashing the beast." Clearly, Aidan and Sam have desperately attempted to suppress their animal instincts, so such teasers are meant both literally and symbolically.
"Sally is grasping for a person, so when you're that vulnerable, it's very easy to let bad things in," reveals Huntington. "They definitely do for her in a big way. With Aidan, "she" comes back and that brings him in deep with the vampires. Aidan is doing everything he can to stay sane which is proving to be very difficult. The funny thing is for Josh, he's witnessing someone be tempted and desperately trying to reel them back in. It's a little different for him. Just like in season 1, there's a couple of times he embraces the wolf and uses its power in his favour."
"The promos are metaphorical and a play on words," notes Kane. "Unleashing the beast ties directly to Josh and the people he comes into contact with. For Aidan, it's figuratively as well, because the deeper he goes into his vampire past, the more the monster inside is going to be released. In fact, the more bad choices Aidan is going to have to make, he's going to get darker and delve into the darkness a lot more before he's allowed to maintain his own freedom."
"Aidan forgets himself a little bit," says Witwer. "He takes many steps back from what he's trying to accomplish in terms of rediscovering his humanity. He's put in bad situations that aren't entirely his fault. Unfortunately, some of those things are brought home. It's a nasty season."
For Sally, incident after incident have begun to take a toll on the young spirit:
"By the end, there's a level of post-traumatic stress that builds up," offers Rath. "It's a lot to handle. My idea of Sally and her life is she didn't really believe there was anything after. Maybe she believed there was a heaven or hell, but she never thought about it. Ghosts never occurred to her. She keeps hitting these new lows."
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TV's Smartest Supernatural Characters
Alex, the middle and only female Russo child on "Wizards of Waverly Place," is perhaps the most sarcastic character ever to grace the Disney Channel and it's hard not to love her. Although she typically winds up in trouble -- either for her sharp tongue or her constant schemes -- it takes a lot of brain power to come up with the words and devious plans she does. While her older brother/arch nemesis Justin excels in both wizard and high school, it's Alex (Selena Gomez) who has the street smarts. As she says in one episode, "I am too book smart! Sure, I don't read books, but I hollow them out and hide things in them." Maybe she even has enough smarts to win the family wizard competition after four seasons of ups and downs.
OK, so "supernatural" may not be the correct term here, but c'mon, what is she? It's very clear that Starbuck (Kathryn Ann Sackhoff) died in that explosion, was gone for several months, and then returned to the battlestar without a scratch and no recollection of what happened. And then, in the series finale, she just vanished into thin air, literally. We're semi-concluding that she was some sort of supernatural being who existed in humanity for a brief period of time to alter history for the better -- and that's pretty damn cool.
For six seasons of "Lost," the steely-eyed, salt-and-pepper-haired Man in Black (Titus Welliver) had many viewers fooled. He appeared in multiple forms: Christian Shephard, Walt, Eko's brother Yemi, Ben's daughter Alex, Richard's wife Isabella, a grumbling black cloud known as the Smoke Monster, and of course, eventually, John Locke. After fighting with his brother Jacob for centuries without any actual violence -- since their mother had prevented them from hurting one another -- the Man in Black eventually found a "loophole." That fact he was able bide his time and calculate his plan of attack over the course of hundreds of years is undoubtedly impressive.
Being married to a mere mortal didn't stop TV's most bewitching witch, Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery), from twitching her nose to get things done. Her powers of persuasion also kept spell-casting mom Endora from jinxing things with hubby Darrin.
After nearly getting run over by a truck and doused in a top-secret chemical called GC-161, Alex Mack (Larisa Oleynik) acquired an excellent set of supernatural powers. She could move things with her mind, shoot lightning bolts out of her fingers and turn herself into a puddle of liquid. And if navigating junior high wasn't difficult enough on its own, Alex had to use her sharp wit to stay one step ahead of the management of the Paradise Valley Chemical Plant, who were on a mission to find and conduct scientific research on the mysterious girl who had been exposed to GC-161 so they could turn it into a weight loss drug.
Somehow Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a small town (telepathic) waitress from Louisiana, attracts every incredibly good-looking supernatural being from Bon Temps to Mississippi. Seriously. She's been with vampire Bill and Nordic badboy Eric; not to mention, ripped werewolf Alcide has been following her like a lost puppy dog since Season 3. We have to agree with Pam on this one: There's just something about Sookie's "fairy vagina." She may have a "stupid name," but Sookie is one smart telepathic fairy fangbanger.
Damon and Stefan Salvatore and haven't always been the closest of brothers, but when it comes to Elena, the two Salvatore brothers will do anything to protect her, even if that means selling his humanity to an evil hybrid named Klaus. Sure, on an individual level, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) doesn't always make the smartest team, but as a super vampy duo, these two will do anything to save the ones they love.
Piper (Holly Marie Combs) was kind of like the wet blanket in the Halliwell family. Sure, she could freeze time and make things explode, but she was never the daring Charmed One. In fact, as the middle child, Piper always had to be the peace maker between her two rowdy sisters, Prue and Phoebe. Sooner or later, she realized that trying to lead a normal life just wasn't going to happen, especially when you have Whitelighter for a husband and three supernatural kids to look after. Being able to balance her supernatural powers, a successful nightclub and a family with her frequent tendency to save the world definitely means that Piper ended up being the most powerful Halliwell of all.
After she graduated from explaining it all as TV's "Clarissa," Melissa Joan Hart took on a more powerful role. Growing up is a lot more fun when you've got some magical spells up your sleeve, and Sabrina's witchy aunts and spell-casting cat Salem definitely kept things interesting.
The U.S. version of this BBC hit introduced Sally (Meaghan Rath) as a ghost just getting her bearings, but she quickly became the heart of the home that houes the show's odd couple werewolf-vampire roommates -- quite a supernatural living situation. In Season 2 (which premieres Mon., Jan. 16, 9 p.m. EST on Syfy), she gets ghostly out in the real world, too.
You know how the saying goes: Never judge a book by its cover. Sure, Kelly (Lauren Socha), the fast-talking, brash young offender on E4's supernatural dramedy "Misfits," may be a total Chav, and she may not know what brunch is, but she's a rocket scientist. No, seriously, that's her power; she can understand rocket science. Doesn't that make her TV's smartest supernatural by default?
No matter what the show, TV writers are usually reluctant to kill off Mark Sheppard's characters, and it's easy to see why: They're usually memorably acerbic and delightfully devious. They're just too fun to kill. On "Supernatural," his demonic character, Crowley, has been a terrific foil for the Winchester brothers (whom he has dubbed "denim-clad nightmares") and their fellow hunter, Bobby Singer (whom Crowley once memorably smooched). Crowley -- who started out as a mid-level demon, but has slaughtered his way into a few promotions -- is the ultimate canny survivor: Whoever's in charge in Heaven, and whether or not he's in charge of Hell (and he usually is), you can never count this wily demon out. He's not necessarily a bad ally to have when an apocalyptic crisis looms. If nothing else, Crowley can be counted on to dole out more than his fair share of witty retorts and put-downs, which Sheppard delivers with perfect irascibility. This demon is proof that sometimes evil is pretty damned entertaining.
When CW viewers were first met high schooler Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) on "The Secret Circle," she didn't even know she had supernatural skills. Fast forward to the middle of show's first season and Cassie is now the most powerful witch in town with both benevolent and dark magic brewing inside her tiny frame. But it's what Cassie's able to do with those powers that impresses us -- from setting her capturer on fire with her eyes to freeing a demon from a comatose woman's body, her intentions are always good, even if the end result isn't. Let's just hope it stays that way.
Things Get Hairy
Josh hasn't had it easy either. Besides those pesky full moon transformations, his girlfriend, Nora, miscarried. He also accidentally scratched her, which means Nora could be wolfing out sometime soon.
"Josh is going to discover that his relationship with Nora delves into a place he least expects it," teases Kane. "Nora is going to end up challenging him. Now that she has been exposed to his werewolf secret, both in a knowledge way and a physical way with her scratch, we're going to see how that challenges her life and how it comes into conflict with it."
At the same time, Josh will be looking for a cure to his curse, and getting his life back on track.
"Yes, medical school is a big part of that and definitely something I was hoping would happen," reports Huntington. "Once again, something happens that refocuses his energy to a more personal plight. That becomes more of his trajectory."
Raising the Stakes
Bishop may have sired Aidan, but the two had shared a pretty turbulent relationship. Aidan was trying to bury his vampire nature while Bishop wanted to bring him back to the fold. Ultimately, Aidan was forced to behead his former friend and is now facing the consequences. In the aftermath, the queen of the vampires has stopped by and appointed Aidan the new head of the Boston clan. Perhaps now more than ever, he could have used Bishop's guidance.
"Yeah, he's definitely on his own," acknowledges Witwer. "It actually provides a good deal of sadness for the character. One of the most interesting things about the Aidan/Bishop relationship is while you see them lock horns a lot, you get the sense these two guys care a great deal for each other. I thought it was great that me and Mark could have contentious scene after contentious scene, but you could tell they are extremely close friends. Aidan doesn't feel great having done that. The mistakes get bigger in magnitude. Bishop also gave Aidan something to compare himself against. With that gone, he doesn't have as much to rage against. Aidan now doesn't have that constant example of what he doesn't want to be. You'll find there's a lot of Bishop in Aidan this year."
Bigger and Better
Often, it takes a season for a show to find its feet. "Being Human" hit its creative stride early, but Witwer and Rath still previewed a few reasons why this season will blow you away.
"Well, there's a lot of production value that is amazing," says Witwer. "We have this hotel which is a central location. It's kind of like the morgue we had last year, except it was two rooms. This time, we have an entire hotel at our disposal. We have suites, corridors, giant rooms, a ballroom, and all these great things. You really get a scale on the production end. For example, when we do some of the flashbacks, the locations are incredible. On top of that, we have all these wonderful supporting characters show up, so the world of these characters opens up quite a bit. It becomes a bigger show for that reason. There are certain things we are trying that are very ambitious. We are also experimenting. We are going a little deeper into the vampire mythology. That's either going to work or not. I hope it pays off."
"This season is a lot darker," reveals Rath. "Every situation we're in could shatter at any second. We were all leaning towards the darker side, so the lines of morality are blurred a lot. In life, you have choices to make and you don't know which is the right one. Sometimes, it has a whole slew of consequences that come with it. There's no black and white. There's just a lot of gray. I think another element that makes this season so great is we have so many new and amazing characters coming on the show. There's some old ones coming back, especially ones you never thought would. It makes it exciting. There's a new dynamic."
Lost in Time
Over the centuries, Aidan has seen, experienced and killed more than most mortals. "Being Human" has utilized flashback sequences to explore those yesteryears, and will continue to do so in season two. But considering Witwer is a member of the band The Crashtones, could we perhaps suggest visiting Aidan as a punk rocker in the '70s or '80s?
"Oh my God! I'm waiting for Aidan with a mullet and Mark can come back and give him frosted tips!" exclaims Witwer. "That would be amazing. You'd have to be careful about it because the '80s is the era taste forgot! There's a lot of potential for me and Mark. He was just here on set for an episode and working with him is just insanely awesome. It also doesn't hurt that we are very close friends. We sit around and play Left For Dead together."
A Laughing Matter
Remember in the pilot when a naked Sam slipped on a dress after a night of big bad wolf behaviour? Those moments of levity have not been lost. Even with all the doom and gloom looming over their heads, the characters and cast have still managed to keep their sense of humour.
"I'm happy with the humour," states Witwer. "When I went to drama school, everybody thought I would go off and be a comedic actor. It's nice to interact with that a little bit. I know Huntington is the funnyman on the show, and I play the straight man quite a bit. Every now and then, I get to do something ridiculous, some really weird stupid ridiculous stuff. I'm anxious to see how that turns out."
"Last year, it was one of the first weeks we were in the hospital," smiles Huntington. "The place is crazy, for a lack of better word. It is a mental institution, so there are patients wandering around living their lives. It's never threatening, but sometimes it's weird. So last year riding down the elevator from the third floor to the lobby, it's crowded with me and Witwer and a lot of people. There's one person on there that I didn't recognize and she pushes the lobby button. She's holding it down and I'm like "You have to hold it down as we go?" And she's like "Yeah, sometimes it will just randomly decide to go back up to the third floor." I thought about it for a minute and went, "Oh, that must drive the people here nuts!" It was terrible, but I found it hilarious, as did the other people in the elevator. This woman kind of chuckles, turns to me and goes, "That's very funny. I bet you didn't know I was the director of this place." She was super sweet after that and totally let me off the hook."
P.Y.T (Pretty Young Things)
Think science fiction only attracts the guys? Try telling that to all the girls tuning in to "Being Human." The show boasts one of the highest female demographics (for SyFy/Space). And why not? There's drama, action and repeatedly seeing Witwer and Huntington half-naked must be a major draw.
"I didn't say that," laughs Huntington about the guy "hot" factor. "These characters are very relatable and sensitive. "Being Human" doesn't always rely on a supernatural element. For one reason or another, women can really identify with it. I love that. I love that we bring that to the Syfy network. I hope it continues, but I hope that dudes love it too."
"I've always said it's because we have great-looking guys on the show and they are naked all the time," smiles Rath. "I also think a lot of women can relate to Sally and what she's going through. It was very important to me when we were shooting the first season to really bring some truth into telling the story of a woman who was confident in her life, knew what she wanted to do, where she wanted to go and the person she wanted to be. To meet somebody, fall in love, and completely lose herself in somebody and be unable to see the warning sides of an abusive relationship, is powerful. By then, it was too late. That's something a lot of women deal with."
Season 2 premieres on Monday, January 16 at 10 p.m on Space in Canada, and on SyFy at 9 p.m. in the US.