Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Annie and Sally - Being Human's two different ghosts

I've been watching both versions of Being Human - the BBC version and the Syfy version - and I enjoy them both. What I especially appreciate is the way the American version has taken the story in a new direction instead of cloning the original. In some ways, I like the choices the American version has made better.

I do love Nina, though. Spunky little Nina.

Anyway, all that said, I have an issue with the ghost.

In the British version, Annie the ghost was murdered by her fiance. He was an abusive asshole who pushed her down the stairs, where she cracked her head open on the landing. Annie is the kind of woman who has deep insecurities, the kind of woman who is so afraid of being alone that she'll allow a man to treat her like crap because she thinks she's lucky to have him around. She demonstrates this in everything she does. Before she realized he killed her, she tried to follow her fiance around, thinking it was now her job to protect him. She takes care of everybody even in death, and in the current plotline she dotes on Mitchell - a vampire with a nasty past - because he saved her from a terrible fate.

In the American version, Sally the ghost was murdered by her fiance. He was an abusive asshole who pushed her down the stairs, where she cracked her head open on the landing. Sally is the kind of woman who always dreamed of traveling, regularly gave rants in her college classes about the stupidity of the state of marriage, takes no time at all to fall for a new ghost she ran into, and immediately gets angry and revengy when she finds out how she died. She's about as insecure as a bear.

I understand the desire to make an American woman strong and independent, but the kind of woman she is in this story is not the kind of woman who lets a man abuse her for very long. The British version is about a woman learning to balance her own independence with her desire to feel needed and desired. The American version is about a girl who is actually pretty together except for the whole dead thing, and she's just pissed off at the guy who killed her, but seems to be almost over it already.

I'm all for strong women, but not when they make no sense.


  1. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Goodday Emily,

    Great post. Is it okay if I introduce your article at our writing club?

    Scripts,movies,tv shows with strong women, read a few good specs last year, but very heavy on the action. But still good.


  2. I stay away from the SyFy channel because I'm always terrified I'm going to accidentally turn it on when Child's Play is on. Because that happened once.

    Strong women characters who don't make sense are almost as bad as heroes who never do anything wrong.

    Who the hell wants to watch that?

  3. I've been watching both too. I prefer the BBC one. (and usually I prefer American entertainment over Brit. It's usually faster).

    I find the Americanized version to be overly sappy. A lot of the "problems" are played out in melodrama. Which is pretty much what you're describing with the ghost. Her only real problem is that she was killed -- by her boyfriend. How long can you milk that cow?

    The BBC version is really about exploring what it means to be a ghost. And I actually find the ghost story to be the weakest in both versions.

    The huge step up that the BBC version has is the manner in which it treats its monsters. It's actually somewhat similar to Comedy Central's UGLY AMERICANS. Where being a monster isn't all it's cracked up to be. It really explores the drawbacks (with a sense of humor).

    The American version is more or less about how cool it is to be a werewolf, vampire, etc. And I really could care less about that.

    There's a dirty gritty monster sub-culture feel to the BBC version. The American one has a slick, sappy, almost pat feel to it. It's the difference between intriguing and eyerolling.

    At least that's my opinion on BEING HUMAN.

    I'm digging SHAMELESS on Showtime. I gotta check out the BBC version.

  4. I think often there's a tendency to confuse "strong" woman with "ballsy/feisty/doesn't take any shit" woman. The latter could be an example of the former sure, but it's definitely not synonymous. Women can be strong in so many ways, and what I like about Annie is that she is quietly strong - she's insecure and haunted (err, no pun intended), but she's also a survivor (err, sort of).

    @ James - the British version of Shameless was Channel 4, not BBC. Enjoy!


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