Posts Tagged ‘ghosts’

This week I started watching a mediocre sitcom on the UK’s Gold TV channel called Marley’s Ghosts. While nothing to shout about, it did give me my inspiration for this week’s Five for Friday and, seeing as Halloween is approaching, what could be more appropriate than TV apparitions.

Marley’s Ghosts

Marley (Sarah Alexander) finds herself losing loved ones and acquaintances left and right. First her drunken and indifferent husband Adam (John Hannah) followed in quick succession by her lover/work colleague Michael (Nicholas Burns) and the vicar (Jo Joyner) who officiated Adam’s funeral. Now Marley has a trio of ghosts following her everywhere and she’s not dealing with it very well. Is it Marley or her spectral shadows that are in need of closure?


Being Human‘s Annie

Though viewers were introduced to many an intriguing ghost in the course of this series, it cannot be debated that Annie Sawyer is the most endearing motherly poltergeist you’d ever want to meet. Sure, she has unfinished business which prevents her from leaving through Death’s Door, but she keeps the house ship shape and her boys in line. Annie is always there with a cup of tea and a sympathetic ear. But murder her and she doesn’t play so nicely…


The Fades

Speaking of unfinished business, what if you couldn’t complete the process of dying? Then you might be a Fade. The Fades aren’t exactly ghosts, but they’re pretty darn close. They are humans who have died, but weren’t able to get through one of the world’s quickly diminishing ascension points. They are trapped on Earth, doomed to age and decay while their loved ones, unaware of their torment, move on with their lives. It’s understandable then that these living corpses might get a bit down in the mouth.


Last Tango in Halifax

It’s probably more accurate to say that Kate (Nina Sosanya) is a figment of Caroline’s (Sarah Lancashire) grief-stricken imagination than a ghost. Whatever she is, Kate’s sudden death is haunting Caroline all the same. It’ll take time and several more chats with her beloved for Caroline to finally let go of this gentle, loving soul.

Caroline coping with grief by talking to "ghost" Kate image credit Red Production Co and BBC

Caroline coping with her loss by talking to “ghost” Kate
image credit Red Production Co and BBC


The Black Adder’s Richard III

Decapitation is one of the risks of war in the Middle Ages, I suppose. However, when you’re struck down by the “friendly sword” of one of your underlings, you’re bound to be irritated. Haunting (complete with mortifying name calling) is just what a recently deceased monarch needs to vent his copious amount of frustration.

Read Full Post »

Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, and Aidan Turner

My next experiment in British science fiction was more in the supernatural vein.  You know vampires, werewolves, ghosts (another sub-genre I’m not so familiar with).  Sure, I’ve seen Twilight, but Being Human is so much more.

First off, we are reassured that each character is subject to the particular rules of his or her specific affliction:

– Mitchell, the vampire, never ages, has no reflection, can’t cross a threshold univited and can only be killed by a stake through the heart.  However, he can go out in the sunlight with shades on and apparently likes to cook with garlic.

– George, the werewolf, painfully transforms during the full moon each month.  Right around transformation time, his senses heighten and his strength increases.  He is normal, albeit sweetly neurotic, the rest of the month

– Annie, the ghost, also doesn’t age, no longer eats or drinks, can’t change her clothes and most of the time can only be seen by her supernatural friends.  (She can also move objects so, according to my son, that technically makes her a poltergeist.)

Once “the rules” have been established what actually makes Being Human special is the unique relationship between three friends/roommates who want to “be human”.  There is humor and warmth along with the darkness and gore.  Mitchell, having been in his altered state since WWI, is a guide of sorts for the trio. He’s a reformed vampire who vows not to kill or turn innocents anymore, putting him on the outs with the other local bloodsuckers. Gentle George has been a werewolf for a couple of years and yet he’s having a hard time coming to grips with the monster he’s become.  Annie took a tumble down the stairs, is still deeply in love with her fiance, Owen, and doesn’t seem to understand why she hasn’t passed over yet.  Together they empathize, support and sometimes even rescue one another.

Besides the fact that our trio shares a house in Bristol, what makes this show British sci-fi?  I always seem to come back to the infusion of humor.   In the horror genre, the British do that very well – Shaun of the Dead is another great example.  For someone like me that is essential because I get very uncomfortable with the tension inherent in scary things and the comedy helps keep me from jumping out of my seat.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Being Human is one of the shows which has been adapted into an American series for the SyFy channel.  I’ve watched a portion of the first episode but found the chemistry and dialog to not as good as the original. Big surprise coming from me, but I’ve been seeing a similar response from others on-line, often expressed much more bluntly.

Many others have blogged about their impressions of the series from a feminist interpretation of the treatment of the female characters to an analysis of homosexual themes in the werewolf and vampire worlds.  I am a much simpler being and I admit it.  I accept the characters for who they are as individuals and get caught up in their struggles and stories.  I’m sure symbolism and allusions abound, but like Mitchell, George and Annie, I’ve got enough to be getting on with just trying to be human.


Read Full Post »