'Being Human': Sam Witwer on tonight's 'brave' finale

being-human

Image Credit: Jill Greenberg/Syfy

Being Human closes out its freshman season tonight on Syfy, and if Sam Witwer’s (pictured, right) warnings are true, it stands to change a big part of what fans have come to know about the show during its 13-episode season. And considering the various predicaments in which we last left our trio of other beings (Aidan was dying, Josh was on his way to being a were-daddy, and Sally’s door is open) there’s no telling where this is headed.

In a chat with EW, Witwer talks about the show’s future as it preps for a second season and addresses how the cast dealt with the inevitable comparisons to the British series this season.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Retrospectively, has the volume of positive reaction come as a pleasant surprise to you, considering people were ready to tear it apart?
SAM WITWER: The thing that I said a few times before we started was, “Look, I don’t think if someone sits down and watches our show, I don’t think they’re going to not enjoy it.” Whenever people were asking about the British thing, that was my response. You may enjoy the British series more or you may like ours better, but the fact of the matter is you’re gonna have a good time. In the meantime, I was telling the cast members, “Look, I was there during the Battlestar Galactica thing. I was in the cast and, boy, there’s gonna be a backlash. Don’t listen to it. Don’t worry about it. It’s more about what people are saying a year from now rather than when we start airing, so don’t listen to the backlash.” And [fans of the British series] were really sharpening their claws, and they were getting ready to dig into us. When we started airing, they just kind of left us alone, which was a huge surprise for me. If I’m gonna be honest, I’m not surprised people have been enjoying it. I’m surprised that we haven’t been beat up on. And we have been a little bit here and there, but I was expecting that we were gonna get Battlestar Galactica-levels of backlash — and we didn’t. They kind of grudgingly accepted that we were doing something that was worth doing. So that was the biggest surprise. I was very happy about that.

As you should be.
They were right to be concerned. And anyone that had a level of skepticism was correct to have that level of skepticism, because the British series is so good. It’s such a good idea, and it’s so well executed. I don’t know how many people realized this, but we are partnered with the British series. We are part of that family, and their creators have been a tremendous asset to us because they’ve been able to … [pass] along what they learned from making their series.

Did you watch the British version?
Actually we didn’t. We stayed away from it. We wanted to make sure that our take on the characters was totally unpolluted. So independent of each other, [the cast] decided not to watch. I saw part of the first episode before I auditioned, and the moment that I decided I really wanted to do this show, I was, like, “Well, okay, I can’t watch this now — not until I’m done.” Now, that’s changed at this point. We all have the Blu-rays of the British series now. Now that we’re done with our first season, it’s time to dig in. For example, I watched the entirety of the first episode, and I love it. I just preordered my season 3 Blu-ray, and it’s time to burn through it.

Pre-order? They make you order these? You can’t get them for free?
[Laughs] That’s a good point; I didn’t even think about that! Well, you know what, I’m happy to support them financially. But, you know what, it didn’t even occur to me. Rob Percy, one of their creators, visited us on set, and I didn’t even think for a moment that I could just ask for copies. Anyway, I’m happy to buy them. But I’ll say this; I’m really impressed with their cast. Now that we’ve been through a season, watching the first episode of their series, those three are really great. They’re fantastic.

They really are. But I find your approach to it very interesting.
When we first started getting reviews on our first three episodes, I head back from someone who said, “I’m a huge fan of the British series, but I’m gonna watch yours. Now that I’ve seen three episodes, it feels like three different characters who are in a similar situation.” And I thought that was a great take on it, because we really weren’t intending on playing the same characters. We were doing kind of our own thing. And, of course, there’s the fact that we have thirteen episodes to do what they did in six, [which meant] that you’re going to see a lot of new material. A lot of things that were not in the British series, and that’s a lot of fun. And then also we have different takes on certain stories. I know — and I haven’t seen it yet — but our Bernie storyline, there’s a couple of episodes that cover what happens to this kid. And the British series did the same type of story, but ours took some turns theirs didn’t and ended up very differently than theirs.

So what can you tell us about what’s next for the trio and how it’s been seeing the evolution of their friendship throughout the season?
That’s a very good question. So, when we started, everyone was really not just comparing our [first] episode to the British [first] episode, they were comparing our episode 1 to the entirety of the British series. So they were going, “Woah, the chemistry is not there!” They were saying all these things about, “Oh, these three are not meshing,” and what they were not necessarily being cognizant of — and what I think they’ve discovered now —  is in the British series’ first episode, they’re already in the house. They’re already bantering, and they already know each other. And we don’t really have a sense for how long they’ve been there, but they’ve been there for a little bit and know each other. Our series shows you how they met each other. These three characters don’t know what to do with each other. [While filming the first episode], we had this pretty sharp comedic timing, and the producers asked us to not do that. Their argument was, “It’ll be sitcom-y if we see your characters meet each other and suddenly they have all this banter. It’s not good storytelling.” They’re like, “Around episode 6 or 7, then you can do whatever you want, but you guys have to have a little bit of a weariness about each other.” So we did that and now when we started shooting the last couple episodes, it really made it clear why they asked us to back off on the chemistry, which, by the way, is hilarious, because you usually get the opposite note on set.

So the choice to have that dynamic in beginning made sense for you by the end of filming?
Yes, and it’s very nice. In fact, we have moments where we reflect on exactly what you’re saying. So that’s cool. I don’t think we verbally reflect on it, but we visually reflect on it a lot. We have a lot of moments that are designed to remind us — sometimes literally and sometimes in kind of a metaphoric way — of how far these characters have come with each other. So it’s kind of fun.

Are we gonna have a cliffhanger ending to the season?
For the most part, we do resolve a lot of storylines in very satisfying ways. It’s interesting. Having said that, I remember talking to Jeremy Carver about this. Me and Mark [Pellegrino] — I don’t know if you’re aware of it — were in some of the same Dexter episodes together. [Witwer played Neil Perry, the computer analyst who falsely claimed to be the Ice Truck Killer.] We never actually worked with each other, but we were in some of the same episodes. And one of the things I said to Jeremy is, “Hey, you know, in Dexter, they killed the Ice Truck Killer.” So basically I was just saying, “How far do you want to resolve all things things?” And the answer was, they wanted to resolve the hell out of a lot of these things. And they’re very satisfying when you see them. I thought, in a weird way, that was a brave choice.

The Being Human finale airs 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.

(Maggie Pehanick contributed to this report)

Related:
‘Being Human’ creator Toby Whithouse on the shocking finale — EXCLUSIVE
‘Supernatural,’ ‘Being Human,’ ‘Chuck,’ ‘Gossip Girl': Find out what’s next in the Spoiler Room

Comments (39 total) Add your comment
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  • Lunna

    I’m so looking forward to tonight’s finale! This show has really grown on me.

    Still, for next season, I hope they do something about Sally. That character is BO-RING! Aidan is the most interesting character by a long shot.

    • crystal

      Omg! how can you say she is boring?? I love her all three of the characters are great. I can’t wait for the she wolf and this mystery vampire lady aidan is going to meet Josh is hilarious, awkward and it works. Take back the sally comment I don’t know if I would watch it if one of them was gone.

      • Jeannie

        I totally agree with Crystal. Sally’s character is unique; as are all of the characters. I happened upon the British version. It was like shell shock. I thought “where are Aiden, Sally, and Josh?” Relieved to know that this was a totally different show than what I had been watching. Have to go back and watch ep. 13 again. I’m already very excited and impatient about the next season!!!!

  • Kate

    I am very curious about this season finale (esp since I love the British series, and like elements of this show better and not about this one – i.e., I like first season Josh as much as I like third season George, I did not like George during the second season and just thought he was a whiney brat first season – I am not real fond of Sally and loved Annie the first season, but there has been something bugging me about Annie until the last two episodes, so hoping for more with Sally – I like Aidan more than Mitchell, but I really got Mitchell and well, I am just sad now). What I am most curious about is how the change in the Nora storyline from the Nina storyline and its effect on the rest of everything. Afterall, there were two cliffhangers at the end of the British first season – one setting up the big bad for the next season but for the big bad to really get a foot in, they have to go after both Aidan and Nora and I think even that group would have left Nina alone if she was pregnant.

  • Anita K

    I started watching Being Human from the first showing and really like the show for its drama, humor and weirdness. It got me interested in seeing the BBC version. To my surprise, I liked it too. There will always be the inevidable comparisons, but the characters and storylines are slightly different. I find that our Being Human, in its fledgling season combines elements of seasons 1 thru 3 of the BBC’s. Also, BBC’s version is much heavier, darker drama. Both are refreshing new concepts for episodic televsion. Bravo, I say! We need more shows like these two.

    • Melissa D.

      Totally agree. Check out the webisodes based on Adam. It looks like the start of another possible series..I hope. You can google them under Becoming Human. Youtube should have them.

  • wg

    *raises hand* Did not enjoy it. Gave it three episodes and was bored stiff by the vanilla remake of the original which just keeps getting better and better. Think the third series/season is the best yet. Just gut-wrenching. This… I really wanted to like it. But it was torturously slow and boring to watch. I couldn’t keep wasting the time on it.

  • AT

    Thanks for the interview. He is a very candid person with everything he has to say, so that’s cool! I happen to like both series and agree that this has very different characters with similar situations. Do I still think the original British series is better? I won’t lie, I do. But to be fair, I don’t think anyone can top Toby Whithouse’s writing right now on any show, let alone a remake of his series. But, the U.S. Being Human is still a great show and I look forward to how it ends tonight.

  • Kelly

    I tried to watch this but it just bored me compared to the BBC version, which just had its best season yet.

  • Wanda

    I love it.

    • starman1

      My wife and I love this show

  • Natalie

    I was sharpening my claws before it aired, but curiosity got the better of me and I’m glad it did. I am enjoying both versions immensely and only wish they were on opposite times of the year so I could get my fix any time of year.

  • Mike A

    As a viewer who has never seen the original British version, I love this show. It did start out a bit slow, but once it got going it has become “must see” TV. I was happy it got renewed. But I do want to see the original too.

    • Melissa D.

      Check it out on the Internet. It’s great and if you like this one. You’ll love that one.

  • Melissa D.

    Ok, I LOVED the UK version from the start. I watched the original pilot AND all of Series(Seasons for US) 1-3. I love the actors, writing, plots. I love the 6-8-8 episodes Series(Seasons). I was ready to rip SyFy a new one with this but Sam Witwer I love from BSG and Smallville so I was going to give it a try. I do like it…a lot..more than I thought I would. I love that the storylines are very similar but slightly different for all good reasons. I think the acting is great and yes Sally has the same issues as Annie did in terms of role. I love this Being Human universe. I also recommend the UK webisodes called Becoming Human they have done with teenager Adam. You can find them on Youtube.

  • BJG

    Now that the American version has proven itself (more or less), let’s see a crossover.

  • SLC

    he’s the only reason I watch it. he is fine!!

  • john

    I’ve never watched it, it comes on same time as WWE Raw and i can’t miss me some John Cena! Word!!

    • John’s Conscience

      Then STFU!

  • Joseph T

    Really enjoy this show and looking forward to tonight!

    I am hoping to see the British verison soon.

  • Justin

    I saw the first season of the British version and loved it. The idea of three different species of monster living together like this was very interesting to me. Definite must-see tv. So, when I heard it was coming to Syfy, I was very excited. So far, I actually like the SyFy version better than the British one because of the injection of more humor (the British version was too dark and world-weary at times) and slightly differing storylines. However, in the Syfy version, there is definitely a lot of drama with each of the three, especially Sally the last two episodes looking like The Grudge! I am excited for tonight’s finale and glad it got renewed for a second season.

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