Syfy’s cancellation announcement for Being Human (currently in its fourth season) came as somewhat of a surprise especially considering that it has tracked better in the ratings this year than Haven did this past Fall, yet that one received a fifth season renewal (not knocking Haven, just looking at the raw numbers). But ratings alone do not always dictate a show’s fate (they usually play a major part, though), so there are other factors that must have come into play when the network decided to end this show after its four season run.
Series star Sam Witwer tweeted that the move was for artistic reasons and that this year was always planned as the show’s last. And the fact is that the Syfy version of this show will have produced 52 episodes by the end of its run which is more than the 37 that the original BBC version delivered over five seasons. However, the simple fact is that television networks almost never do things for artistic reasons and if they thought they could make money on additional seasons then they almost certainly would have kept it going. Supernatural would have ended with its fifth season if series creator Eric Kripke had his way, but that one is now headed into its tenth year. Chris Carter wanted to wrap up The X-Files after its fifth or sixth season, but it went to nine. The Lost producers got lucky that they were allowed to decide where the show would end, though many fans still argued that it felt like it had at least a season’s worth of padding.
So other factors must have come into play that led to the cancellation of Being Human, but I’m not seeing a lot of good information out there that could nail down a specific reason. It’s possible that the licensing agreement Syfy had with the BBC made the show more expensive than Haven, thus the reason it got cancelled while the lower-rated show will be returning for a fifth season. It’s also possible that the recent shakeups at Syfy led to them cutting this series loose. The network president has indicated that they want to get back to more science fiction oriented original programming which could be why they are parting ways with what I previously referred to as “sci fi lite” entries like Being Human and Warehouse 13. But then Haven fits into that same category as well and the network seems fully committed to that one for the time being. Of course, the Haven over Being Human move may be simply a cost issue. Perhaps the former series is cheaper and Syfy has a bigger stake in it and that is why they decided to keep it and cut ties with the other.
In any case, it will definitely seem strange to many fans for the network to have cancelled the one and kept the other, and there are certainly behind the scenes factors that just have not come into the light yet. And it seems like many fans were taken by surprise with the announcement as they have mounted multiple campaigns to keep the show alive. It’s unlikely that Syfy would change their decision to cancel the series, but it could continue on another channel or a streaming service like Amazon or Netflix. I believe that Being Human would be a relatively inexpensive series to produce (not taking into account any licensing agreements), so it could be economically feasible for another mid-tier cable channel. And Amazon just recently committed to a third season of BBC produced crime series Ripper Street, so they may have an interest in Being Human (assuming they wouldn’t prefer to continue the original British version).
Being Human’s current fate is uncertain, though I would give it a better chance than a show cancelled by the broadcast networks barring any of the intangibles pondered above. Keep an eye on this site and the Cancelled Sci Fi Twitter Site for any additional news, but fans should at least take some solace in the fact that the remaining episodes will resolve most of the show’s ongoing storylines.
Stream past season of the U.S. and U.K. version of Being Human for free with Amazon Prime subscription.
Buy Being Human on DVD from Amazon.com.