Personality Complex is a regular feature of Complex's Pop Culture channel, where you'll be introduced to rising stars of film and television.
Meaghan Rath isn't used to this, talking about a character who is, you know, alive.
It's a mid-January afternoon, and Rath, 27, is in New York City doing the press rounds for the fourth season of the SyFy original series Being Human. She has something else on her mind, thoughâ€”her new indie film Three Night Stand. Co-starring and co-produced by Rath, the offbeat romantic comedy follows a vacationing couple trying to keep their relationship together while staying at a ski lodge run by the boyfriend's ex-lover. In less than 24 hours, the Montreal native is scheduled to hop on a plane and head out to Park City, Utah, to attend the film's premiere at Slamdance, the quirkier cousin to the neighboring Sundance Film Festival. "It's really exciting," says Rath, "because it's the first movie I've ever produced, but it's also a little strange talking about it. I'm usually trying to explain the afterlife to people."
That's what happens when you're the star of Being Human, SyFy's quietly successful adaptation of the British show of the same name. Rath plays Sally Malik, a sassy, sarcastic firecracker who also happens to be dead and the ghostly roommate of a vampire and a werewolf. She's not your ordinary apparition, though. Over the course of three full seasons (season four's third episode airs tonight at 9 p.m. EST), Sally has, in no particular order, battled a hunky Grim Reaper, briefly turned flesh-and-blood again and had a fling with a virginal mortician, inhabited human bodies, and been treated to manicures and pedicures while trapped in the limbo between Heaven and Hell. Oh, and there's also her ability to "shred" other ghosts.
No wonder the simplicity of Three Night Stand feels so jarring. "The mythology in Being Human becomes really complicated for me," says Rath. "I constantly have to map it out for myself to make sure I'm not lost in it. I often wonder, does the audience fully understand all of this? I'm sure there are people who watch the show and are lost, but thankfully enough people seem to understand it. Or if they don't, they just love the characters enough to stick around."
It's precisely that. With its lack of media fanfare, Being Human continues to be one of television's best-kept secrets, a funny and often powerfully dramatic look at social alienation and twentysomething insecurities channeled through classic horror tropes. For the wolf man (Josh, played by Sam Huntington), marriage is even more difficult thanks to he and his wife both changing into hairy, murderous beasts; the 200-plus-year-old vampire (Aiden, played by Sam Witwer) struggles with his addiction to blood like it's a drug and his sexual urges like a self-loathing playboy; and Sally's inability to fully connect with others is compounded by the fact that, well, she's dead.
In a perfect world, Being Human would receive as much media attention as The CW's like-minded, though far more melodramatic and superficial, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Yet Rath, for one, doesn't mind its position. "Being Human feels like an underdog, and I love that about it," says Rath. "I've always felt a bit like an underdog myself."
As told to Matt Barone (@MBarone)
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