BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Fades Season One
Creepy British series is a must watch...
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British science-fiction has made a big impact at home and here in the United States recently with Doctor Who and Torchwood, but the UK’s fantasy/horror is rapidly making a name for itself as well. First there was Being Human, but now there’s The Fades. For those of you like me who missed it on BBC America the first time around, the show is what we here in the US would call a mini-series consisting of six episodes (UK shows often have shorter seasons than ours). To say that it’s unlike anything else on TV right now would be a bit of an understatement. And now, you can pick up The Fades Season One on DVD and Blu-ray!
In the premiere episode of The Fades we’re introduced to high school student Paul (Iain De Caestecker). A troubled young man with family issues, Paul is dragged by his overbearing best friend Mac (Daniel Kaluuya) to check out an abandoned mall. There they find more than they expected when the protagonist witnesses a bizarre creature attacking someone. Scarred by the experience, Paul begins to notice strange things going on around him and horrible dreams of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Finally he’s approached by the very man he saw being attacked in the mall; he is Neil (Johnny Harris), a member of a small group of people called Angelics who can see the dead and who know what’s really happening. Spirits of the recently dead have one small chance to ascend to heaven and if they don’t they become the Fades: stuck on Earth and increasingly angry. And from Paul’s visions things are going to get a lot worse...
As the series progresses we see Paul’s evolution from a confused, scared young man into someone with a powerful destiny and the will to see it through. All the while he’s supported and enriched by his family and the other Angelics, especially Neil. I really hesitate to go into much more detail on what happens since you’re really going to want to watch it and find out for yourself. For such a short series The Fades is surprisingly riveting with interesting characters and a mythology that’s immersive and compelling. The world is dark and dreary with little hope, but it’s that very glimmer that keeps everyone going.
While it’s been compared to other “ghost story” TV shows and movies (most notably Sixth Sense and other properties in which the main characters can see ghosts), The Fades really does have a feel all its own. This is achieved partly through the rich storytelling and unique take on the supernatural elements, but also through the fact that it’s a British series. As someone who watches mostly American TV and a little from the UK, I can tell you that their TV has an appealing aspect of “otherness.” They have different colloquialisms, different politics, different outlooks on social issues, and much more. The first episode has a great example of this. Upon hearing gunshots the two young men are really freaked out, way more than you’d expect in an American series. Why is that? Because in England gun control means firearms are much rarer. Little things like that add another element of interest for a lot of viewers.
Other than the six episodes, the Blu-ray set of The Fades Season One includes a few neat special features. “Extra” scenes, deleted scenes, outtakes, and viral video-style “Mac Explains” segments expand the universe of the show while a couple cast interviews go behind the scenes on the production itself. Season One is available in stores and online now, and is highly recommended for fans of supernatural horror!
Review by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of BBC America