Fades: Season One [Blu-ray] (2012)

Actors: Johnny Harris, Iain De Caestecker, Daniel Kaluuya
Format: NTSC, Widescreen
Language: English
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012
Run Time: 360 minutes




This BBC horror TV series stands out in the current glut of supernatural-themed TV shows and is worth checking out . . .

Why so many horror, instead of sci-fi, shows nowadays? Blame the gloomy economy. Horror shows have a built-in audience and are cheaper to produce since they don’t require expensive spaceship sets and extensive special effects. Plus people nowadays probably find it easier to believe in monsters rather than a federation of planets or whatever. If they can’t get the Euro zone to work, then how can they even think of some federation of planets or whatever? Or maybe it’s just because Twilight is making such a killing at the box office . . .

Whatever your thoughts might be on the current oversupply of horror shows, this 2011 British television series is worth checking out and not necessarily just by fans of the genre.

The title refers to so-called “Fades” – dead people who wander the earth as invisible ghosts because they aren’t allowed into heaven. The Fades (not to be confused with the Brit indie rock band) have become resentful of humanity for this state of affairs and have found a way to come to life again as flesh-and-blood creatures. The only problem is that this plan involves human cannibalism . . .

Thrown into this mix is Paul (played by Iain de Caestecker), a geeky teen who in addition to normal teen issues must cope with vivid apocalyptic dreams and a group of so-called “Angelics,” normal people who can actually see the Fades and police them. The “Angelics” want Paul to join their group, but like most teens of that age he is more interested in girls and in hanging out with his best pal Mac (Daniel Kaluuya).

THE DISCS: All six hour-long episodes are contained on two discs. Image and sound are excellent although the volume level of the music on the menu screen is higher than the presentation itself. Probably because we have an older Blu-ray player the discs took a long time to load and in one case we had to eject them and start all over again.

WORTH IT? The show is indeed witty and intelligent as a blurb states on the cover box and should appeal to genre fans, especially readers of the Hellblazer comics. It also raises the bar on what can be shown on the telly though and features some graphic violence, nudity and, um, scenes of masturbation. (It is a flick about teenagers, you know.) So sensitive viewers should beware and parents exercise some caution. Not all British TV shows are stodgy costume dramas . . .

It takes a while to get going, but by the second disc of episodes it is quite thrilling and tense stuff, proof again that one shouldn’t judge a TV series by its pilot or by watching only a few episodes. At times it pursues some subplots that seem to go anywhere or serve any purpose – what is it with Paul’s history teacher and his ghost wife? Brit accents can also get a bit unintelligible at times. However The Fades makes up for this by taking some unexpected story directions. Acting is fine and special effects are decent too. The episodes are mostly fast-paced.

RECOMMENDATION: The future of this British TV series is uncertain at the time of writing, but it would be sad if another season doesn’t get made. Horror and fantasy fans should check it out.



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