The Fades Season One
Written by Jack Thorne (Skins), the BAFTA award winning The
Fades is a distinctly British take on the supernatural horror genre.
Following the misadventures of socially awkward misfit Paul and his
best friend Mac, The Fades kicks into action after the pair
stumble into the middle a battle between the dead and the emissaries of
The Lord ĎThe Angelicsí in an abandoned shopping mall. Following this
encounter, Paul finds himself plagued by apocalyptic visions and
burdened with the ability to see the dead, the ĎFadesí of the title.
The central conceit of the show is that when a person dies, they become
a ďFadeĒ, in essence a ghost, and must make their way to an ďAscension
PointĒ where their soul will enter the realm of the afterlife.
Unfortunately for Paul, something has been disrupting ascensions to the
point where itís now just a case of random chance whether or not a
spirit will ascend.
If an ascension doesnít occur, the Fade finds itself trapped on earth,
unable to interact with the living world around them and becoming more
resentful of the living with each passing year. However, a group of
rogue Fades led by primary antagonist John have discovered that,
through feeding on human flesh, itís possible to not only restore their
physical form but to also become invulnerable to physical harm. Deciding
that itís time for a new world regime, the Fades start attacking people
in order to build an immortal army of the undead.
As is usually the way in shows like this, it turns out that Paul is ďThe
Chosen OneĒ prophesised to help the Angelics avert the apocalypse and is
blessed with special abilities to assist in destroying the Fades, such
as shooting beams of damaging energy from his hands and, um, sprouting
wings whenever he ejaculates.
Throughout the series Paul begins to question whether or not heís
fighting on the right side of the battle as he struggles to maintain a
regular life amidst all the chaos. Fellow Angelic Neil (Who looks
uncannily like Karl Pilkington from ĎAn Idiot Abroadí) attempts
to prepare Paul for the coming battle, but does he truly have his best
interests at heart?
As you can probably tell, thereís a lot of back story to cover and this
can serve to halt the momentum somewhat, particularly in earlier
episodes due to the necessarily heavy plot exposition. And thatís not
even the whole enchilada Ė There are a myriad of additional subplots
including Paulís blossoming romantic relationship with his sisterís
friend Jay, the history of the Angelics, Paulís teacherís relationship
with his partner Sarah, an Angelic whoís now become a fade herself and
many, many more.
Some of these plot threads seemingly go absolutely nowhere, but with
The Fades initially planned as a trilogy of 6 episode seriesí itís
fair to assume that they were laying the groundwork for future
developments... Itís a shame then that BBC3 has decided to
unceremoniously drop it from their schedule, leaving us with only an
open ended first series.
The writing is sharp enough to maintain interest, but some of Macís pop
culture references appear awkwardly shoehorned in and donít really work.
The attempt to inject some comedy into proceedings also sits
uncomfortably with the horror aspects, creating an uneasy alliance that
doesnít exactly work and there are also some pretty glaring plot holes
and illogical character choices that detract from your enjoyment.
Despite this, The Fades for the most part works as a pretty
effectual supernatural drama and when it takes itself seriously it truly
shines. The cast play their roles well and the special effects are
quite good considering the dodgy quality usually associated with BBC
productions (Dr. Who, anyone?). The writing grows stronger over
the course of the series and the last two episodes had moments that
caught even a jaded old TV addict like myself by surprise. The audio and
visual quality of this release is as expected for a DVD release,
although some darker scenes can be hard to make out.
There is a nice selection of special features spread across this two
disc set, including extra and deleted scenes from each episode, a few
brief interviews and a series of short featurettes detailing different
aspects of the production. The brevity of most of the features is a tad
disappointing but theyíre informative enough to appease even the most
ardent follower of the series.
List of features:
Behind The Scenes Interviews
Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
Behind The Scenes Featurettes:
Polus Revealed (2:52)
The Chosen One (3:14)
The fades Are Here (2:50)
The Real Neil (3:21)
Writing The Fades (2:42)
despite some issues with pacing, is well worth checking out. The
protracted build up to the fast paced final 3 episodes may turn some
viewers off but if youíre willing to invest the time to immerse yourself
in the mythology of the show youíll reap the reward of an immensely
satisfying payoff. Unfortunately as this season serves as a lead in to a
larger story, itís left open ended and, considering we may never see the
resolution, this may deter curious parties from giving The Fades
the chance it deserves.
Slipping under the radar over here, The Fades will appeal to fans
of Torchwood, Misfits and Being Human. The promise
of the series is plain for all to see and hereís hoping that, if BBC3
wonít, another network picks it up. It asks for a lot of patience
throughout the first few episodes but by the end youíll be sitting on
the edge of your seat. Itís not perfect, but itís bloody good