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The Fades Season One DVD Review - -
The Fades Season One
Reviewed by
Sean Warhurst
The Fades Season One DVD Review The Fades, despite some issues with pacing, is well worth checking out.

Feature 7.5
Video 8.0
Audio 8.5
Special Features 6.0
Total 7.5
Distributor: ABC
Running Time: 338 Minutes
Genre: Horror
Reviewer: Sean Warhurst


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.  



-      Episode 1

-      Episode 2

-      Episode 3

-      Episode 4

-      Episode 5

-      Episode 6 

Special Features

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:

Disc 1:

-      Extra Scenes

-      Deleted Scenes

-      Behind The Scenes Interviews

-      Mac Explains

Disc 2:

-      Extra Scenes

-      Deleted Scenes and Outtakes

-      Behind The Scenes Featurettes: 

1.    Apocalypse (3:06)

2.    Polus Revealed (2:52)

3.    The Chosen One (3:14)

4.    The fades Are Here (2:50)

5.    The Real Neil (3:21)

6.    Writing The Fades (2:42)

Final Thoughts

The Fades, 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 entertainment. 


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