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It’s hard enough just being an awkward outcast teenager, but
Paul has to contend with a lot more than zits and prom dates. The apocalypse is
coming, the dead are walking the earth and somehow he is slated to save all of
When I first received THE FADES: Season One (on DVD and
Blu-ray from BBC Home Entertainment), I really didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. I
had seen previews of the hit British show between episodes of DOCTOR WHO and AB
FAB on BBC America. The previews made it look kind of like 90210 with some
zombies thrown in. Whoa, was I wrong! This show kicks ass! After sitting down
and watching the first few episodes, I’m now a devoted fan, and can add this to
my growing list of favorite TV series.
Created and written by Jack Thorne of SKINS (and featuring
several of SKINS’ cast as well), THE FADES revolves around Paul (Iain De
Caestecker), a teenager who lives with his mother and twin sister Anna (Lily
Loveless). While Anna is pretty and popular, Paul and his best friend Mac
(Daniel Kaluuya) are the school outcasts and surround themselves with geek
culture. The duo seem complacent falling into typical high-school social
classes—until Paul starts having apocalyptic nightmares and seeing corpses
wandering about the town.
He soon meets other “Angelics” who explain that these beings
are “Fades”—dead souls who were not able to ascend into the afterlife and are
forever trapped on Earth. Usually Fades cannot be heard, seen or have the
ability to touch objects, but the shit is about to hit the proverbial fan
because a number of the Fades have discovered that eating human flesh gives
them to power to be reborn as live beings. The battle between the living and
the dead is quickly escalating, and Paul seems to be at the center of it all.
This may sound a bit complex and religion-heavy, but it’s really not. As a
character states in the first episode, there is no heaven, hell, God or eternal
salvation. There is only life, death and varying stages in between.
The show’s FX vary in caliber; though the dead look great
and have plenty of gruesome, gore-filled moments, some of the other FX have a
distractingly digital look. Think DOCTOR WHO or BUFFY-style bits where the CGI
is mediocre at best, but passable for the split second it’s on screen. THE
FADES goes for quite a bit of eyeball gore, whether sticking things in them or
pulling them out, and these moments had me cringing and gasping a number of
times. But the best part of the show is sidekick Mac, who endlessly quotes STAR
WARS, MORK AND MINDY, Neil Gaiman and other geek-culture references. He is
witty and charming, and occasionally drinks cough medicine to “take the edge
off.” I want to hang out with this guy!
The disc sets contain six episodes that run an hour each,
with special features including ample amounts of behind-the-scenes footage,
outtakes and deleted scenes. Though the latter are interesting to watch, in
most cases it’s easy to see why these moments were omitted. The making-of
footage is fascinating, as it reveals some of the FX applications and
executions from beyond the camera’s frame. But the best feature is definitely
the outtakes, which confirmed my belief that the antics and strong cast
connections onscreen are just reflections of the close bonds and hilarity that
took place offscreen.
Internet rumor has it that THE FADES has already been
renewed for a second season, which should be gearing up soon. This show seems
destined to become a cult fave itself; check out the trailer below.
DVD/ Blu-ray Reviews
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