Blu-ray Review: Fun Supernatural Drama of Engaging ‘The Fades’

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CHICAGO – Sorry SyFy fans and those of you addicted to CW goodies like “The Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural,” but if I could have only one network for genre TV it would be BBC America. “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood,” “Being Human” — all rule. And the latest addition to the arsenal of this great network is “The Fades,” the first season of which was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. Blu-ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

Paul (Iain De Caestecker) is having a bad day. He’s always been the guy who isn’t really all that popular to begin with and then he starts seeing dead people and dead, well, “not people.” The title of the show refers to creatures who have died but not yet passed over the other side. And they’re pissed. And getting more powerful and terrifying. Normal people can’t see them but Paul isn’t normal. He’s also been having apocalyptic nightmares that can’t be explained. Only his best friend Mac (Daniel Kaluuya) truly believes him. His popular sister (Lily Loveless of “Skins”) certainly doesn’t like her gawky brother has gotten even weirder.

Jack Thorne, the creator of “The Fades,” is a fantastic TV writer. In fact, the whole behind-the-scenes pedigree of the show should get fans of British TV excited. People involved in this show were also involved in “This is England ‘86,” “Skins,” “Shameless,” “Survivors,” “Waking the Dead,” “Five Days,” and “Doctor Who,” this is clearly a program with a high pedigree and it shows. Production values are high throughout and the premiere is expertly directed, shot, and edited. The cast is more than up to the challenge of the dark material and it’s well-balanced with a nice streak of dark comedy. This is bloody, scary stuff, but Thorne smartly knows that it can’t take itself too seriously. It’s well-balanced tonally and definitely worth a look for anyone who’s enjoyed BBC programming before. It’s not “Who,” “Torchwood,” or “Being Human” but once you’ve exhausted those programs, this will make an engaging alternative.

The Fades
The Fades
Photo credit: BBC Home Video

Seventeen-year-old Paul (Ian De Caestecker, Coronation Street) is haunted by apocalyptic dreams that neither his therapist nor his best friend and fellow geeky social outcast Mac (Daniel Kaluuya, Skins, Sucker Punch) can provide answers for. Worse still, Paul has started to see the Fades - spirits of the dead - all around him when they are not supposed to be sensed at all by ordinary human beings. And as if that is not enough, an embittered and vengeful Fade finds a way to break the barrier between the dead and the living, placing Paul and Mac, with their friends and family, right in the eye of the storm. Soon the fate of humanity rests in the hands of two teenagers who already have enough trouble getting through a day in one piece, let alone saving the world …

Special Features
o Mac Explains
o Extra Scenes
o Deleted Scenes
o Interviews with Johnny Harris and Natalie Dormer
o Outtakes

“The Fades” stars Iain De Castecker, Daniel Kaluuya, Lily Loveless, Natalie Dormer, Tom Ellis, Johnny Harris, Sophie Wu, Daniela Nardini, and Claire Rushbrook. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 21, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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