Taking a quote from the opening sequence of The Fades, this is a good idea filled with bad possibilities. The show could go wrong in many directions like others before it have (Demons anyone?) but the first episode to air stateside on BBC America was a surprising treat.
The fades, or “shitty ghosts” as our teen protagonist eloquently dubs them, are the dead who have not been able to pass on due to depleting ascension points on earth. The spirits get stuck in our world where they cannot touch, taste, be seen and over time, the repercussions are not warm and fuzzy. One angry fade in particular is breaking into our world in violently murderously ways . Happily for TV sci-fi, the baddy is actually scary looking. He’s a mix of the mutated Blade 2 vamps and the lying figures from the Silent Hill 2 game. Pale and grotesque.
The main character is high school student Paul (Iain De Caestecker) who learns he is a seer. In the beginning, another seer named Sarah dies and her last words were her nightmares were coming true. Paul is having these same visions. In them he is alone in a barren landscape with ash falling from the sky onto him. He also begins to see the fades walking the streets, lost and lonely. Paul is eventually sought out by Neil (Johnny Harris). Neil was with Sarah when she passed and is The Fades’ answer to a Watcher. He explains to Paul the dark world he has been only catching glimpses of.
Paul’s best friend and fellow high school outcast is Mac (Daniel Kaluuya). Mac is quick with the 80’s pop culture references which will always get me on a character’s side right away. Jay (played by the adorable Sophie Wu) is Paul’s love interest and friend to his snotty twin sister Anna (Lily Loveless). So far after one episode I am enchanted by the cast and have started to care about the characters. They seem real, especially when placed among the bleak, grey setting of a realistic urban environment. It’s a refreshing change to the over stylized teen/young adult American dramas with designer clothes, professionally applied makeup and every shiny hair in place.
If the continuing episodes are just as good as the first one, and hopefully they’ll just get better, I will be hooked on this show with fingers crossed for a season two. I admit I will forever compare any supernatural show that involves teens to Buffy but my first instinct is The Fades will hold its own in comparison. I can see the characters growing, changing, dealing with growing up and their changing friendships, like Buffy did so well. Let’s just hope American doesn’t try to do a remake of it (oh no!).
Did you catch The Fades? Are you lucky enough to have watched the entire first season and if so does it hold up? What show do you find yourself comparing others to?
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