If you’re unlucky enough to get into heaven you become a fade. Luckily we can’t see these monstrous harbingers. A young lad isn’t as lucky as that as he can see them and they’ve found a way to get back at humanity in this tense series from the BBC.
Paul (Iain de Caestecker) and his best friend Mac (Daniel Kaluuya) are your usual outcast high school types (or whatever the equivalent grade is in England). Paul’s sister Anna (Lily Loveless) pays little attention to him as well, his mother Meg (Claire Rushbrook) dotes on him, and Anna’s friend Jay (Sophie Wu) seems attracted to him.
Paul is having dreams of destruction and ash that cause him to wet the bed and try not to sleep to keep away from his night terrors. Those terrors manifest into reality when he and Mac break into an abandoned building. Paul runs into the gun toting Neil (Johnny Harris) who is looking for someone called Sarah (Natalie Dormer) and witnesses him getting attacked by an otherworldly creature.
Paul flees but Neil tracks him down the next day to explain that these creatures are “Fades” and only special people like Paul, dubbed Angelics, can see them. They’re humans who haven’t ascended and are trapped unseen on our plane and this purgatory drives them mad.
They’re jealous of the humans they can only observe and once where and when a fade discovers the secret to be able to interact with our world the apocalypse of Paul’s dreams appears to be coming true.
The Fades is a six episode British television series that deals with supernatural doings in a small town that grow to affect the world. When people die they wander the earth unseen with a glow in their chest guiding them to ascension points where they go to the next world. If you don’t ascend you become a Fade who can’t interact with those around you and only grow bitter as time goes on and you see your relative and friends suffer.
It’s not a cakewalk as you continue to age and end up looking like an emaciated zombie. Times they are a changing as one of the Fades figures out a way to gain the ability to touch living beings and threatens to bring on an apocalypse that will destroy the world. This aspect of the show actually works and grows more interesting as the episodes unfurl. Though we are given many more mysteries as well.
The problem lies in our heroes. Mac is constantly quoting movies, many of which seem like ones that a kid his age wouldn’t know about anyway, which begins to annoy. Paul is such a milquetoast that you begin to get annoyed at his indecision and don’t get me started on the purple pants that he borrowed from Shaggy of Scooby Doo fame.
Even with roughly six hours of running time, some of the plot gets a bit confusing and twisty but seems to build up steam and suspense as it goes along. I tended to like the show more as it went along, but still found some of the characters grating.
The Fades is presented in a 1080i high definition transfer (1.78:1). Special features, scattered across the two discs, include an 18 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes (in HD and the only special feature in it, the rest are standard def), 4 minutes of interviews, 12 minutes of extra scenes, 12 minutes of deleted scenes, 3 minutes of outtakes, and 5 minutes of explanation by Mac.
The Fades has some good points and some bad ones. I found the plot an interesting one, but our main characters may have too many annoying flaws. I wished that they had been written a bit fuller to carry the interesting plot along.
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