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Blu-ray Review: The Fades – Season One

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There’s no denying it: zombies are all the rage these days. A peek at the latest home video releases will prove just that — there are reanimated corpse offerings from major and no-name video distributors alike, every single one of them keen to cash in on the craze that is so popular amongst hipsters, brahs, and barely-pubescent boys and girls of all ages. Even on television, this dawn of the dead is, shall I say, alive and well, with the immensely popular AMC series, The Walking Dead, amassing millions of fans the world over.

Unfortunately, the trend (which has outlasted the vampire phase brought on by Twilight) has become increasingly annoying for anyone who doesn’t go in for fads such as myself, so it’s really refreshing to see that the Britons are putting their own spin on the genre. The zombie element of the BBC Three/BBC HD hit The Fades is kept to a minimum, beginning with a nerdy high school student named Paul (Iain de Caestecker) suffering from bizarre, apocalyptic nightmares. The reason behind his disturbing visions is forthright: the end of the human race is nigh, doomed to be destroyed by “Fades” — souls that have not been able to enter Heaven and who are determined to reclaim the planet.

To “normal” folks, the Fades are invisible. Paul, however, is not normal: he has the powers of the “Angelics,” those who are able to see and combat (as best they can) the growing evil. And evil, they are: in order to become somewhat human again, the Fades must attack (and maybe just nibble a little teensy bit) on the living beings. Naturally, none of Paul’s fellow students understand him at all, with the exception of his best friend, the equally-geeky Mac (Daniel Kaluuya, who also introduces the episodes in a “webcam” style), who loves to quote Star Wars and ‘80s movies. And the only adults who listen to his ramblings are fellow Angelics, all of whom try to pull Paul into their battle with the Fades, and who assume him to be something of a savior.

Though The Fades has only consisted of six episodes thus far (a second series is yet to be announced, but highly possible), it emerges as entertaining supernatural horror with a twist of hip humor, and it’s absolutely perfect for those of you who have had it up to your necks with zombies (as it really isn’t a “zombie” title, per se) and fancy something a little crazier. Though it centers around a high school student, it isn’t directly aimed at said youth group (it’s a pretty R-rated series), so there’s your warning, parents.

BBC Video brings us all six hour-long episodes of The Fades on two discs in stellar 1080p presentations, with accompanying DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo sound (yup, that’s right: just stereo, kids) and English (SDH) subtitles for those of you who have trouble with British accents. Several special features are included with this set: six behind-the-scenes featurettes, a brief interview with co-stars Johnny Harris and Natalie Dormer (who play an adult Angelic and Fade, respectively), some deleted/extra scenes, outtakes, and additional introductions by Daniel Kaluuya’s character).


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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.