About six months ago or so I picked up a twin DVD set for a British miniseries called Ultraviolet. The box (well, the Daily Mail)calls the 1998 show "a dark, stylish vampire thriller for the X-Files generation."
Well ... yeah, they're right.
It's dark. Perforce, much of the action occurs at night. And nowhere does night time seem darker, more treacherous than in London.
It's stylish. Music is simple, lulling yet menacing. The fx are kept to a (nice) minimum. The direction is straightforward. It's all much more sinister and suspenseful than flashy and bloody. Though there is, indeed, blood.
As to the rest — the "v" word is never actually used, but the vampire concept has never been so nicely brought up to date. This is what vampires would be like, how they would behave, how humanity would respond to them.
It's the story of a small group of government operatives — including the young police detective recruited in the first episode — who are the British response to the vampire threat. That sounds really cheesy, but, in many ways, the series is not much different from a tale of a mysterious government unit fighting some sort of a terrorist movement. There's just enough v-stuff, enough pseudo-science, to give it an extra frisson of terror.
It's not Buffy, or even Angel. It's not witty. Its violence is more subtle. Its horror is more pervasive. It's darker, more threatening. The moral quandaries, the psychological conundra are deeper. And yet with just as many subplots and ongoing twists, as sophisticated a plot and a world in the course of six episodes as, frankly, either of those shows over multiple seasons.
This is good stuff, people. If you like the X-Files (not the glitzy fx eps, but the something is out there ones, if you like suspense thrillers, if you want something really dark, and really scary, and really good ... watch Ultraviolet.
(The original of this review can be found here.)