Review of "The Fades" on The BBC From The TV MegaSite
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Primetime Show Reviews

The Fades

"The Fades" review by Suzanne
Airs Tuesdays on BBC3


This is a really great show. It's edgy, it's real, and yet it is also very scary.

The show is about a geeky teenager who starts having apocalyptic dreams. Then he finds out that he can see ghosts. There are a lot of different characters, and tons of things happen. It can be a little confusing sometimes, but in a good way. It makes you really wonder what's going to happen next.

You can't really see this show in the US, but I'm hoping that eventually, they will show it here on BBC America or somewhere else.

It's the kind of show that really grabs you and doesn't let go. It's not just spooky or creepy, like, say, American Horror Story. It's downright scary, like a good horror movie. You don't ever see that on American TV.

More Information:

The six-part series, written by Jack Thorne (Skins, This Is England '86), concerns a young man called Paul (River City's Iain De Caestecker) who's haunted by apocalyptic dreams and starts seeing spirits (or "fades") in his everyday life; phenomena his best friend and therapist Mac (Psychoville's Daniel Kaluuya) struggles to help him cope with.

Jack Thorne, on show's origin:

"The Fades was born from a trip into executive producer, Sue Hogg's office -- she asked me what drama of the last ten years I wished I'd written -- I said the American cable show Freaks & Geeks -- I was wearing a Ghostbusters t-shirt, she said 'what about Freaks & Geeks meets Ghostbusters'. And I smiled and nodded enthusiastically. But the further we've gone along, and it's been five years since that meeting, the more seriously we've taken the fantasy and the mythology and so the comedy is subtler and a newer, fresher, hopefully more exciting show has emerged. I feel so lucky to be part of the team that's bringing it to the screen -- everyone from our location manager to our FX supervisor are so committed and we have such an amazing cast -- I'm quite literally in dreamland right now."

The Fades will co-star Miranda's Tom Ellis (a teacher suspected of killing his missing wife), The Tudors' Natalie Dormer (the teacher's tormented new girlfriend), This Is England '86's Johnny Harris (a mentor when it comes to tackling the forces of darkness), This Life's Daniel Nardini (a woman with an extraordinary ability), Skins' Lily Loveless (Paul's twin sister Anna), Ashes To Ashes' Claire Rushbrook (Paul and Anna's mum), Theo Barklem-Biggs (a policeman), Day Of The Triffids' Jenn Murray and Kick-Ass's Sophie Wu.

Award-winning writer, Jack Thorne (Skins, Cast Offs, This Is England 86) explains the genesis of his new fantasy horror series for BBC Three and who or what are The Fades.

"The Fades is a fantasy horror series about 17-year-old Paul (Iain De Caestecker) who becomes embroiled in a battle between the living and the dead. But fundamentally I think The Fades is a love story between Mac (Daniel Kaluuya) and Paul. As a kid I didn't have a best friend that I could share everything with and could be a team with, and this show is about a kid that's got one it's a love story about two best friends.

"The Fades are dead people, spirits that are trapped here in our world. There is no reason why fades are chosen. Death is random and the Fades are those that are left behind. They are angry, truly angry about the randomness and the pain and suffering. They are rotting, they can't be touched, they're prisoners on Earth and the series is about the Fades trying to break through back into the world of the living.

"Our lead Fade has learnt how to touch and he can kill. In the beginning of episode one he has crossed a line and is now able to touch and we follow him as he gets more and more corporeal and more able to cause damage to human beings, and kill. And we look how humankind responds to this.

"My inspiration for the series came from the sort of books I read as a kid. I grew up not reading comic books but fantasy novels. The novelist that was most important to me was probably Susan Cooper. How she writes, and what interests me, is less the sort of super hero fantasy that seems quite prevalent at the moment, and perhaps more old school she writes about ordinary people in extraordinary situations as opposed to extraordinary people in ordinary situations.

"What makes The Fades different is that it is a fantasy show rather than a science fiction show. It's about fairly ordinary people, none of these people act or behave like they're superheroes. It's about the world being fantastical. In episode one people have light coming out of their chests, insects crawling out of their mouths and fight spirits that are seemingly not there. The Fades is about the world itself being an extraordinary thing and how you battle it. This old school fantasy element combined with some pretty original characters is I hope is what will make people want to watch."

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Updated 11/4/11 

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