Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Fades: Episode 1 - TVReview

Can they survive the Fades?

Sinister things are coming...

It is almost difficult to believe that anything else could match the pure escapism and magic that Doctor Who currently enjoys. However, last night something so different, a television event, dropped out of the sky (just like dead birds) and took us in. The Fades is a supernatural thriller written by Jack Thorne (Skins, This Is England '86) and from the off there was something special about it. A woman is murdered, an unearthly creature stalks a building, a young man encounters a world of darkness that not everybody else sees... welcome to Paul's nightmare! So what makes this new drama so compelling?

Firstly the chemistry between actors Iain de Caestecker and Daniel Kaluuya, who play Paul and Mac, is remarkable in itself and helps to raise the characterisation to beyond satisfactory - even in a tale that explores death, it is always good to make light of a situation. And talking of light, I shall get to the ghosts in a moment.

The second delight in this mix of supernatural is the introduction of elements that will make this story a classic: poison in the eye, the moth (in a fantastic Jaw-dropping scene featuring Daniela Nardini and Johnny Harris), lonesome phantoms on rooftops straight out of a Charles Dickens ghost story, and souls searching for their afterlife...

And so to the darker elements (as if a moth out of the mouth wasn't dark enough *spoilers*), the sinister creature introduced from the start is committing murder - but why? Paul's night terrors envision an apocalypse, a possible future event? And just what makes him so special? Not only can he see spirits of the dead, but by the end of the episode he collapses and... absorbs some kind of energy, the same power that Helen (Nardini) displayed in an earlier scene?

So just what are the Fades? It is explained that they are dead people who have been unable to ascend - they are trapped on this Mortal coil, forever doomed to observe but never again interact; it is also revealed that these pathetic beings burn up and reform each time organic matter passes through them.

There is much to admire here, and both cast and crew deserve credit for giving us something new and incredible. I suppose the question is: can the quality be maintained in further episodes? Let us hope so, because this is one series that has the potential to make Wednesday nights an event...

Further reading: Check out the blog by The Fades writer Jack Thorne.