The Fades: Series 1 (2011)

TV series review: The Fades (BBC, 2011), directed by Farren Blackburn and Tom Shankland

thefadesModern day urban Britain. 17-year-old Paul (Iain de Caestecker) has nightmares about the world coming to an end, and to top it all off, he can also see dead people – so called “Fades”.

Fades are spirits trapped on this side because they couldn’t move into the light, and because they’re trapped with the living, who don’t even know they’re there, they are … disgruntled, shall we say?

Some of them, like John (Joe Dempsie), have learned how to become partially human again, but at a price: their table manners leave a lot to be desired.

And they’re at war.

The “Angelics” (e.g. Johnny Harris and Daniela Nardini) are people like Paul, who can see Fades. Paul just never expected to be one of them, let alone being dragged into a bloody conflict and having to balance saving humanity from extinction and getting a girlfriend and not flunk his A-levels.

Also starring: Claire Rushbrook as Paul’s mum, Natalie Dormer as dearly departed Sarah, Tom Ellis as Sarah’s grieving husband Mark, who is also a history teacher at Paul’s school, Jenn Murray as Natalie, and Chris Mason as Steve.

The Fades is a fantasy horror story in six parts, and while the last episode was setting the scene for a second series, it was confirmed last month that the BBC are’t renewing it. Which is a shame because it’s actually a really good show.

The characters were fairly likeable – best friend Mac (Daniel Kaluuya) was my favourite – and oh so human. Saving the world when your twin sister’s (Lily Loveless) best friend (Sophie Wu) wants to stick her tongue down your throat? Snogging is more important, obviously.

While the Fades weren’t exactly neighbourly, the show gave them a reason for being killers, and being Angelic should not be confused with being, well, angelic. Good and evil is perhaps more shades of grey than pure black and white. That makes the show fascinating. Just a shame we won’t get to see more of it.

4 out of 5 gory, mutilated corpses not for the faint-hearted.


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