BBC iPlayer: 'The Fades' (UK Airdate: 2011) // Words: Lauren Johnson-Ginn
In my previous review of 'The Fades' I said I hoped the rest of the series would continue to be as entertaining as the first two episodes, and I’m pleased to report that, three episodes later, it is still very much nail-biting, stomach-churning, hide-behind-a-cushion television.
The mysterious ‘fades’ have now fully made the transition from ‘mostly harmless if a bit creepy Casper types’ to ‘full-on flesh-eating menace’, led by head fade John (Joseph Dempsie).
It has emerged that the fades can be ‘reborn’ – in truly disgusting membrane sacs – provided they get their essential five a day of humans. Although this may sound like standard vampire fare, there are no illusions of glamour about these monsters. They are visceral, frightening and not remotely like anything dreamed up by Stephanie Meyer. Phew.
One of the most remarkable things about 'The Fades' is its fantastic tightness of plot and sense of pace. Every episode brings a new revelation and moments of genuine tension – something that was sadly lacking in latter series of 'Being Human', the nearest point of comparison.
Commendably, 'The Fades' also manages to balance these lofty supernatural themes with complex and believable characters and relationships. The long-awaited consummation of the will-they-won’t-they romance between Paul (Iain de Caestecker) and Jay (Sophie Wu) has seen Jay’s initially bland character gain depth.
Paul’s aggressively bitchy sister Anna (Lily Loveless) and sci-fi obsessed best friend Mac (Daniel Kaluuya) have also progressed significantly since the first episode, making it something of a coming of age journey for each of the teenage protagonists.
As for what lies ahead in next week’s episode, the series finale: the fades are becoming an epidemic, violence is escalating and Paul must learn to harness his badass powers and embrace his inner Clark Kent.
'The Fades' airs Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC Three, and is also available on BBC iPlayer.