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I confess that I knew absolutely nothing about this show before I started watching it.  From the box art I could tell that it was a horror show that involved monsters of some sort, but that was about it.  Now that I have finished the first season, I am completely convinced that everyone needs to check this show out (if you haven’t already).  It is a wonderful twist on the zombie genre with an endearing, relate-able protagonist and disturbingly almost-sympathetic villains.

Official Synopsis:

The Fades is a new supernatural horror series by 2011 Royal Television Society Award-winning writer Jack Thorne (the original UK Skins). Iain De Caestecker (Coronation Street) is Paul, a young man who is haunted by apocalyptic dreams that neither his therapist nor his best friend, Mac (Daniel Kaluuya, Skins, Sucker Punch), can provide answers for. Worse still, Paul has started seeing the Fades – the spirits of the dead – all around him. They’re everywhere but normally can’t be seen, heard or touched – until now. An embittered and vengeful Fade has found a way to break the barrier between the dead and the living. and Paul, Mac and their loved ones find themselves in the middle of it all. The worst is only yet to come as the fate of humanity rests in the hands of the two friends who already have enough trouble getting through a day in one piece, let alone saving the world.

The writing is witty and fun and the acting is solid.  Iain De Caestecker does an excellent job playing the unwilling “nerd” hero who spent his childhood playing superheros only to be forced into a real-life superhero role as a teenager.  Daniel Kaluuya plays the best friend perfectly by creating a believable character out of a variety of emotions/personality traits, including awe of his friend’s new abilities, fear, loyalty, and (more than anything else) geekdom.

Perhaps my favorite characteristic of this show is the fact that both Paul and John (the big bad) are well-rounded adversaries.  Neither are perfectly good nor perfectly evil.  Paul has moments where he screws up while John has at least one moment where I felt somewhat sympathetic towards him.  The secondary characters are not necessarily as fleshed out in terms of personalities and flaws, but I think the writers did an amazing job building a world and believable characters out of only six episodes.  I imagine we will get more from the other characters as the seasons progress.

Fair warning, there is a decent amount of gore (not really bloody/splatter gore but more like ‘body horror‘) and there are a lot of religious (mostly Christian) references.  While both elements are consistently present throughout the series, I never felt as though either got to be so much that it took away from the storytelling.  It’s clear the show is dealing with Christian ideology (plenty of references to angels and ‘ascending’) but it also does not ever really focus on the “God/god” question.  The ideology is just there to add to the story and somewhat natural given the subject matter of ‘life after death’.  As for the gore, there were plenty of moments where I felt a little ‘icky’ with regards to the visual effects on the screen, but I’ve also definitely seen worse in modern horror.  Again, it’s not really your traditional excessive bloody gore, but more like gooey, oozy skin-related gore.  I can’t elaborate beyond that without giving away serious spoilers but just as a heads up, you probably shouldn’t be eating while watching some of the later episodes (a mistake I made and regretted).

In the end, I strongly recommend this show for any fan of horror, zombie, or ghost stories.  And luckily for those fans…Nerds in Babeland have two copies of the first season of The Fades to giveaway on DVD! In order to enter, comment on this post and tell us what your favorite horror movie or TV show is (either or works).  We’ll select two winners at random on Friday, March 9, at 12 pm EST.

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