Ghostly 'The Fades,’ premiering Saturday on BBC America

McClatchy NewspapersJanuary 10, 2012 

Just in time for the end-of-the-world claptrap of 2012, BBC America gives us “The Fades” a six-part series starting January 14, that’s half an adolescent soap opera and half a supernatural show based on death, the afterlife and fear.

When Paul, a British high school teenager, starts having nightmares, he chalks it up to adolescence and maybe a hangover from over-consumption of popular culture such as “Star Wars,” the Terry Pratchett books and “The Lord of the Rings.” Even dreams of a holocaust complete with drifts of ash and dead bodies could have been churned out of his subconscious.

A typical teen, he just endures. After all, his psychologist says that probably the dreams have something to do with his parents’ divorce. That’s when the dreams started.

But then in an abandoned mall, Paul sees a dying woman and a man attacked by things non-human. Later, he sees people that others — like his best friend, the sex-obsessed Mac — don’t, such as an eerie blonde girl who lures him into dangerous situations. (Why do good guys always go into dark alleys without any backup?)

The attacked man, Neil Valentine, tracks Paul down and tells him what he’s seeing are ghosts. Paul can see the “Fades.”

“Look, when people die, some go up or some stay here,” Valentine says. “These are those that stay here. We call them the Fades … if they don’t ascend, they stay here.”

Valentine and others are Angelics. It appears that Paul is one as well, something he’s reluctant to accept or understand. All Paul wants is for everyone to go away. He wants is to be a normal teenager with normal problems — school, hormones, and deflecting his mother’s need to communicate.

Valentine’s problems are more desperate. Some of the Fades have found a way to cross from death to life by killing and eating humans. The body count grows, including some of the Angelics.

Paul thinks he has a choice between being normal or an Angelic, but really he doesn’t. The holocaust is coming and he has a part to play in whether it happens.

At one point, Paul’s psychologist tells him, “The things that scare us are the things that make us human. Never be afraid of being scared. Just don’t allow being scared to dictate the choices you make.”

Depending on if BBC America edits for an American audiences, be prepared for obscenities, explicit sexual situations, bed wetting, and the occasional bloody corpse. Anyone who watches “CSI” or “Supernatural” should have no problems with the latter.

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