After its first run on American television (BBC America), ‘The Fades’, a maxi-series chronicling the fight between good and evil, hit Blu-ray and DVD this week. This review will focus on the contents of the Blu-ray disc.
Like any Blu-ray, the first thing that stands out is the visual presentation. ‘The Fades’ cover focuses on Paul, the teen protagonist that finds out just how special he is and Polus, the fade who, after years of feeding human flesh becomes reborn as John. From there, the usual notes cataloging the special features are on the back of this two-disc collection.
Uncut, the main feature is presented in pristine 1080i High Definition and DTS HD-MA sound that helps bring the world of ‘The Fades’ to life. Naturally dark, the quality of HD helps define details that may be lost or muddled in standard definition. The crisp sound is a perfect compliment for those invested in the most complete entertainment viewing.
There are quite a few special features though they aren’t to the level of detail I would have liked for a show with so much depth should command. Many of these alternate between HD and standard definition and the vast difference in sound when switching between the two (I generally need to crank the volume up by 10-15% during the SD portions of the discs) gets to be a little annoying.
The first disc encompasses episodes 1-3, deleted/extra scenes for those episodes, interviews with Johnny Harris (Neil) and Natalie Dormer (Sarah) and a segment entitled ‘Mac Explains’. Disc two houses the final three episodes (with deleted and extra scenes), a behind the scenes segment that delves a bit more into the ‘Fades’ universe and a few minutes of generic outtakes.
With his incessant chatter and brilliant lines it comes as no surprise to find the two most entertaining special feature pieces both involve Daniel Kaluuya’s Mac. Disc one has ‘Mac Explains’, a POV laced exposition done in a similar vein to his pre-episode recaps. Though some of what he covers is rehashed in the behind the scenes featurette on disc two, Mac’s iteration is far more enjoyable. The extra scenes, set in Paul and Mac’s favorite diner, play as an epilogue of sorts for each episode where the two friends discuss the inane, all the while working in some of the pertinent developments for that episode. The banter between these two is highlighted in these two minute shorts and is a testament to Jack Thorne’s sharp wit in crafting seamless and witty dialogue. The deleted scenes are prefaced by producer Caroline Skinner or director Tom Shankland as to why they were cut out of the final product. Though well done, not one of these scenes carried enough strength to warrant inclusion into the final cut.
As mentioned, the Behind the Scenes offers details into the ‘Fades’ world, both onscreen and off. While the mythology is touched on, these six featurettes also detail the thought going into creature designs, makeup, character wardrobe and writing.
The outtakes are standard fare with the actors flubbing lines and trying their best to curb their laughter. It is a step above the two interviews, however. To call the Johnny Harris (Neil) and Natalie Dormer (Sarah) segments ‘interviews’ is a gross exaggeration. Like all the features on the two discs, they both clock in under 2 and a half minutes and though both actors provide some good material, there’s just not enough there to make these worthwhile.
Overall, ‘The Fades’ Blu-ray collection does provide some good material. Though it falls short on some aspects (no episode commentary, all individual features are under 2:30) other television sets have knocked out of the park. Despite some of its limitations, it still provides enough fanfare not to mention the HD fix of this well written BBC transplant to buy a copy for yourself.
If you recall, we held a contest for a free copy of ‘The Fades’ Season One Blu-ray. The winner of the giveaway is Bill Norris……@bnchile4444! Congratulations Bill!
- Episodes 1-3
- Deleted/Extra Scenes
- Interview with Johnny Harris
- Interview with Natalie Dormer
- Mac Explains
- Episodes 3-6
- Deleted/Extra Scenes
- Behind the Scenes