Monday, October 03, 2011
Stop me if you've heard this one before: a teen outcast must fulfill his destiny by fighting the forces of evil and preventing the apocalypse. The Fades is a new fantasy/horror series co-produced by BBC America and BBC Three (scheduled for a January 2012 premiere on BBC America). What the show lacks in originality, it attempts to make up for with strong execution and appealing characters. The big problem with many genre shows is that they require lots of set up. Viewers are usually forced to sit through long and clunky bits of exposition before they can get to the cool stuff. The more fantastical, the more exposition required. Not only do you have to do the basics like establishing characters and their relationships, but the rules of the show also need to be explained -- all in the context of a compelling story. Piece of cake, right?
Fades' pilot tries to give us the cool stuff early on (with very little backstory), trying to hook us out the gate. Interesting approach. Did it work? Nope. Felt rushed and confusing. At first I couldn't figure who the good guys were, then I wasn't sure what they were trying to accomplish -- the second episode is a much better effort... because things were explained! We might not like it, but exposition is a necessary evil. A show like Lost is one of the rare exceptions to the rule.
Overall, the characters aren't anything we haven't seen before: the geeky best friend who's a pop culture savant, mean older sister, concerned but clueless mom, etc. The last few seasons of Supernatural have covered the subject matter extensively, so it lacks that completely fresh feel, but I'm probably going to stick around for the six episode run...