The Fades

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"The Fades are coming... It's inevitable."


The Fades is a 2011 British Series about a young boy, Paul, plagued by pants-wettingly scary[1] dreams of the world covered in ash and ruin. While searching for materials for his best friends' amateur horror movie in an abandoned shopping centre, he stumbles upon much more than he bargained for: a crazed, dirt-covered man pointing a gun at him, a creepy girl only he seems to see and much more worrisome, a ghoul-like being that really doesn't look very friendly. As he ponders if his sanity has finally decided to fully leave him, he unknowingly involves himself in a struggle that may very well end with his dreams of the apocalypse becoming reality. The Fades are coming... It's inevitable

Tropes used in The Fades include:

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Paul fantasising about Jay. With quite interesting *ahem* results...
  • Adorkable: Paul and Mac take it to new levels.
  • All There in the Manual: The official BBC website gives additional infos about the premise and the characters, introducing and explaining certain concepts before their appearance in the series proper.
  • Alpha Bitch: Paul's twin sister, Anna.
  • Anti-Hero: Just about everyone.
  • Anyone Can Die: Established with the deaths of Sarah and Helen in the very first episode. Though seeing as this is a show about ghosts, death doesn't necessarily mean a character's departure from the show.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Anna screams "[to Paul] You're mad,[to Mac] you're mad and Jay's a library monitor!"
  • Asshole Victim: Sam Griegson and Greg Taylor. But even for 12-year old vandals like themselves, getting ripped to shreads by hungry undead might be a bit overkill...
    • When Paul gets angry with Anna taunting his relationship with Jay, accidentally using his powers to temporarily sew her mouth shut.
  • Back from the Dead: After spending episode 4 as a fade while his brain-dead body lies in the hospital as a result of his encounter with a truck, Paul ressurects in a rather spectacular fashion.
  • Badass Preacher: Helen (her first act is to appear in Sarah's room stealing her gun)
  • Black and Grey Morality: While cannibalistic, vengeful undead are hardly sympathetic characters, the Angelics don't exactly live up to their names... Especially Neil.
  • Black and Nerdy: Mac
  • Black Best Friend: Also Mac
  • Blind Seer: Eric, the ancient Angelic visited by Neil and Paul in the second episode.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Averted. Quite audibly.
  • Break the Cutie: An ongoing one for Sarah, starting with her death and going down from there.
  • Broken Masquerade: by the end of Episode 5, people are fleeing town after all the disappearings, the killings and the ever-increasing tremors, aware that something very unusual and very bad is happening. Plus, Paul now has displayed his abilities in a rather public fashion.
  • British Brevity: One season, six episodes.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Butterfly motifs are quite frequent in the show, from the moth puked out after a healing to the cocoons of a materialising Fade, and of course Paul's resurrection.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Paul's mother, repeatedly.

Anna: Paul is having sex with my best friend and when I found them and shouted at him he did a magic spell on me.
Mum: You're having sex with Tracy?
Anna: The other one.
Mum: Jay? Oh... I'm quite impressed with Jay.

  • Dark Messiah: John, who is seen as a saviour figure by the Reborns -- though his idea of a better world involves everyone either becoming a Reborn or Reborn food.
  • Dawson Casting: Paul, his twin sister Anna, Mac and Jay are A-level students, so probably aged somewhere around 17 (Mac turns 18 in episode 3). Lily Loveless (Anna) is 21 and Daniel Kaluuya (Mac) is 22, so the casting isn't too far out, while Iain de Caestecker (Paul) is 24. Sophie Wu (Jay) is 28. Thank goodness...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mac, again.

Mac: I'm not ready to die, I haven't decided what my last words will be yet.

  • Death by Origin Story: Sarah dies in the first ep, and gets stuck as a Fade.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The Title Sequence may even give the one in True Blood a run for its money.
  • Disappeared Dad: Paul.
  • Downer Ending: Episode 6: Paul manages to re-open Ascension and thus release the stuck fades and the reborns, only to see the sky turn an ominous shade of red in response... (while elsewhere, the wounded and probably dying Neil mutters "I told him...I told him, you don't fuck with Ascension.")
    • Plus the girl he loves got shot in the head by his former mentor. Her death only just hits him once Ascension has been re-opened and Mac and Anna ask where Jay is, and he bursts into tears.
  • Evil Counterpart: John, the Angelic Killer and leader of the Reborns to Paul.
  • Evilly Affable: John aka Polus the Angelic-killing Fade, now with a body. Ever so pleasant and polite, when not munching on a carotide or butchering Angelics.
  • Eye Scream: Neil. Twice, on the same one - though the second one was to try and scrape the poison out.
  • Eyes of Gold: "Polus" the ghoulish fade and all the fades that consume human flesh.
  • Gender Blender Name: Jay
  • Genre Blind: Sure Sarah, go check out the creepily groaning man in the dark corner right after you've had visions of impending doom...
    • Although until then, Sarah knew that the Fades couldn't touch anyone, unaware that now they can.
  • Hannibal Lecture: John delivers one to Paul, highlighting their similarities as the chosen ones of their respective people and claiming that while his killings bring life through the resurrection of the dead, those Paul destroys are dead for good, making him a bigger killer.
  • Healing Hands: One of the Angelics' abilities.
  • Heroic BSOD: Neil, already under a lot of stress, loses it after two more of his partners are offed by the Angelic killer - by Paul's fault, no less.
    • Paul may have slowly become more heroic, but with an ever-increasing toll on his life, and at the end of the first series, he is left in pieces after having lost his girlfriend.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Angelics - at least some of them - are shown to go quite far in their war against the fades, from Neil pulling a Jack Bauer on Natalie to Sarah deciding to consume her fallen comrades' blood in order to materialise as well and fight on equal ground.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Both Paul and Mac
  • Horror Hunger: John, the Angelic killer, and more generally every Reborn.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: The ghoulish fades manage to become tangible again by devouring humans alive.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Neil's justification for torturing Natalie and killing Jay.
  • Idiot Ball: Neil following Natalie in the second episode. Only topped by Paul leading the Angelic killer to their current hideout, fully aware of who he was, simply because he promised not to harm anyone and only release Natalie. It did not end well.
  • I See Dead People: The Fades can only be seen by Angelics and Reborns. Mac even talks about The Sixth Sense based on this.
  • It Got Worse: The Angelic-killing Fade has regained full physical form. And now so has Natalie, and at least half a dozen others are in the process. And this form is apparently immortal. This Is Gonna Suck...
    • The finale has Paul re-open all of the Ascension points, banishing all of the Fades simultaneously. Surely the day has to be saved, right?. Only, we then see the sky suddenly begins to turn a sickly orange, ominous thunder begins to rumble in the distance and a solar eclipse occurs...

Neil: I told him. I told him! Don't fuck with Ascension!

  • It's Personal: While John always intended to kill all Angelics and especially The Chosen One, he takes it to a new level with Paul after he destroys Natalie, the only person he still geuninely loved, and vows to make him feel the same pain before killing him.
  • Kill'Em All: By the end of the first series, All the Angelics but one are dead, Neil is dying and Jay has been killed.
  • Light'Em Up: Paul has the ability to shoot lightbolts out of his hands that are the only known working weapon to defeat Reborns...and that can also forcibly reopen Ascension points.
  • Monster Sob Story: "Polus" aka John the Fade has quite the tragic past, which shortly helps him gain Paul's reluctant trust... However, he relishes far too much in his destruction to count as Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show runs on it, being a Buffy-esque merry mix of horror, fantasy, adult drama and teen comedy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Paul understandably reacts this way after causing the death of two Angelics.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Paul, lampshaded as this is unusual even for an Angelic.

Paul: I'm an Angelic Swiss Army Knife!...


Paul: This is a bad idea.
Mac: Correction. This is a good idea with bad possibilities.


Now... who's seen my Back to The Future Boxset? Nanu-Nanu!

  1. literally, for him