- 2 discs
- Episode Summaries
- Personal Files
- UV Dictionary
- Audio Interview With Creator Joe Ahearne
DVD + Ultraviolet
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For centuries, vampires have co-existed in harmony with humans--until now. Now, amidst the growing threat of viral epidemic and the possibility of worldwide environmental catastrophe, humanity has an unprecedented ability to destroy itself. In order to
In a new twist on an old theme, the coolly stylish British miniseries Ultraviolet brings vampires into the 21st century, though the word vampire is never uttered in this mix of The X-Files and somber British TV mysteries like Touching Evil. Jack Davenport is a police detective who stumbles into an elite government agency when his partner and best friend suddenly becomes a nocturnal thug and bites him on the neck. Davenport reluctantly cuts off his old friends and lovers to join the team, which includes Idris Elba as a merciless ex-soldier and Susannah Harker as a medical researcher, and investigate a web of counterfeiting operations, banking scams, and experimental labs featuring human guinea pigs. "What they're researching is pollution: contamination of their blood supply," offers team leader and former priest Philip Quast, but the question remains: are they soulless monsters out to conquer mankind, or a persecuted minority who just want to live in peace with the humans?
Writer-director-creator Joe Ahearne brings all the traditional vampire tropes up to date; not only do they lack reflections in a mirror, but they don't show up on video and their voices don't carry over phone lines or record on audio tapes ("which makes surveillance a bitch"). Sunlight burns like an acid, and when they die they go up like a flare, leaving a pile of ash in their wake. But it's the sharp character writing, moral quandaries, and ingenious twists of this smart, stylish conspiracy thriller that make this series gripping down to the final episode.
The two-disc DVD set features an audio interview with Ahearne along with episode synopses and character notes. --Sean AxmakerSee all Editorial Reviews
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I also love the people they picked as actors. They can express so much without moving a muscle, they're stupendous. It has lots of atmosphere and is very understated.
This miniseries really deserves 5 stars. Lots of people who don't really think much of the typical vampire movie will like it; there's no great swatches of blood, no melodramatic hypnosis or supernatural heebie-jeebies going on. These are completely modern vampires, quite conversant with modern technology and medicine, and brilliant at manipulation.
The premise is rather simple. Vampires (referred to primarily as "leeches" in the series) exist and have existed, governments have countered this threat with secret agencies designed to fight it. These agencies only recruit people that may have already been affected by the leeches. The series primarily follows one man, as he is brought into that world because of a friend.
It is an original way of dealing with the vampire fiction. Over several episodes, you rarely see the vampires, and mainly deal with the fallout from their actions. You almost never see the same vampire in multiple episodes.
Throughout the mini-series clues are dropped, and the mystery is not resolved until the final part of the final episode. Still, even at the conclusion, there remains a conflict. I was hoping to see a continuation.
However, it's not just the unique updating of the myth that makes this series a good watch. The story development is excellent, and the characters are very well played. Probably most familiar to US audiences will be Susannah Harker in a very different role from her portrayal of Jane in the BBC/A&E production of "Pride and Prejudice". She is excellent as the doctor in the group, focusing on the medical aspects of the vampire challenge.
Very different in style from the US shows "Kindred: The Embraced" (available on DVD) and "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer", Ultraviolet is more focused on the psychological than blood and guts. "Kindred" and "Buffy" are action fare, "Ultraviolet" is psychological fare. If you enjoy a psychological thriller with a little action thrown in and are intrigued by the Vampire myth, you will enjoy Ultraviolet.
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This show must have looked very, very strange to its original audience.Read more