Shining A Light On Ultraviolet

Dateline: July 26, 2000
Revised: February 9, 2001

The number one program on my list of Top 10 Series Not Seen In The U.S., Ultraviolet, the Channel 4 mini-series about modern-day vampires, will be rerun on the Sci-Fi Channel in a marathon screening Sunday, February 18th.

In the world of Ultraviolet, ordinary policeman Michael Colefield (This Life's Jack Davenport) has his life turned upside down when a friend disappears and Michael is recruited to a secret organization dedicated to stopping the "Code Vs." But what are the Code Vs? Highly organized, intelligent, technologically savvy, with an intense interest in blood, they cannot be detected by any sense other than the human eye (in a clever twist on the old "invisible in mirrors" legend, the Code Vs cannot be seen on film or video, or even heard over phones). The word "vampire" is never uttered, but they only come out at night, and carbon bullets to the heart produce an explosive reaction.

The Code Vs are planning carefully, with all the time in the world that their immortality grants, to enslave humanity for their purposes. They can subtly influence humans and their mark can only be detected under ultraviolet light (hence the title). The Catholic Church knows about them and joined with the British government to form a covert group to stop them before it's too late.

What makes Ultraviolet so interesting and exciting is, unlike the rather stupid vampires seen in shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, the Code Vs use their brains and are a cunning match for the human race. They know our secrets and toy with us, taunting and tempting many victims with the promise of eternal, disease-free life.

Special effects are kept to a minimum during the series, except for the burst of energy as a vampire is shot. But even then they are not truly dead, only inert, with their powdery remains locked safe in a vault and the secret of their resurrection hidden until the final episode. Instead, the drama focuses on Michael's life, as he first tracks down his missing friend, then must lie to the man's fiancee. Her curiosity leads her closer and closer to the truth until her life becomes threatened by the forces building around her.

In Britain, the series was shown as six weekly one-hour parts titled: "Habeas Corpus," "In Nomine Patris," "Sub Judice," "Mea Culpa," "Terra Incognita," and "Persona Non Grata." For the US screening, Sci-Fi will run it as three two-hour movies over three consecutive days. No second season has been announced, which will leave fans wanting more, however the Fox network has taken an interest in Ultraviolet and announced an American remake as a mid-season replacement starring Madchen Amick (Twin Peaks), Eric Thal, Joanna Going, and Idris Elba (who is also in the British version). If you like intelligent, dramatic series, be sure and check out Ultraviolet, a definite cult show in the making.

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