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DVD Review

Charlie Jade
Series 1 - Part 2


Starring: Jeffrey Pierce, Michael Filipowich, Patricia McKenzie, Michele Burgers, Tyrone Benskin, Danny Keogh and Marie-Julie Rivest
Lace International
RRP: £34.99
Certificate: 15
Available 03 March 2008

Private detective Charlie Jade is trapped in a parallel world where he doesn’t belong (Betaverse). He needs to discover the truth to find his way back, although it’s not so easy in a world where you don’t exist. Charlie’s investigation into finding his way home (Alphaverse) is put on hold when he is faced with a bigger problem, the Betaverse is in trouble. The water is vanishing, pouring though a virtual hole ripped open by Vex-Cor’s explosion, the same explosion that threw him into this 21st Century world...

Series 1 - Part 2 of Charlie Jade contains the final half of the show's first series. This show has an ongoing story arc that is more cerebral than just about every other sci-fi show made to date, as well as production values that put some Hollywood sci-fi movies to shame.

The series spans three parallel universes' - three alternate versions of Earth. The Alphaverse (where Charlie Jade originally lived and worked as a private detective) is a dystopian futuristic world very similar in style to the universe seen in Ridley Scott's Bladerunner. This universe is dominated by a number of gigantic multinational corporation - the main one being Vex-Cor. Betaverse is very similar to our own universe and the show actually promotes this universe as "one half hour from now". And finally we have Gammaverse, which is a more idyllic version of planet Earth - the sort of environment we'd live in if we were more environmentally friendly and actually gave a sh*t about anything other than a convenient and easy lifestyle.

Following on from the events in the Series 1 - Part 1 box set, Charlie exhausts every avenue in his quest to find a way back to his own universe as well as trying to discover why Vex-Cor operatives are jumping between worlds. His only option is to pose as the enemy and fight from the inside. With his new accomplice (Gemma) and Carl Lewbinsky by his side, Charlie knows he has to unravel the truth behind the dangerous mystery of Vex-Cor, in order to save the three worlds. It’s a race against time that he cannot afford to lose.

As the second half of Series One progresses it soon becomes clear that not all is as we believed. There are no truly good/bad characters - no black or white - just shades of grey. This, ironically makes the show a much more colourful, and realistic series.

It's a shame that there wasn't a recap to open up this collection - a brief few minutes to remind the audience of what has gone before - as it's been three months since the release of the first box set - would have gone down a treat.

There are no extras at all which is a shame, as a few behind the scenes featurettes or audio commentaries with the show's creators would have allowed fans the opportunity to hear some of their insights into getting the show made.

It's very doubtful that a second series will be made, which is a crying shame. I say "doubtful" as the show was originally released as a Canadian / South African co-production in 2005, but it has slowly been released in other regions and only got a UK TV release in late 2007.

I've said it before, but my main complaint with the DVD release of this series is the high retail price, which will see you having to splash out £70 for the entire season. And, as the show won't be concluded, a lot of people will not want to pay £70 to be left hanging in the lurch. But, having said that, I still feel that this is possibly the most intelligent and aesthetically pleasing sci-fi show you'll ever see.


Darren Rea

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