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Ultraviolet (1998)

Cast: Jack Davenport, Jack Davenport, Susannah Harker, more...
Director: Joe Ahearne, Joe Ahearne
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Palm Pictures
Genre: Foreign, Horror, Science Fiction , Television, Vampires, British TV, Horror TV, Killer Critters, UK, Horror TV, Sci-Fi TV, Sci-Fi TV
    see additional details...

This futuristic British miniseries began when the best friend of Det. Sgt. Michael Colefield (Jack Davenport) suddenly vanished from the altar at his own wedding. Though told not to investigate, Michael unearthed evidence that his pal had transformed into a vampire. This led the hero to a secret government organization, working in cahoots with the Catholic Church to rid the world of a vampiric scourge, using SWAT team tactics and state-of-the-art computer technology (those infected with vampirism could be detected with computer-generated ultraviolet light). Somewhat perversely, the modern-day bloodsuckers tried to maintain their respectable cover by actively supporting charities and worthwhile causes, thereby coming off somewhat more sympathetically than their relentless pursuers. One of the more intriguing aspects of this six-part series was the refusal by the authorites to make any direct reference to vampires; their quarry was always described as "Code 5" or "Leeches." A fascinating blend of traditional British cop drama with Dracula-style melodramatics, Ultraviolet made its Channel 4 debut on September 15, 1998. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Ratings

Ultraviolet (Disc 1 of 2) (1998)
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6.53 (72 votes)
Ultraviolet (Disc 2 of 2) (1998)
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7.02 (56 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

A Minor Correction by SAmshey October 26, 2006 - 12:39 AM PDT
I think they are saying "liches", not "leeches".

Scary, clever, excellent to watch over six nights by Saroz February 9, 2004 - 12:22 AM PST
11 out of 11 members found this review helpful
One of the most fun viewing experiences I've had in recent days is watching one episode each night of this series over the period of a week. Vampires are never even named as such in this show; they're called code fives (roman numeral "V" - get it?) or 'leeches' all the way through. The idea of likening them to multiple minorities is brilliant - the gay, the HIV+, the ill, the deaf, the disabled - because it keeps the protagonists morally ambiguous. Is what they're doing right? That's for you to decide. The whole thing is terribly scary, more so because it's rationalised by science. My biggest complaint is that the bloody thing ends just as it's getting more interesting than ever before!

The characters are mostly well-drawn, headed by Jack Davenport (Coupling, Pirates of the Caribbean) although I found the female characters rather lacking. Susannah Harker's character is every bitchy, cold scientist with a past that I've ever seen (and I've seen a fair few). I think it's quite a mistake to have put her on the front cover as a sort of Scully to Jack Davenport's Mulder; they're barely seen together in the show! My personal favorite character was Philip Quast's fallen, tortured priest, the leader of the team. I ultimately wanted to know a lot more about him than the others.

Of course, Ultraviolet isn't perfect - a few plot revelations are completely telegraphed, and the show changes its stance on some of the finer details of the vampire legend more than once - but it's still very good. In fact, I don't understand at all why they could only make six episodes out of it. Unlike most miniseries, there's easily enough unanswered questions to make a full British season of 13 episodes, or maybe even two.

The DVD's quite good quality - the video looks quite crisp to me and the occasional bright colors (especially the blue of the labs) are very clear. I was also quite pleased by the 5.1 mix (which I believe the R2 release does not have?) - not usually the sort of thing I notice, but for a BBC series, the music is astonishingly full and pleasant. In fact, it sometimes overpowers the dialogue, especially in episodes one and two - and made me distinctly wish for a subtitle track. The text extras are a bit lacking (and hard to find - they're accessed via the "V" chapter selection of each episode, and then the "Code V Area" button), but the two-part audio interview with writer/director Joe Ahearne is very good. Quite a nice little set of an astonishingly good show.

More reviews for titles in this product:

not on netf**x
unique to GC and mainstream enough that NF should have it.
Kill your TV (but let these babies live)
TV that eats like a film...Seriously epic stuff!

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