After Jack (Stephen Moyer) disappears the night before his wedding, his best friend Detective Michael Colefield (Jack Davenport) sets out to investigate. Along the way he discovers dark secrets not only about Jack and his fate but of a much larger organization run by vampires. To aid him on this quest are Vaughn (Idris Elba) a hard as nails vampire hunter who works for the British government and The Vatican, Angie Marsh (Susannah Harker) although tough has a dark past after the organisation killed her husband who turned into a vampire and Fr. Pearce Harman (Phillip Quast) the leader who pops in and out giving wise words of advice when needed.
Mixing gritty police drama with a vampire twist could seem odd but in the case of Ultraviolet it works. Lasting only six episodes the series has developed a cult status and its not hard to see why. Ultraviolet, not without its flaws by any means, is one truly great series. Taking a break from tradition and giving vampirism a scientific makeover is nothing new but rarely has it worked, hell I must have mentioned vampires more times in this review alone than they do in the actual show.
Yes vampires are never called that except for “Code 5’s” or “Leeches” which isn’t too far off from the truth when you really think about it. Writer director Joe Ahearne prefers to keep his vampires in the shadows adding intrigue as to what their real agenda is, naturally it ain’t pretty. However don’t be fooled, action and special effects are kept to a minimal here. Action is replaced with character arc and exposition as to how the vampires operate and live. For those that do like their vampire action, don’t be alarmed, there is still that. The hunters use carbon bullets in their rifles, which also has a screen attached to it. Vampires have no reflection nor can be recorded, even onto phone-lines which I must admit was a pretty smart move. Having said that, a series taking a risk by focusing on the science and characters rather than action needs a good cast and thankfully they succeeded here.
Jack Davenport in the lead is excellent as he portrays a man struggling with his best friends loyalty and having to come to terms with this brutal and vicious (from both sides) world. Keeping him grounded and conflicted is Jack’s fiancé (Colette Brown) who is on her own agenda to find out the truth, an agenda that puts her and those around her in danger. Idris Elba carries his weight around well as an ex army vet who had a dark past of his own, Angie Marsh also is a character who seems is on the verge of snapping at any moment, after you find out more about her background it’s easy to see why.
The series six episodes have been split onto two separate discs. The first episode Habeas Culpa and the third, Sub Judice, have a writer director commentary each. Special features are merely an interview with writer director Joe Ahearne split into five different segments.
Disco two are the next three episodes with a commentary track only for the fifth episode Terra Incognita. The special features on the second disc range from promos, deleted scenes and stills gallery.
Overall this series had much to offer in terms of giving us something new. It would seem though at the time of release, the general viewers weren’t so interested. If it were to be released now after True Blood and those other vampire films recently released I’m sure it will be better appreciated. Working from Joe Ahearne’s smart and intriguing script the cast pull it off effortlessly. Each episode is strong in moving the plot and characters forward leading to an intense and scary climax, especially that one scene including Elba’s character. I could have done with a few more special features such as some behind the scenes footage but still, can’t complain with what we got.