Ultra Violet is a gritty British crime drama set in modern day London. Detective Sergeant Michael Colefield's best friend disappears on the eve of his wedding to, Kirsty, the girl Colefield secretly loves. Colefield's search to find the missing bridegroom leads him to disturbing discoveries about his friend and unearths a secret enforcement agency operating within Colefield's own police force and their mission – to obliterate the hidden society of once human creatures, human blood sucking creatures.
Leeches as they are called, look like us, act like us, and want many of the same things we do, which makes sense - they used to be us. Although the word Vampire is never applied to the heavies in this series, refreshingly, the classic tenets of vampire lore are maintained, (They can't eat food, they cast no reflection and have a perilous allergy to sunlight.) Updated to the 21st century, our secret agency uses ultra-modern day science to track, destroy and not quite dispose of these creatures.
Ultra Violet is an excellently well made combination Brit TV, Police drama and Vampire chase. If you appreciate any one of these genres, I suggest that you check out this series, but be warned, It does not seem to be available for rental in the US as yet. I took a chance and purchased the 2 disc set sight-unseen from AMAZON.com for $26.99. I loved it, and while the story arc of the series does reach a reasonable conclusion, it's clear there were years of story left to this show. I must reiterate, my only regret in Ultra Violet is that it didn't have a longer run.
I'd hate to call Ultraviolet a forgotten gem, but in a way it kind of is. Shown on Channel 4 back in 1998, Ultraviolet was a six-episode series that was heavily billed as Britain's answer to both The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's essentially a modern update of the vampire myth, revolving around a government-funded paramilitary organisation with connections to the Roman Catholic Church fighting a secret war against a worldwide vampire conspiracy. If that doesn't sound utterly awesome to you then you I guess you might as well stop reading now or alternatively you could read on and let me convince you of its absolute greatness. Jack Davenport is our main character Mike Colefield, a decent sort of chap with a thing for his best friend's fiancée. When his friend disappears, Mike is sucked into a dark world of "leeches", shadowy organisations and all sorts of disturbing blood-related unpleasantness.
Take every embarrassing cliché about vampires that's built up over the years, remove said embarrassments and add a slightly unsettling streak of grim reality and you've got Ultraviolet. Imagine if vampires were real, how would they really behave? And that's where Ultraviolet really pulls its punches, in the sheer bloody reality of it all. There are no implausible stunts, no fangs, no hissing, no stakes in the heart (well, sort of), just a disturbing sense of realism that really gets under your skin. "This could actually happen!", you think. "Maybe vampires are real!" Well, that's what I thought anyway, but I have a ridiculously childlike, overactive imagination.
The storylines are, without exception, completely great. Different aspects of the show's mythology are explored, expanding into an overall story that is really quite terrifying. Every episode has a subtle but gradual build in intensity, ramping up the tension for all its worth until you're hanging to the edge of your seat by a sort of home-made cable. This is especially well done in episode five, Terra Incognita, possibly one of the finest TV episodes of all time, and one so unbearably tense I guarantee you'll be digging your fingernails into the palms of your hands.
Before Torchwood aired and people discovered how rubbishy it was, fans were using this series as a benchmark for what Torchwood should aspire to, which shows the high esteem in which it's quite rightly held. It's not hard to see why it's remembered so fondly, because Ultraviolet really is brilliant in every department. It's slick and beautifully made. It's incredibly well written and directed by Joe Ahearne (director of all the best episodes of the first series of New Doctor Who). It's blessed with a tremendously atmospheric musical score. Every episode is plotted to perfection, and all the regulars are excellently cast with not a duff note among them.
It's a shame that there wasn't a second series, but I can understand why. As great as it would've been to have more episodes, Ultraviolet nonetheless works beautifully the way it is, achieving more in six hours than most series do in five seasons. If you're a genre TV fan, if you dig horror and vampires, if you like The X-Files, if you're wondering what Torchwood should've been, if you just generally love great television then this is a must-see. You won't regret it.
This was a unique series which deals with vampires from a completely scientific point of view, rather than the usual supernatural one. Vampires are a mutation of humans not creatures of myth.
One of the things I found interesting was that the series never uses the word vampire, instead calling them Code 5's.
As for the vampires, we get glimpses into their world and how they operate. How they 'reproduce', how they get money, what their beliefs are. Ironically they mean us no harm... but the disturbing part is it is because we are their food supply. They're even trying to save us, researching blood disorders and anything that could contaminate their food.
Jack is a fascinating character though we only meet him in the pilot and briefly at the end of the series. A dirty cop who has managed to fool his best friend and partner of 10 years and his fiance. As a vampire he's excellent, from him we get a first-hand version of events.
Very interesting was Kirsty. Michael can't tell her the truth about what Jack was and what happened to him and when he resigns from the police and starts working for the very people who were hunting Jack, Kirsty doesn't know what to think. Seeking answers, she keeps pushing Michael who realises that, with his new profession, it is dangerous for Kirsty to be around him. It doesn't help that he's in love with her. When she doesn't get answers from Michael, she goes to a reporter which is a threat not only to Michael's people but to the vampires themselves. Realising that Kirsty could be used to get to him, Michael becomes increasingly suspicious of Kirsty, at one point even believing she's been turned. She provides an outsider's view of what Michael is doing.
Opposite from Kirsty is Frances who is in love with Michael, not that he realises it. Michael distances himself from Kirsty to protect her but Frances he allows contact with. She actually knows far more about what is going on than Kirsty, but not exactly what Michael is doing. For the first time, Frances finds herself Michael's confident.
This was a fascinating series, great characters, interesting fresh look at an old myth and just very cool. Six episodes is just shameful, I enjoyed it immensely.
this show is magnificent its got all the interesting things that i like, like vampires and how they react to sunlight and how they investigate what vampires do. i thought the most interesting part was when i found out that the main people in the show were bitten by a vampire and how they treatered them selves by burning it off i think. the sad part i thought was when i found out that a couplof them had childern and they were attacked by vampires. thes affects of the blowing up were good and the gun they use is a good invention to show that they are vampires. this show is and awsome invention.
I am so angry that this show was pulled from the lineup... I LOVED THIS SHOW!!! We need this show brought back to the air. Ultraviolet opened the doors to the dark and mysterious world that everyone dreams of but nobody wants to face. Please bring it back now! Please.
Ultraviolet was never going to last long unfortunately. It was never given a fair chance to develop, being broadcast in a period when home grown science fiction was never considered on a par with shows imported from abroad. With excellent stories, special effects and a novel twist on the vampire story, this was a superb series, brilliantly acted with a group of convincing heroes, especially Michael whose life was turned upside down practically overnight leaving him not knowning who he could trust. I was really sorry when they stopped the series but fortunately Jack Davenport has went onto bigger and better things - Channel 4's loss that they ditched such a terrific show which had great potential.