Sunday, August 06, 2017

Charlie Jade

     Charlie Jade is a film noir SF TV series, a Canadian/South African co-production from 2005 that takes place across three difference universes, one of which is our very own here and now.  And ours is in terrible danger....

     I just finished watching this tale of cosmic disaster narrowly averted and I recommend it.

     It's very nearly a familiar trope but the treatment is far from trite; Canadian SF writer Robert J. Sawyer wrote the show's "bible," or overall guideline, and he did a nice job of it.  So, too, did the cinematographer and director, who use different tonalities for the three universes (SF fans may be more familiar with this from its use in the the Firefly episode "Out Of Gas.")

     Some critics have disparaged the editing, which is in much the style of Homicide: Life On The Street, with repeats and jump cuts and odd camera angles: if you didn't like the NBC crime drama's editing, which had the harsh realism of the Baltimore Police Department to anchor it, you're unlikely to enjoy it in Charlie Jade.

     But what about the story?  I think it's darned good; more "graphic novel" than "novel" in places, but fully developed in a way not often found in graphic works -- or most television. There's a genuinely insane bad guy -- or is he? -- and a wildly varied cast, each struggling to figure out what's really going on.  The twists are nearly always unexpected and our heroes have plenty of pluck and grit.

     The overall story arc is satisfying; while there's room left for a second season, the 20 episodes stand up well as a complete story.  If you're willing to work with the director a little, there's a lot of SF enjoyment here.

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