10 July 2002 | Ripe Peach
I recant, I repent, I withdraw my previous reserved review. At the time when I first reviewed Ultraviolet (which was some time after I'd actually watched it), Buffy and Angel were at their peak, and slick, quippy vampires were all the rage. But that's been taken as far as it can be. Tiring of the superficiality of the Buffyverse, I decided to give Ultraviolet another try.
Oh my. Oh MY. It's far better than I remember. Yes, the characters are miserable, but it's clearly laid out why this is so, and it all adds to the sense that this is *serious*, and that there are no quick fixes. There are nuances to the character development that I'd missed last time (I recall being distracted and only seeing half of the episodes when I first watched it), and I really, truly felt for them as people (it doesn't hurt that Susannah Harker looks like a melancholy angel, of course). It's underplayed perfectly, with only the occasionally shoddy piece of score to cheapen the tone.
And most of all, I felt for the vampires. These aren't the disposable charicatures of the Buffyverse, and they surpass even the fleshed out characters of Near Dark. They are real, rational people, with real emotions and familiar and touching desires and goals. They just happen to be immortal and drink blood. After you've seen vampires done this way, it makes you question why it should ever be otherwise. Ultraviolet tackles the question "If I was me, but a vampire, what would I do, what would I *actually* be like?" without flinching, trivialising, or slipping up.
There are no tomes of ancient wisdom, no easy answers, and most of all, no black and white morality. Ultraviolet poses the question: if you're always offered the choice to become a vampire, and if you don't have to kill to feed, then where is the crime? Why is it *wrong* to be a vampire? Just because the Church says so?
Ultraviolet leaves the viewer to make up his or her own mind about who the bad guys actually are, and whether there are any good guys in this scenario. It's an interesting and respectful take on the genre.