Charlie Jade Recap: “Diamonds”

Surprise…Charlie Jade is not a force of nature. Neither is he a man with no name. He’s flesh and blood, and filled with contradictions. Like anyone, Charlie has a past that informs who and why he is and this week we get a peek into it.

Diamonds are Forever

Remember that gangster’s pinkie ring Charlie wears? The one he pawned to pay for his sweet ride? Charlie hits the shop, looking to retrieve it. Instead he finds the owner dead and the ring missing.

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Charlie Jade Recap: “Dirty Laundry”

In case anyone’s forgotten, Charlie works for Karl. He gets a couch and a hundred Rand a day to investigate Vex-Cor. But there’s a price to pay for being in Karl’s employ. This week, the price is getting his butt kicked by some white supremacists while following the trail of missing organizer and activist Themba Makandi.

Charlie Jade doesn’t take place in a vacuum. The geography of Cape Town – the ocean, Table Mountain, Robben Island – frequently come into play. The history of the city and South Africa also inform much of the show’s writing. The disappearance of Makandi is certainly more resonant in the South Africa of Beta than it would be in the North America of co-creators Chris Roland and Robert Wertheimer. The wounds of Apartheid are fresh and a source of much current pain.

So when the white guy, one step removed from a Lethal Weapon villain, says they must protect the Volkstadt and then has Charlie busted up, he seems the most likely culprit. But things are never so simple in a world with Vex-Cor.

Dumped on an empty street, Charlie gets a vision of Alpha. A truck bears down on him and barrels right through him to no effect. Because we now know water matters, I’ll point out that it’s raining in Alpha, but not in Beta. I love the way Jeffrey Pierce plays this whole scene. He’s not suicidal, but defiant in demanding the universe try its best to kill him. It seems as though he wants the truck to kill him in order to prove he’s actually alive.

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Charlie Jade Recap: “And Not a Drop to Drink”

01 Disappearing

That wasn’t a slow one at all, was it?

This is usually the point where those of us who are fans of this fantastic show can stop promising it’ll all be worth it if you just hang on a little longer. This is the point where the newbies become converts and start proselytizing right alongside us. This is also where we see the real crime of SciFi’s quick hook.

Had the network stood by this show until this week’s episode, and had they been smart enough to then promote next week’s episode with a marathon of the first five episodes, they could have picked up a lot of new viewers. Because all of you remaining, those who’ve been patient through a month of slower, mysterious episodes, would have been telling all your friends to give Charlie Jade a second look. Oh well.

Instead, it’s just us: the ones who already knew, and the small band who trusted us this far. Good for us! Let’s dive in, shall we? Trust me. The water is fine.

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Charlie Jade Recap: “The Power of Suggestion”

It\'s so sad. I think I might fake-cry.

Things are still moving a little slowly this week, and we have to make do with no narrator this week, but by episode’s end quite a lot will have happened. Watch closely.

Four Funerals and a Riot

Simultaneous funerals in Alpha, Beta, and Gamma verses for the victims of the three explosions. Julius out in the windswept desert, Essa shedding glycerine tears in her office, and of course a shot of paradise. Elliot Krogg gets his day in the sun as well, but it ends not in tears but screams as rioters arrive and disturb the proceedings, overturning his coffin and desecrating his corpse. Charlie and Karl watch from a distance as Karen (Elliot’s girlfriend) is taken away by 01 and Vex-Cor agents.

01 bugs a meeting in Julius’ office in which Elliot’s potential involvement in the attack is debated. Julius sticks with the party line, right up to calling Elliot’s death a suicide, but the others lay the blame on 01. As we’ve seen what 01 is capable of, all I can say is that these people are gonna get it.

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Charlie Jade Recap: “You Are Here”

01 is Crazy

(this recap was posted on Tuesday morning at 4 A.M. EST, just so it appears RIGHT after the show originally aired at 3 AM. Nice job, Sci Fi Channel!)

After what was effectively a two-hour pilot to set up the universe, it’s time to get down to business and let poor Charlie Jade have a clue what’s going on.

01’s Turn to Talk

We change up narrators again with this episode. This time, 01 Boxer has the duties. As befits a sociopath, he has a bit more fun with the job than his predecessors. Where Charlie was all business and Reena was melancholy, 01 is just having fun with all this adventure.

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Charlie Jade Rescheduled: The Future of Science Fiction Television

Charlie Jade

Yesterday morning we heard that The Sci Fi Channel is moving Charlie Jade to a new day and time. Starting next week, it’ll be taking over the coveted Monday 3am slot.

I can’t be too upset by this. Clearly the show was underperforming on Friday nights and the programming wizards at SciFi needed to move it. What impresses me is the depth of analysis they performed to figure out its new home. Who knew Charlie Jade did so well with insomniacs and people who buy Flowbies?

Taking its place on Fridays will be a repeat of the prior week’s episode of Doctor Who. I can’t say anything bad about the great British import other than asking how he keeps his neck warm without a proper muffler.

SciFi made several errors with Charlie Jade, some of them specific to this show and some of them indicative of systemic flaws. I figured I’d use this opportunity not just to look at the ways they went wrong, but also to discuss the future of science fiction television.
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Charlie Jade Recap: “Sand”

The start of a beautiful friendship

Two episodes in, and there’s still not much going on. The action will pick up in the next few episodes, but there were still too many questions left over from the pilot. Most remain unanswered – and we’ve gotten some more in the process – but I think the writers have given us just about enough at this point to move forward. If nothing else, we know more than Charlie does.

When last we saw Charlie, he was lying unconscious in the desert, being poked by a weird little girl. That’s where he still is – dreaming about Jasmine, remembering the dead mystery girl, the accident, and the woman at the site. Weird little girl Jody pokes him again and he finally wakes up.

You’re alive! You’re one of them, aren’t you?…The invisible people. I see them all the time.

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Charlie Jade Recap: “The Big Bang”

Charlie Jade in the morgue

In last week’s preview of Charlie Jade, I focused a lot on generalities, like the cinematography and a cast overview. In a show so rooted in mystery, it’s important to let things play out slowly. Now that the premiere has aired, let’s explore the Jadeverse(s) and the clues we’ve been given so far.

The show opens with a Spanish guitar picking out a slow and mournful tune over barren, windswept dunes. Cutting away from the desert vista to a huge underground facility, the music moves to the background and is replaced by the sound of hundreds of sprinklers and Charlie Jade’s opening narration. Where there is water, there is life. There is also Vex-Cor.

It looks like water is required in order to open and maintain the link between Alphaverse and Gammaverse. Charlie also implies that Alphaverse is in short supply of the wet stuff and might be mining the idyllic verse to get some more. What’s not clear is how Betaverse – which appears to be our home – comes into play. There’s a sister facility in Beta, and Elliot Krogg, the former head of research for Vex-Cor, knows something bad is going to happen. But what?

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Charlie Jade Preview

ed: R. A. (Richard) Porter is an aspiring writer, holds a ’sketch war’ weekly on his own blog, and is hard at work writing a Pushing Daisies spec.

We all have a special love or two we wish we could share with the world. Sometimes, the world isn’t interested and no matter how many times you tell your wife that BSG is the greatest show in the history of shows, she leaves the room muttering about killer space robots. Sometimes, the world finally decides to listen to you just when Britney Spears shows up and ruins everything. Sometimes, your special love comes from another world and can’t be shared (legally) with anyone. The unaired pilot of Global Frequency is one of those special loves for me. Charlie Jade is another.

Starting Friday, June 6, Charlie Jade won’t be my little secret anymore. Taking over the 8pm slot on the SciFi channel from The Sarah Jane Adventures, this hidden gem of a show will finally get the American showing it deserves.

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