Charlie Jade: Modern Classic

SciFiNow Magazine Issue 46 features Charlie Jade as Show #16 on their “Modern Classics” list:

Being one of those odd shows that has surfaced, submerged and risen again in popularity since its original airing, Charlie Jade has won itself a dedicated audience among science fiction fans. With the show well and truly over, SciFiNow digs into its production and explains why it’s a true modern classic

The main reasons James gives for why Charlie Jade is a modern scifi classic are:
1. Complexity
2. 01 Boxer
3. Cape Town
4. Style
5. Enduring Appeal

I don’t think any CJ fan can argue with those!

The current issue is on newsstands now in the UK, and should appear on shelves in Barnes & Noble’s and Borders Bookstores near you within a couple of weeks.


Charlie Jade article

Here’s an article on Charlie Jade from Genre Commentary, from November 2006:

The Best SF Series You’ve Never Seen: CHARLIE JADE
Submitted by Arwen Spicer on Tue, 2006-11-07 06:59. CHARLIE JADE | Introduction to the wonders of the TV series

Have you heard of Charlie Jade? Unless you live in Canada or South Africa, the answer is probably “no.” If it is, you’re missing out on an extraordinary show: original, intelligently conceived, and populated by refreshingly fallible heroes and ambiguous villains. Filmed gorgeously in and around Cape Town, this Canadian-South African co-production (2005, 20 episodes, plus one “recap” episode) centers on the adventures of the eponymous Charlie (Jeffrey Pierce), a private detective who, in the course of investigating a mysterious girl’s murder, gets catapulted into an alternative universe. Our universe. There he must unravel the machinations of the nefarious megacorporation, Vexcor, before… well, to say any more would spoil the surprise.

Charlie Jade breathes new life into the standard SF trope of the parallel universe. The show moves among three “present-day” universes: the Alphaverse, Betaverse, and Gammaverse. You won’t find Spock-with-a-Beard here; in fact, very few characters have alter egos. This—to invoke Spock again—is logical: given different life circumstances, most people’s parents wouldn’t have gotten together. Charlie comes from the Alphaverse, a Blade Runner-esque dystopia where Vexcor rules a totalitarian state of near-universal surveillance and corporate corruption. But Vexcor has a problem: the Alphaverse is running out of natural resources. Luckily for Vexcor, it has developed a universe-hopping technology that will allow the company to plunder the Gammaverse, a seeming utopian idyll of ecologically sustainable living. To reach the Gammaverse, however, Vexcor’s machine must punch a line through the Betaverse, our universe. And when Gammaverse terrorists blow up the Vexcor’s Gammaverse base, Charlie finds himself caught in the shock wave and stuck in Beta.

He’s not alone: one of the Gammaverse terrorists, Reena (Patricia McKenzie), has also been thrown into the Betaverse. A wanted criminal, she’s on the run, combating Vexcor, her “hellish” new world, and her own conscience. Charlie, meanwhile, has it somewhat easier. Befriended by conspiracy theorist Karl Lubinsky (Tyrone Benskin), he quickly finds his footing in the Betaverse and uses his Alphaverse detective skills to get the dirt on Vexcor.

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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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