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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
78
Ultraviolet - Collector's Edition [DVD]
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on 1 September 2017
Started off OK but quickly deteriorated into predictable TV drama cliches. The 'modern' take on vampires didn't make much sense - they don't appear in mirrors but neither do their clothes? - and the manufactured conflict between the main characters was farcical.A sad waste of some very good actors. Avoid.
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on 14 February 2014
A great cast in a very grown up and contemporary approach to the vampire genre. Scientists, priests, Code Vs, police, soldiers, good guys ? Bad Guys ? Friends ? Enemies ? Lovers ? Angels ? Demons ? Salvation ? Damnation ? Questions. Questions. Questions. Answers ???

A must-see.
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on 5 October 2017
Dated series but still worth a watch.
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on 15 June 2017
Loved the series and got the disc version to replace my rather tired vhs
Video edition
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 April 2013
Ultraviolet ran for six episodes at the tail end of 1998 and rapidly picked up enormous critical acclaim. Unfortunately, various factors combined to mean that a planned sequel series never went into production. The series was the brainchild of Joe Ahearne, who wrote and directed all the episodes (the exhaustion brought about by which, and C4's request he do the same for the second season, is apparently the key reason why it never happened). Ahearne had formally worked on the acclaimed BBC-2 series This Life and more recently has directed several episodes of the new Doctor Who.

Ultraviolet is a modern take on the vampire myth. As it was airing at the same time as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the writer clearly wanted to take a different approach (borrowing a fair bit from The X-Files as well). Ultraviolet is more realistic than Buffy, delving more into science of how vampires might work and showing in some cases greater fidelity to the myth (for example, vampires do not appear on camera as mirrors are part of the camera's focusing mechanism, whilst in Buffy they do) and taking it to new levels: these vampires cannot appear in any form of electronic recording, and cannot use phones either. Also, to avoid certain connotations of the word they never once use the term 'vampire' in the whole series, instead using the phrase 'Code 5' (which is rendered as 'Code V') or the nickname 'leech'. Ultraviolet does have a wry sense of humour, however, especially in the use of carbon bullets and ultraviolet-emitting detection gear (which replicates the effects of sunlight) to replicate more traditional vampire-killing weapons.

The story follows Detective Sergeant Michael Colefield of the London Metropolitan Police Force (played by Jack Davenport, better-known these days for his turn as Captain/Commodore Norrington in the Pirates of the Carribbean trilogy). When his best friend and fellow policeman vanishes without a trace on the eve of his wedding, Colefield discovers his friend was leading a shady double-life that was being investigated by a organisation that the government refuses to acknowledge exists. This organisation is soon, almost reluctantly, forced to recruit Colefield into their ranks once he uncovers evidence of the existence of the 'leeches'. He is integrated into a team led by Father Pearse Harman (the Catholic Church co-funds the war against the leeches alongside national governments; played by Philip Quast), Dr. Angela March (Susannah Harker) and Vaughn Rice (Idris Elba, best-known for his role as Stringer Bell in The Wire), but intriguingly he doesn't fully trust his new team-members and they remain wary of him until quite late in the series. This is mostly because Colefield has a hopeless crush on his friend's jilted fiancee, Kirsty and continues to have contact with her, which the rest of the team suspects is a weakness the leeches will employ against him. However, when it is discovered that Harman has cancer, the leeches also find that they have a temptation they can use against him...

Even though there was supposed to be a sequel, as a mini-series Ultraviolet works extremely well, with events starting at one point and coming full circle as the series proceeds. The notion of science versus faith is explored intelligently in the series: crucifixes and other symbols of faith are treated as placebos and only have an impact on those vampires who themselves are superstitious. The vampires themselves employ technology for their own ends, able to drive around with with use of UV-resistant glass and use vocoders to make phone calls, whilst the longer-lived specimens are able to manipulate the stock market over decades to make immense fortunes. The central theme of the series is also compelling: the vampires and those opposed to them have endured an uneasy truce over the centuries because the vampires want to protect their food supply and enjoy being the elite; they have no wish to turn the whole human race into vampires, for example. The truce is now over because humanity is getting perilously close to the point where it will destroy itself, and the vampires need to save us from ourselves...but whilst this may sound great the suggestion is that their preferred mode of existence for 'normals' is in immense battery farms. At the same time, the world governments are scared of going public for fear of causing a panic and the creation of a state of intolerance, surveillence and fear. As one character says, they walk the line between living on a Bernard Matthews farm or in Iran-writ-large. These themes, even more timely now than when the show was first transmitted, are explored intelligently and in-depth.

This is a great series and no mistake, well-written, excellently acted (Davenport's finest hour by far; Quast is just fantastic as the multi-layered Harman) with moments of moral doubt, character drama and occasional moments of bad-ass action (Vaughn gets two of the most spectacular vampire kills in screen history), whilst the revelation of the vampire's final plan for humanity in the last episode is spine-chilling.

Criticisms? Frankly, no, not really. When the episode aired with the paedophile case I was a bit bemused and pondered if the show was just trying to be 'edgy' for the sake of it. However, it ended with an absolutely monumental and somewhat disturbing twist that was just brilliant and exceedingly logical given the parameters of the show. Of course, the biggest criticism is that we never got a second season, but that may be for the best. The conclusion to the series would seem to make any further continuation of the story a bit too black-and-white, whilst it's the moral ambiguity of the two sides that makes Ultraviolet so interesting.

Ultraviolet (*****) is absolutely recommended as being probably the finest exploration and use of the vampire in modern fiction I have come across.
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on 19 January 2006
I enjoyed watching Ultraviolet when first shown on Channel 4 & have just treated myself to the DVD. Even with the 7 or so year gap it is still just as amazing to watch. All in all brilliantly made, written and acted. It's a shame it was not continued by C4, Ahearne et al. Don't compare it with other vampire shows, it's unique and can stand up on its own.
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on 10 March 2004
My sentiments echo many of the thoughts and opinions of other reviewers. This was a very intelligent and entertaining series, and I'm very sorry to hear no more episodes will be made. The episodes were well written and cleverly portrayed. The story characters humans and "vampires" and their agendas were very believable and compelling. I strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoy the X-Files, Jonathan Creek, or a good cerebal thriller.
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on 21 July 2002
The Ultraviolet mini-series is absolutely superb, with a tense plot and quite believable characterisation, and it maintains a nice grey area as to who exactly are the good guys that adds a great deal of depth to the whole thing. The best moments quite literally have you holding your breath and then crying or cheering for the characters - sometimes both at once. The DVD has some interesting extra features, such as the cast bios. and excellent sound quality, which is essential with such an atmospheric soundtrack.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2007
Pitty that they use vampire on the cover of the box and in the promotion since they never use it in the shows. It is Code V Virus - V as in 5 or V as in Vampire.

Ultraviolet is the supreme production of the Vampire genere, for the thinking man. There is plenty of suspence, great character build up and plot. It starts with a man being led into a world he didn't know was there, recruited by an agency fighting their Code V menance with state of the art means. No silly Van Helsing gadgets but cleverly worked ideas based on the Vampire myth.

Excellent in every way.
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on 29 April 2001
Ultraviolet was one of the most original pieces of TV to appear on our screens :: better still it was British.
The first episode sets up a great story line for this six part mini-series - which built on the fears of issues at the time, and broached an explanation around a conflict between vampires and a British government agency.
The setting has brought about a fresh look on the tired genre of vampire films, and the way in which the story is built brings about a feeling that it is all possible.
No gimmicky futuristic weapons, high flying mortal combat antics, or arcane rituals come to pass - as the slogan says there's no defence against religion but folklore has some truths :: wooden stakes are out, and instead high calibre carbon ammunition comes as standard in CIBs arsenal.
Each of the episodes is complete in itself, but leads you on towards a strong compelling ending..
The DVD offering is excellent with Screensavers, trailers and the option to watch [or not] the reminder snippets at the beginning of each episode - and compared with the VHS versions is also well priced.
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