|Creator:||Chris Roland and Robert Wertheimer|
|Country of Origin:||Canada/South African co-production|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Charlie Jade is a speculative fiction noir detective series that ran for one season on South African and Canadian television in 2005. It was an unusual co-production between the two countries, and the series was filmed entirely in South Africa, primarily in the Cape Town area. American actor Jeffrey Pierce played the title character, a detective who becomes trapped in a different universe than his own, who may hold the key to keeping all three 'verses alive.
Charlie becomes embroiled in a case in his home world, Alphaverse, when an explosion that occurs in the Gammaverse hurls him, and the woman who set the explosion, into the Betaverse. The three universes are represented by different color schemes and designs in the series:
- Alphaverse is a futuristic, Blade Runner-esque place ruled by five megacorporations, in a parallel city called Cape City. Its atmosphere is somewhat toxic, and it is running out of water. People are divided into class systems (C-1, the ruling class, through C-3 and possibly below) and all their other information is embedded in a chip under their skin. Vexcor, the largest of the companies, is attempting to break through to the Gammaverse and steal their resources. Alphaverse is a dark, heavily green-tinted world.
- Betaverse is essentially our current world, a very desaturated color scheme with a blue-filtered look. Charlie finds himself trapped here and finds help from an American man, Karl Lubinsky, who had come to South Africa to fight against apartheid but who remains, following up on conspiracy theories and fringe-science lore.
- Gammaverse is an almost fantasy version of our world, where careful attention to resources and people living in harmony have resulted in a gorgeous, lush, peaceful planet. Brilliant, highly saturated colors and stunning natural settings convey this verse's perfection. Vexcor in the Alpahverse is trying to steal these resources with a reactor that will open a portal into Gammaverse, destroying Betaverse in the process.
- There are hints of other possible universes, including a brief stop in an unnamed verse toward the end of the series. It's almost totally gray except for a few spots of pinkish color, and looks blasted out, almost post-nuclear.
The show's incredibly dense plot, stunning visuals, ecological message, and complex characters with unusual names and strange histories made it a tough sell for many people. Scripts for a second series were written, but when additional funding wasn't forthcoming from other sources, those plans were scrapped. Japan was originally the only country that had released the series on DVD. Neither the Canadian production company nor the South African one have released it on disc; however, it is now available in the UK. It has been primarily distributed over Internet file-sharing networks for this reason. The U.S.'s Sci-Fi Channel turned the series down when producers sought funding for another season; it began airing the series in 2008, but in an extremely late-night time period and with very little promotional support.
Charlie Jade Fandom
There is little to the fandom, with only a small handful of fiction, usually short character pieces, floating around the Internet, and a few vids. Most of the writing about the series has been meta or reviews. After high quality files began showing up on file-sharing networks, more websites and fan discussion of the series began to appear. Sci-Fi's airing of episodes, though in largely inconvenient time slots, also boosted its profile. Some fans speculate that because of the series' complexity, it's hard to create fanfiction.
Two vid sites with Charlie Jade vids:
- Keiko Kirin's "Lack" on the Pteropus web site: http://pteropus.com/vids/index.html
- L'Abattoir's "I Remember" : http://gwynethr.net
Other vids may be available on YouTube or other video sites.
- Charlie Jade page on Wikipedia (canon resource)