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SF Obscure: Charlie Jade & Re:Genesis

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Charlie Jade

Charlie Jade ran in 2004/2005 for twenty episodes. (It was broadcast in Canada, Europe, and Asia in 2005, but not broadcast in the US until 2008.)  It is set mainly in Cape Town, South Africa and was a joint Canadian and South African production. Charlie Jade, the title character, is a detective from a dystopian parallel universe (Alphaverse) who come to our universe (Betaverse). In his universe, the world is dominated by a gigantic multinational firm called Vexcor which can use technology to travel to parallel universes and is draining natural resources from those universes to sustain its own. An explosion breaks the link used to travel between universes and Charlie Jade is one among others stuck in the universes.

There is also a Gammaverse, which is rich in natural resources, and have an organized group determined to stop Vexor from exploiting their world. A man known as O1Boxer appears  in different universes with different lives. There is also a universe inhabited by primitive people. The show uses a color palette to distinguish the different universes to help in following the plot. It is a visually rich show to watch and focuses on a lot of themes about corporate power; class divisions; environmental crimes etc. It is not an easy show to watch. It’s rather complicated to follow and it does cover some disturbing material. Still, for those who want some hard edged SF, Charlie Jade is worth the watch.

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Re:Genesis

This show is probably a bit more accessible than Charlie Jade, even if its more of a borderline SF show mixed with medical thriller. This is a Canadian show which ran for four season from 2004-2008. (It’s now available in the US on Hulu, but not sure it was ever broadcast). It follows a team of scientists from a fictional organization, NorBAC (North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission),  whose job it is to contain outbreaks and combat bio-terrorism- as well as other confidential and emergency medical situations.  Some of the episodes focus on the teams efforts to contain viral outbreaks (mad cow and bird flu); and others focus on drug companies with suspicious cures or experimental therapies. There is also an interesting storyline following a young man named Mick, who believes he is an actual human clone.

I enjoyed watching Re:Genesis. There are a few story arcs, but for the most part its episodic. (missing an episode or two won’t lose you) It’s a interesting look at medical science-the show makes use of current theories on diseases and fighting outbreaks as well as some speculation on medical tools. There are some cast changes over the seasons, but on the whole the actors are solid  and there is enough personal drama to get connected to the characters.

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