Gold is a hot genre in TV right now, taking up primetime slots in the form of Bering Sea Gold, Gold Rush and Yukon Gold. Is jade mining the next big genre? Discovery sure hopes to strike gold … er, green … with Jade Fever.
Debuting Tuesday with two back-to-back episodes on the specialty channel, Omnifilm’s Jade Fever wastes no time getting to some pretty interesting facts. Just 30 people live in Jade City, B.C., an outpost 24 hours from Vancouver and an hour from the Alaska border. The town is near one of the largest deposits of jade in the world and China wants as much as the country can get. More prized than gold there, investors are itching to throw money at town boss Claudia Bunce and her husband Robin Bunce, who has a gift for finding the green stuff.
For a show like Jade Fever, the storytelling is all in the edit. Robin fails to hit pay dirt—and chafes—under the orders Raymond, a Chinese geologist brought in by Robin and Claudia’s Chinese-Canadian business partner Alan Qiao. Close to 100 holes are drilled in the earth under Raymond’s command, and Robin—used to giving orders rather than take them—gets hot under the collar. There are plenty of arguments, expletives and oversized egos exposed in the debut episode’s first 20 minutes … but no jade.
This being a show about the gemstone, I knew they were going to find it by the end of Tuesday’s instalment, otherwise there was no point in having a show. But even I was shocked by how beautiful the rock was coming straight out of the ground. Hard and gleaming in the sun, it’s easy to see why jade is so prized. It is literally the colour of money, something the Bunces—and Discovery and Omnifilm—hope to collect with Season 1 of Jade Fever.
Jade Fever airs Tuesdays at 8 and 8:30 p.m. ET on Discovery.