TV Review: In The Flesh
The BBC usually do their job right, and they usually do it well; so, as a long-time zombie fan, I haven’t been disappointed yet by their new show, In The Flesh. Only two episodes of the three-part drama have aired so far and I’m already hooked by the relatively small amount I’ve seen (so much so I’m eager that BBC three will consider allowing the production of more episodes, which we might be able to help with- twitter and email and such.)
The premise of the show is the aftermath of a zombie breakout, or “The Rising”, in which the zombies that remain *ahem* ‘alive’ have been treated with medicine to bring them back to a humane, and less rabid and hungry-for-brains, state. These zombies-not-quite-zombies are referred to as PDS sufferers, or Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferers.
The show focusses on PDS sufferer Kieren Walker and his return to his hometown of Roarton after his rehabilitation and treatment from being a zombie, and thus the adversary of re-joining a community fervently opposed to welcoming former “rotters” back into everyday life. Matters are complicated by his sister’s loyalty to the Human Volunteer Force, what protected the town during the zombies’ rabid stage, and, without giving too much away, the return of other characters from Kieren’s past.
The show’s world creation has gripped me quite suddenly for a drama of only two episodes, and even more so for a zombie apocalypse story- which often requires time on the writers’ parts for revelations, setting and time to be made clear and/or believable. The characters are also impressive, in how they’ve caused me to become attached and interested in their stories so quickly, and also in their depth. The female characters are written as strong and two-dimensional- which is appreciated in these stories of a “fighting-world”, and Kieren in particular has grasped my interest.
In The Flesh is a new perspective on the zombie genre, and as someone who’s been around almost all the material on offer, I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve been enjoying it. The whole idea of integrating zombies back into society is one I sometimes wondered about, on those lowly nights of planning my zombie apocalypse survival strategy. And the idea seems to work here, and it’s an interesting concept, made even more so by the characters’ story lines. What is most endearing about the plot, for me, is how conflict, which is needed to drive a story, is not lost- despite what is usually the main source of conflict in this genre, the zombies, now being relatively docile and harmless. Tolerance and acceptance are the major themes, and the rejection and fear of the PDS sufferers from the living spurs confrontation and drama that maintains interest and suspense. I daresay it even reflects issues we face in society today, which the show seems to be in the direction of exploring- such as, I speculate- (I warn of spoilers)- homophobia.
I recommend watching this show to, naturally, anyone who enjoys the zombie genre. Fans of The Walking Dead will surely find it entertaining, or, at the least, find themselves not be too disappointed- despite the stray from traditional zombie destruction. The makeup is exemplary, the quality of which I never doubted from the BBC production team. The eyes are captivatingly gruesome in each PDS sufferer, and the paleness of the skin, the purple veins and the white hair is finely detailed and meets, surmounts, the expectations of any zombie fan in both its artistry and precision. So far the show has been well put together, well cast and captivating of interest (and emotion), and I’m very much excited for the finale on the 31st March, if not a little disappointed I won’t get to see more.