In the Flesh
While BBC Three continues to churn out drivel when it comes to kitchen sink drama or lowest common denominator comedy, it excels when it takes a chance on something involving the supernatural.
In the Flesh, created by Dominic Mitchell, comes to our screens in the same way Toby Whithouse’s Being Human did, in that the fantasy elements were only added in at a later stage; the original intention was to have the lead character returning to his home town after attacking someone due to a mental illness of which he is now cured. Except now, that has been turned into a zombie pandemic, with zomb…sorry, Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) sufferers being reintegrated back into society after being cured. Well, it’s not going to be that easy is it?
But this isn’t your typical zombie show; if you’re thinking 28 Days Later you’re in for a shock. This is family drama that just happens to have zombies, set in the bleak run down world of a Northern housing estate. Set four years after the ‘rising’, medicated PDS sufferers are treated and sent home again, with only contact lenses and make up to hide their pale visage. Our main character, Kieran (Luke Newberry), is racked with guilt over what he did in his untreated state and his return home is made even more complicated by the local anti-zombie militia set up in his home town, of which his sister happens to be a member.
The rising and the subsequent reintegration is presented in a way that could only be done on the BBC. It’s a very British (re: mundane and boring) take on the zombie; with rehabilitation centres (shot in a washed out THX 1138 echoing way) and zombie therapy sessions, as opposed to the shotgun happy Walking Dead series, and surprisingly it works. This is mostly down to a sympathetic performance from Newberry, breathing life (sorry) into his undead character.
Add to that the Human Volunteer Force, who are none too pleased about the reintegration of the ‘rotters’ to their town and who drag zombies from their homes and execute them in the street, you have musings on prejudice and acceptance, as well as offering views from every angle of the community. In a show ABOUT ZOMBIES?!?! You don’t get this on The Walking Dead. This is a show about its characters first and foremost; it’s just some of them happen to be zombies.
Oh, and Kieran’s surname is Walker.
Ho ho ho.
A solid start to this short three episode series. Eager to see where it goes from here.
4 out of 5 Nerds