Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review of BBC zombie series "In the Flesh" Season 1

With season two of "In the Flesh" on the way I recently watched Season One of the BBC show "In the Flesh". The first season was only three episodes so you can check the entire season out relatively quickly. I found the first three episodes on YouTube. ( you can check out episode one here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QcgkE3r6qE. ) Unlike US TV shows each hour long episode is actually 56-57 minutes long giving you almost three whole hours to digest.

In the Flesh has a very intriguing premise. Here's the synopsis:

Set in the fictional village of Roarton, Lancashire, after The Rising, in which teenager Kieren Walker was re-animated along with thousands of people who died in the year 2009. There quickly followed 'The Pale Wars' in which the zombies were hunted and killed by armed bands of militia. After months of rehabilitation and medication, the zombies (now referred to as partially deceased syndrome (PDS) patients by the government, but pejoratively known as "rotters") are judged ready to return to society, their homes and families. They are given cosmetics and contact lenses, so they can 'pass,' and to conceal their partially deceased status. They must maintain a strict programme of medication to avoid going "rabid" again, which is one injection a day. Many are haunted by returning memories of the atrocities they committed while rabid. In the extremist village of Roarton, PDS sufferers face prejudice from the villagers upon their return.

I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE ANY SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW! That being said "In the Flesh" is a great TV show let a alone a great zombie show. After the episode one opening the show does not feature much in the way of actual gore and blood. That doesn't mean that it is not scary in other ways. It could be called a thinking person's zombie show. As with many great zombie stories it's about much more than the zombies. The show is about family, love, loss, and intolerance.

The writers do an excellent job in the three episodes of dealing with the reactions of the living when the once dead return to society and vice versa. The show constantly has you thinking of what you would do if you were in that situation as either a family member of one of the once dead or as one of the "rotters".

One of the best parts of the show is the great acting. The cast takes a premise that could quickly devolve into camp and turn in some great performances.

Luke Newberry as Kieren "Ren" Walker has a difficult role to play as he has to make the audience care about someone who was once a zombie who killed his neighbors. He does that and at times has you forgetting what he is and even rooting for him.

Another good performance is turned in by Harriet Cains as Jem Walker, Kieren's sister. A role that could have been played as the bratty woe is me little sister/annoying teenager is fleshed out and oh yeah the character's a zombie killing bad ass.

In a show filled with great performances Steve Evets as Bill Macey is the stand out here. He plays a character that hates the rotters but then is conflicted when something happens. ( remember I promised no spoilers ). How his character copes is what drives the last and best episode in the series. He brings both a sense of confidence, doubt, and then confusion to role that could have well been a one note performance.

If you are a zombie fan I strongly suggest that you check out the shows first season and then checking out season two when it premieres on BBC America,May 10 at 10PM ET.