I’m no stranger to zombies. With a collection of 35 zombie movies, from 1932’s White Zombie to 1968’s Night of the Living Dead to 2006’s Fido, I’m pretty well on my way to watching every zombie movie (that’s worth watching, and a few that aren’t) ever made.
But lately, I’ve gotten more excited about zombie television, specifically zombie dramas or zom-droms.
Most recently, I came across a new zombie series from BBC America. Called In the Flesh, the series centers on a young man named Kieren, who is a PDSS: Partially Deceased Syndrome Sufferer.
The story? Over 140,000 people have come back from the dead in what is called the Rising. The government finds a way to medicate the remaining living dead so they can again think and act as they used to. But not everyone thinks the PDS sufferers aka zombies should be reinitiated into society. Tensions between the government, the anti-zombie Human Volunteer Force and the returning now-medicated dead escalate, most interestingly in Kieren’s small town.
I love this series, which came out in March 2013, and a second season in May 2014, because it’s very different from most of what I’ve seen before in zombie shows or movies. In fact, if you hate horror or zombies, you could still like this show.
Here’s a look at what I mean, what makes it so unique and why you should check it out, whether you’re a zombie fan like me or not. (Note: Some spoilers here, but no major ones.)
1) The comedy. British shows have a knack for being insanely clever, for dealing with heavy themes while adding a small dose of droll humor. In the Flesh is no different. Despite its ofttimes serious focus, the show has just enough humor to make you laugh, in a sad kind of way. For instance, as shown above, when Kieren returns home with his family, he’s expected to eat dinner with them. The problem? Zombies can’t eat or drink without causing major problems to their insides. So Kieren’s mom asks him, Can you pretend? Poor Kieren does his best. It’s still sad, in a funny kind of way. :)
2) The serious exploration of real-life issues. When it comes to what themes are off-limits, there are none. The show doesn’t avoid the problematic or the difficult. Whether it’s suicide, mental health, drugs, religious differences or homosexuality, it is explored in this series. The message, too, of being yourself and realizing that people are people and no one group is better than another–even if they’re dead, or undead–is a good one to remember.
3) Pitchfork-wielding British rednecks. (Okay, maybe they wield actual guns, but the thought’s the same.) The Human Volunteer Force–which began in Kieren’s small town and is still going strong there–is comprised of military vets and guys with barely enough sense to hold the guns they’re packing. This group, which **spoiler alert** kills a woman in the street because she’s a PDS sufferer/zombie, refuses to allow themselves to think that these zombies can actually be people. They treat government officials with ire and threaten to kill any returning PDS sufferer on sight. Not very open minded are they?
So that’s my round-up of my top three favorite things about this show. If that’s not enough to make you watch it, well, you’re far different from me. But that’s okay. Because part of the point of shows like this is that we can be different, but we can still learn to understand and care about one another. Even if that other person–is partially deceased.