Sunday, 17 March 2013

Review: In The Flesh 1.1
Luke Newbury is cool lead Kieren Walker.
Hot off of the heels of Being Human's demise, BBC Three have followed it up with this three-part drama which feels like an eerie cross between The Fades and an episode of Charlie Brooker's satirical sci-fi series Black Mirror. Here we take a more realistic look at the desperately tired zombie genre, sticking it into a semi-21st Century environment and seeing what pops out. It shared Black Mirror's bleak sense of direction and tone, but overall I think the three part format will give it a bit more breathing room to fully explore its several concepts.
     It's a year or two after a zombie apocalypse, referred to by the populace as the Rising of the "Rotters". Even though the valient Human Volunteer Force wanted to kill them all, the scientific community created a series of drugs which allows the zombies to become sentient again. One such sufferer of "Partially Deceased Syndrome" is Kieren Walker, a teenage boy who comes home to his Yorkshire-esque village of Roarton to find his sister Gem a staunch member of the local HVF, who believe that they must kill zombies no matter their state of mind. It's revealed that Kieren became a zombie after comitting suicide.
     The series is one of very few to ask what happens after the standard apocalypse is finished. I loved the way that genuine gore and horror was mixed in with commentary on the nature of sentience, human rights and the spread of prejudice through rural communities. There's also some small commentary on the nature of what it means to be human, but luckily that's kept as an afterword. The episode is quite clever in the way it uses supernatural themes to enhance what could have been a fairly dry look at radicalisation.
     The cast almost entirely filled with unknowns is what makes this series feel so astounding from the get-go, managing to throw so many different themes and ideas into a setting this well executed. The on;y complaint I could really have would be that it was perhaps a little too dry, but that's just me being picky. This scenario doesn't really need humour - it's one of those rare circumstances where everything on a project comes together perfectly. In The Flesh is well-made, well-written and is, quite frankly, something BBC Three can be proud of.


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