We are all familiar with the idea of a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’. The Resident Evil franchise is still making a ton of money because of it and there’s no immediate end in sight related to the success of The Walking Dead comics and TV show. The rise of the undead is so much ingrained into my mentality that I come up with escape plans anywhere I go in case of a zombie outbreak. Don’t judge! It’s better to stay safe than sorry. All of you should have a plan in case of a zombie outbreak no matter where you are. Trust me!
There’s a sense of horror and action when it comes to killing zombies. Maybe it’s because human beings have a violent nature. And destroying zombies gives us an excuse to kill others without any consequences because they are already dead? Either way the appeal of zombies can’t be denied. However, one show kind of changed the way I look at zombies. I came to know about this gem last year in March. I was just surfing the internet when I stumbled upon a drama named In the Flesh. I thanked the Gods for providing me with another zombie drama until I waited for the new episodes of The Walking Dead. And it was by the BBC. They have done a good job with shows like Orphan Black, and Doctor Who, to name a few. So, I gave it a try only to find out that ‘In the Flesh’ gave me a very different experience from what I was expecting.
In the Flesh is not your typical zombie drama. It showcases parts of our society that almost all of us can relate to. The basic premise of the three-part season 1 is that humans found a way to treat the zombies that were created on the day referred to as The Rising. These beings, stuck somewhere between humanity and the undead, are diagnosed with Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS). After their treatment they are sent back into society but things aren’t what they are hoping for.
It’s hard enough for society to fully accept people who come back after a long stay at a mental institution or even rehab. Just imagine how they would react when the zombies who killed so many of their loved ones come back, cured and wanting to be accepted. We get to know what happens from the perspective of a teenaged boy, Kieren, who comes back to the small village of Roarton after being treated for his PDS. His story is truly gut-wrenching. He took his life after falling into depression when his friend and romantic interest left him to serve in Afghanistan. But he was reanimated as a zombie on the day of The Rising. He took his life in order to leave the prejudiced village but in the end he had to return there even after his death. He also has to deal with the flashbacks he gets of the people he killed as a zombie and has to live with the regret. He had to live in the closet as a teenager and now has to live in the closet as a PDS treated patient, wearing makeup in order to look more human and being locked inside his house.
There are a lot of issues Kieren has to face. Two extremist sides have emerged since his absence. One side wants the PDS patients to accept their re-birth as a gift from God and reclaim their rights. While the other side looks at them as demons who have taken control of dead bodies. When you start watching this show you will see that PDS is actually something the writer cleverly used to address a range of social issues. You can see the pack mentality that people create when faced by a threat, the hesitation to accept ‘abnormal’ people in society, the prejudice against homosexuals or anyone different, and interpreting religious verses in order to support one’s own ideas.
In my opinion, In the Flesh is a very underrated show and deserves more recognition. It takes a different look at the zombie outbreak and makes the audience question their own society. The creator, Dominic Mitchell, did an amazing job with the story. He took political and social aspects, and served them back to the audience under the disguise of an additive show. You might think of it as fiction when you start watching but it immediately turns into something very real.
Season 1 only had three episodes and it left me wanting more. The show is coming back for a season 2 with six episodes that will hopefully air sometime in May in the UK and a few months later on BBC America, this year! Give it a watch and see for yourself the beautiful way the show depicts the problems in our society through the eyes of a teenager who has a lot to bear on his shoulders.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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