As someone who likes zombies but finds them becoming overused (I think that was one of he reasons why I couldn’t get into The Walking Dead.) I love In The Flesh. I loved the first series and I am loving the second. Why? Because it’s a zombie show that does not just focus on Zombies and gore (in fact there is very little in the way of gore.) but it focuses on people.
In The Flesh, follows the lives of Kieren Walker and his friend Amy, ‘partially deceased syndrome’ sufferers and their integration into the small community of Roarton after a cure for rabid zombification was found. As with all good TV and literature involving monsters and zombies, In The Flesh portrays the undead characters as the feared Other dealing with the prejudices of a community still dealing with the horrors of the Rising and becoming a metaphor for Kieren’s sexuality. The second series is still about otherness but in a different way, this time they represent the unemployed and immigrants with the pro-living, UKIP-like party, Victus forcing the undead to take part in a work scheme that gives back to the community. Hmmm, I wonder what that reminds me of?
At the other end of the spectrum, we have the Undead Liberation Army and followers of the mysterious Undead Prophet who retaliate to Victus’ polices in violent ways, by taking a drug that turns them back to the rabid zombies they were when they first rose up from the dead, thus confirming every negative thing Victus says about them, ramping up the tension between the living and the undead in the community. This raises questions regarding the Dylan Thomas quoting Amy who embraces her undead status and went to live in a commune at the end of the first series. Has she been indoctrinated by the Undead Prophet or does she truly believe his teachings? What is the reason why she returned to Roarton with her disciple friend, Simon? (I don’t trust him. He’s clearly working an angle and will upset Amy and I love Amy.) Which side will Keiren pick or will he ever get past his internalised prejudice? We also have Jem, Keiren’s sister who was a former member of the HVF, the local militia that was tasked with killing rabid zombies during the Rising and her struggles with PTSD and returning to civilian life as a war hero.
Usually, I dislike TV shows where they hit you over the head with a socio-political commentary, but I feel that In The Flesh manages it quite well, focusing on the story and the characters. It’s the most compelling television show I’ve watched in a long time. It’s not afraid to go places that most TV shows would shy away from. It has complex female characters who are not there to purely serve as love interests and LGBTQ characters do not fall into tired old stereotypes and are not solely defined by their sexuality. Also the sections of society that the zombies serve as metaphors for, actually get representation which is a refreshing change.
I don’t know, I feel like we need more TV shows like this. One’s that actually reflect the society we’re living in instead of the ones that reflect the society that TV producers think we live in. Also with the cancellation of Merlin and Being Human last year, and the steady decline of Doctor Who (the Moff seriously needs to quit.) In The Flesh is fast becoming one of my favorite TV shows and is surely a good reason as to why we need to keep BBC Three.