Well, It's going to be a few months until Rick and co are back fighting hordes of zombies on your television sets, so why not take this time to catch up with a lesser-known #zombie offering? The BBC 3 drama, #InTheFlesh is about life after death. This show deserves your attention as it's completely different from anything you've seen before. Stick around and I'll give you a rundown of this horror drama show that has, unfortunately, passed over to the other side too soon.
As you may have guessed from the trailer, this isn't your average zombie fairy tale (well, if you consider flesh eating a kind of fantasy story anyways). It's set four years after an unknown zombie outbreak (or "rotter outbreak" as they call it in the show) that has occurred in the UK. Unlike most films and TV shows, a "cure" has been found for the zombie virus. In effect, the undead can take medicine to combat the virus and continue living a semi-normal life. The returning dead are labelled PDS sufferers (which stands for partially deceased syndrome), and besides not being able to eat or drink, are practically back to their normal selves.
However, the main driving force is how the small town reacts to having their loved ones and friends who they once knew as flesh-crazed cannibals coming back to live with them as if nothing ever happened. I mean, would YOU like giving your dead brother a hug if you saw him munching on someone's brains? I didn't think so.
The series follows main character Kieran, played by Luke Newberry, who is barely coming to terms with his "condition" and is sent back to his home town to live with his family again. Unfortunately, the circumstances of his death and obvious return cause tension within the household, threatening to drive the family further apart. Tensions mount in the village as well, where groups of zombie kill squads — led by the ever-grizzled Steve Evets — are hunting down those who have returned. Can Kieran remain undetected, or will the squad smell the rotter out?
Just A 'Teen' Drama?
One thing that ITF has done so well is to take an oversaturated genre (albeit an extremely popular one) and turn it on its head with a show that transcends so many themes. The show is so much more then the "teen" drama it has been portrayed as in the media and should be recommended viewing for teenagers all the way to hardened horror veterans like myself. In fact, speaking of the horror element in the show, it hasn't been toned down in any way to fit with a younger audience. From scenes of zombies eating brains to some damn fine prosthetic work that would make #TomSavini jealous, In The Flesh is a zombie show that never shied away from its gruesome roots.
Another thing that those Brits do so well (in my humble opinion) is making gritty dramas that seem to resonate with a worldwide audiences. ITF really couldn't have been made anywhere else on the planet and still remain so bleak, horrific and yet, strangely, uplifting. Clearly it's not just a TV show that was aiming for the middle ground in the ratings war. Zombie Nation this most certainly isn't.
Death Of A Show
It's almost therapeutic to write about In The Flesh because I was a MASSIVE fan and couldn't help but tune in every week to catch it. Unfortunately, with news in 2015 of BBC Three's closure, the budget for ITF and many other cult shows sadly disappeared, and the final axe fell after a mere two seasons. One of the BBC's worst crimes (well, sadly not) was to cut the show rather then move it online or to sister channel, BBC Two. Frankly, less reruns of old '70s sitcoms (which seem to be a staple of the network) and more original content would have been welcomed. Sadly, the BBC thought not.
Diehard fans have tried and tried to get online streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon to resurrect the show, but to no avail. It seems that In The Flesh is one of those shows that did everything right — even achieving prestigious awards such as BAFTAs for best scripted program and best drama series. As a solid fan of not only the horror genre but quality gritty drama, I really can't understand why there isn't a perceived market for this show. One can only assume that in this fast-paced industry, most production houses already have "too much" work to have time to put their efforts into a "failed" TV series. I guess only something as mysterious as the origins of the zombie virus itself can explain why there will (most likely) never be a third season.
The BBC isnot currently streaming the series on their Iplayer, though that may change. In the meantime, I would highly recommend picking up both series on DVD if you want to get invested in a TV show that can stand proudly on its own two legs. Spread the word folks: In The Flesh can never die (well, only partially anyways).