Sunday, November 10, 2013

In the Flesh

If you like zombie movies and TV series, and even if you don't, but can tolerate a bit of gore, then the UK series is a real treat.

The zombies in this show are not the frenzied, marauding gangs that decimate the population and overrun the world as in World War Z. This isn't about a post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead which strips society back to the most basic of human needs.

Instead, this series takes a post-post-apocalyptic view - a look at how a reasonably intact world seeks to recover from the zombie menace. Several years following "the rising", when people who had died in the previous year all rose from the grave, the world has returned to stability, and the question of whether zombies and people can co-exist is a key issue.

A medical solution is developed so that zombies no longer need to roam the world and eat human brains - they are restored to functioning human beings (in the main). The way society deals with this is through the magic of political correctness: there are no zombies any more; instead they are the victims of an awful affliction known as PDS - Partially Deceased Syndrome. As long as these "PDS sufferers" take their daily medication, and use contact lenses and cover-up to look less conspicuous, they can re-integrate into society.

The bonus of having zombies who can talk and engage with the living is that it gives the opportunity to explore some of the issues around death and mortality that the zombie concept raises. The zombies can reflect on their death and the opportunity to return (perhaps forever), and consider a different approach to life than previously.

It also examines the prejudices against a group of people, particularly within a close-knit community. While some families keep their zombie relatives a secret, other families, and indeed the community at large, have to deal with the the idea of zombies and members of the volunteer defence force that was mobilised during the crisis to hunt down and kill zombies, living side-by-side.

This series takes a departure from "classic" zombie stories and ends up with social commentary that is very relevant to society today.
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