In The Flesh - Review

After three glorious weeks, the BBC zombie serial In The Flesh shambles to a halt. Rather than the full-on hysteria of The Walking Dead, we focus on the post-zompocalypse survival of a few rural zombies, after society has failed to collapse and they have been medicated, struggling with prejudice and so on.

We took look at the series when it started, so how do we feel now it's finished? Well, there are all kinds of feelings - check out the episodes on iPlayer to avoid spoilers.


Zombies Vs Horse-Flogging

As I mused in my earlier piece about In The Flesh, I was thrilled at the prospect of a new British high-concept drama ending after a tight three episodes, rather than banging on for six-to-eight weeks and squeezing its big idea to death. (Yeah, I'm just jaded after Broadchurch and Utopia.) Happily, In The Flesh nails the three-part structure, moving the plot on steadily each week and bringing things to an emotional peak.

In fact, seeing the focus on character drama here makes the ongoing meat-grinder of Walking Dead seem all the more shallow. Then again, that's a show where the focus in squarely on action and survival. The tragic climax of In The Flesh wrings real emotion from everything that came before - seriously some of the best drama I've seen in a while, and it was about zombies. I'd recommend watching the entire series just for that.

There are a few threads left dangling - mostly to do with the mysterious "prophet" and his cult-sounding compound - so maybe one day they'll pick up those in a sequel, but as a three-part tragically uplifting story about death and prejudice and intense teenage feelings, this works brilliantly as a standalone.

Being Kieren?

Criticisms? Not many. Some of the townspeople start off quite cartoonish, but by the end they've been sketched out just enough. This is mainly lead character Kieren's story, and the focus stays with him accordingly. Luke Newberry is great in that part, too - he and his family anchor the whole thing, letting the story drift away just the right amount for Kieren's misadventures with fellow zombies in part two, then tugging it back at the end.

Genre TV drama in the UK has kept a consistent tone for a while: a knowing, slightly witty tone for "real" people to connect with, as seen on Being Human and Doctor Who. It's nice to see these topics taken a little more seriously, outright rejecting the knowing pop culture references, and even better that it's worked out well. The whole of In The Flesh is on iPlayer for another week, it's only three episodes, I'd recommend checking it out.

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