In the Flesh Puts a Fresh Spin on Zombie Lore

If you're jonesing for more zombie action, In the Flesh might just satisfy you're craving for brains . . . er . . . for the walking dead

Credit: SPACE

Luke Newberry stars as”rehabilitated” zombie teen Kieren Walker in the new Brit sci-fi drama In the Flesh

In the Flesh offers a different perspective on the walking dead

The zombie genre is hotter than ever, as evidenced by the huge ratings racked up by this season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Yet after countless films and TV shows, it’s no mean feat to put a creative new spin on a premise that is essentially survivors fighting off a shambling army of brain-hungry monsters.

So give credit to the BBC for greenlighting In the Flesh, a fascinating three-part drama series that looks at the zombie apocalypse from a perspective we rarely see — that of the zombie. 

Created and written by British playwright Dominic Mitchell, In the Flesh is set in the fictional U.K. village of Roarton, several months after a zombie apocalypse has ravaged the country. Teenager Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) is one of thousands who were reanimated as undead zombies; unlike in The Walking Dead, however, these zombies aren’t destroyed — they’re rehabilitated and given specially formulated medication to curb their cravings for brains. 

Rehabilitated Zombies in In the Flesh

In the Flesh follows Kieren’s return to his hometown after months of rehab for those suffering from “partially deceased syndrome” (PDS), the newly invented politically correct term for Britain’s zombie population.

Like his fellow PDS patients, Kieren has undergone extensive training on how to disguise his ever-decaying appearance with makeup and contact lenses while he tries to re-enter society and blend in, thanks to the medication that prevents him from going “rabid” again. 

As you’d expect, non-zombies — especially those whose loved ones were eaten — are far from thrilled when these rehabbed monsters move into the neighbourhood, and Kieren experiences outright hostility from the locals, who worry that he’ll revert back to his brain-eating ways.

Meanwhile, life is no picnic for Kieren; not only is his flesh decaying, but he also retains horrific memories of the atrocities he committed during his “rabid” phase, and continues to be haunted by nightmares of the people he killed. 

It’s an intriguing premise that doesn’t always work as well as it should, although the story builds and deepens over the course of its three episodes. In the Flesh is no Walking Dead, but if you’re looking for a show to fill the zombie-filled void in your TV schedule until the AMC hit returns in the fall, you could do a lot worse.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.