Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
Language: English (Stereo)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2014
Run Time: 342 minutes
It is completely unfair to make even the slightest comparison of “In the Flesh” to “The Walking Dead,” although it is inevitable that this association will be made between the two zombie television events. For one thing, “In the Flesh” is not a post-apocalyptic storyline. We join the story after civilization has recovered almost entirely, and it instead becomes a story about integration and acceptance. The horror elements are all but removed and zombies instead become a symbol for diversity and a metaphor for homosexuality.
The main narrative decision to remove the horror from this story is the choice to make the protagonist a zombie, and to make those monsters nearly indistinguishable from humans. Normally this might add an element of fear, as if having them hidden amongst us would make them dangerous in new ways, but not in this miniseries. Instead they are integrated back into society in secret for their own protection, with the humans being the monsters with the capacity for destruction. My biggest issue with the zombies in Dominic Mitchell's “In the Flesh” is that they don’t really resemble zombies in their monstrous form. The storyline almost seems to insert the zombies simply because they are the hot-ticket horror monster of the moment, although it seems to be a narrative better suited for vampires or werewolves.
We follow teenager Kieren Walker as a zombie returning home after being rehabilitated and placed on medication which removes the flesh-craving tendencies of the undead “disease.” His demise is somewhat of a mystery, involving a relationship he had with a hometown hero. The strength of season two lies in the increased importance placed on other characters as well, most significant being Kieren’s best friend, Amy (Emily Bevan). The narrative also introduces new mysteries about the disease, including theories that there will be a second rising. The town in joined by forces in opposition; on one side is Maxine Martin (Wunmi Mosaku), a government official sent to Kieren’s small town to enforce new laws discriminating against the partially dead citizens, and on the other side is rebellion leader and love interest for Kieren, Simon (Emmett J. Scanlan).
Seeming to have heard the complaints from the first season, there is a great deal more action, excitement and intrigue in these follow-up six episodes. I can honestly say that I am curious to discover what will happen in season three, whereas I have very little memory of how season one even finished. This still is not a show likely to appease horror fans in the way that other zombie entertainment might, but it has found a better balance between entertainment and heavy-handed messages.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 7/10
Special Features: 0/10