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DVD Review: BBC’s ‘In the Flesh’

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With zombies rising from dead at an alarming rate on TV and in theaters, it must be hard coming up with something new to add to the heap. Leave it to the BBC to conjure something rather brilliant with Dominic Mitchell’s In the Flesh. The showrunners for The Walking Dead could learn a thing or two from watching this show. While it may feature the undead walking amongst the living, In the Flesh feels far more… fleshed out. The first season only consists of three hour-long episodes, available on DVD October 8 from BBC Home Entertainment.

InTheFleshIn rural Roarton, Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) is a “Rotter,”  on his way home to his parents, Steve and Sue (Steve Cooper and Marie Critchley), and sister Jem (Harriet Cains). Recently rehabilitated — and medicated — Kieren finds new life but not without a few bumps along the way. The town is overrun with members of the HVF (Human Volunteer Force), led by Bill Macy (Steve Evets), including Jem. Meanwhile, Vicar Oddie (Kenneth Cranham) is busy convincing the town that anyone suffering from PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome), is merely a shell of their departed loved ones, and speaks of a second rising, in which only the good will rise again. Soon enough, tension comes to head after the arrival of Bill’s son Rick (David Walmsley), another sufferer of PDS, and Kieren’s best mate.

Director Jonny Campbell keeps things moving along at a clip, with just enough loose ends left open for the second series set to air in 2014. From the description of the second series on the Wikipedia page, it sounds like series creator Mitchell found plenty of room to enhance and broaden the scope of the second series. Anyone worried about the violence being dumbed down need not worry, there’s plenty of blood and brains to go around with the story. Speaking of which, In the Flesh also makes sure to pack plenty of emotion giving the actors more than enough to chew on. It was nice to see a particular plot point used naturally to further the characterization instead of using it as an allegorical crutch.

Unfortunately, there are no special features on the BBC DVD; just the three episode arc making up the first series. Having In the Flesh available stateside is enough of a treat — just in time for the Halloween season — and I can’t wait to see what tricks Mitchell has in store with the next season.

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival.