Hellevision: BBC’s In the Flesh (Series 2)

Have you seen the first series of this BBC America mini-series? Or at least read reviews of it to see if it’s something you may be into? Check it: Hellevision: BBC’s In the Flesh (Series 1) .  I really enjoyed this zombie drama and was thrilled to see season two boast three more episodes than its predecessor.

The second series of In the Flesh is just as good as the first, if not better.  Zombie-terrorism induced by a drug known as “Blue Oblivion” has become a thing for the living to fear. And what better way to kick-off the series premier than with an exhibition of said zombie-terrorism?

 Check out the first four minutes of season two’s first episode right here:

Ah yes, the Undead Liberation Army (ULA) wreaking havoc with their radical zombie views. Striking fear into respectable British living citizens. And what political party wants to take advantage of that fear most? An extremist, anti-PDS (partially deceased syndrome) sufferers, and fear-mongering group called Victus. But then there’s a different side of the ULA that Amy (yep, same quirky and bubbly Amy from the first series) is a part of – just seems hippy-like, with the zombies playing guitar and chilling in their commune, preaching acceptance for the PSD sufferer, and dubbing themselves as “the Redeemed.”

Amy is chosen for a mission to accompany the Undead Prophet’s 12th disciple, Simon (You can’t miss the fact that both of the zombie disciples introduced in this series have straight up Biblical names.) to go someplace to do something special . . . that “some place” happens to be Roarton.

On the flip side, the newly-elected MP for the parliamentary constituency of Roarton Valley, Maxine Martin, is a member of Victus with an agenda of her own.  Things seem pretty peaceful in Roarton and tolerance is more or less practiced in the community. However, when representatives of the two extremists come to visit Roarton everything changes. With the building friction between the ULA followers espousing a prophecy about a second Rising and wanting to bring it about and the militant anti-PDS humans who would rather shoot the undead upon sight – rabid or not – Kieran Walker just can’t seem to get a break in his home town so he makes plans to head to Paris. 

Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

(Un)life is hard for Kieran Walker. Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

Unfortunately, the powers that be won’t let any of the partially deceased leave. Kieran is still a focal point in the series, but there are others who get their turn in the spotlight and some excellent supporting character development. Such as Kieran’s sister, Jem, who has some crazy flashbacks from the Rising when she served on the Human Volunteer Force. Like many war veterans, Jem is experiencing some post traumatic stress that has some serious life implications. Unfortunately, she’s ignoring all the signs and things slowly deteriorate throughout the season for her.

As all PDS sufferers must remain in their respective communities to partake in a Victus-mandated initiative called the Give-Back Program, more of the Roarton undead are present throughout the show, not just as shambling zombies, but some even get a bit more screen time dedicated to character development and back-story. A particularly poignant side story revolves around Freddie, a Roarton native and PDS sufferer. And later in the series a bit of Simon’s history is revealed which explains how he got involved with the ULA.

Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

Amy is just trying to make the best of things per usual. Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

Amy and Simon also made it into town just in time to be a part of this exciting new program to help “give back to the community you ravaged.” Even though Simon wasn’t originally from Roarton, he participates in the program. It’s evident early on that this zombie disciple has ulterior motives. Seriously, Simon’s a smooth-talker, seems quite persuasive (maybe even manipulative?), and unwavering in his extremist ULA ideology and belief in this far-fetched prophecy. Spoiler alert: Rumor has it that Roarton is special as it was ground-zero for the Rising. Part of Simon’s mission is to locate the very first Risen.

Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

Maxine Martin. Victus Party. Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

As the story progresses, belief systems are shaken up, conspiracy theories run rampant, loyalties are tested, and all the while Kieran maintains that he doesn’t want to be part of any of it. Well, except for the fact that he’s a wee bit into Simon.

It’s not the type of show where anyone “comes out” with their sexuality but rather they just exist without the labels. The “coming out” is more along the lines of PDS sufferers accepting who they are and figuring out where they fit in society. Or Phillip “coming out” with his true feelings. And Jem “coming out” with the truth about something she did.

Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

Simon – 12th Undead Disciple of the ULA. Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

Relationships (romantic, familial, friendship) are once again in a delicate balance between the living and the undead. There are extremists of both sides as well as living and undead who just want to coexist peacefully. Not every human wants to annihilate the “rotters” and not every PDS sufferer wants to snort up Blue Oblivion to turn into a “rabid” and go on a killing spree again.  Still, there’s quite a bit of zombie action in this series complete with social commentary and tragedy. Because what would a zombie-dominated drama be without the tragedy? Probably a comedy.

Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

Jem is not amused. Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

I won’t give away too much more about this series, especially not the ending, but two enigmatic characters from the company Halperin & Weston show up in Roarton after the company received “unusual” test results of a certain PDS sufferer sent by the local doctor. Halperin and Weston were the developers of Neurotriptyline, the chemical compound which rehumanized the zombies and effectively ended the war against the undead. Why exactly the two representatives were sent to Roarton Valley is still a bit of a mystery.

Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

Oh, Phillip. Photo Credit: Des Willie, © BBC

There’s no confirmation if In the Flesh will be back for a third series or not. It received many accolades and critical acclaim, so really, I don’t see why we wouldn’t see a another year of British PDS sufferers. I have an inkling that Kieran will not remain in a state of undead bliss for long, Roarton’s future is uncertain, PDS sufferers seem to be evolving, there’s a new dynamic duo on the scene digging up graves, and there are still many questions unanswered about the Undead Liberation Army and its Prophet. Though I have some theories . . .

EXCEPT FROM OVERVIEW

What happens when the Undead re-enter society as functioning beings?  Can things ever go back to normal? And more importantly, who is more dangerous, the Undead or the Living? Nine months have passed and the war to protect the town from the Undead, known as Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) sufferers has ceased.  Kieren Walker (Luke NewberryThe Legend of Hercules) however, is still struggling to find self-acceptance and longs to escape to Paris to start anew.  But in the wider world, the fear of an uprising is palpable.  PDS terrorists linked to the Undead Liberation Army (ULA), believing they are ‘the redeemed’, are going rabid (zombie state) off the drug, Blue Oblivion, and attacking the Living at an alarming rate – causing the radical Pro-Living political party, Victus, to target the Undead with vigor and oppressive measures.  And with the arrival of new and explosive characters from both factions in Roarton, Kieren is caught square in the middle of a new budding war, making his desire for a quiet life an unrealistic option.

BBC America Pressroom

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About Boris

Boris enjoys reading, writing, traveling, performing, roller derby, and costuming in addition to immersing herself in a variety of horrific worlds via literature, art, video games, comics, music, haunted attractions, and cinematic adventures. From zombies to slashers, creature features to B-movies, and psychological thrillers to supernatural stories, Boris is into many different subgenres of horror.