But this post is mostly about writing, and what inspires me as a writer.
I’ve just finished editing a section of a uni friend’s short story, which is about zombies, (hopefully more news to come on this) and because I am unable to read anything vaguely related to zombies without talking about In the Flesh I recommended it to them.
Thinking it over, it has occurred to me that the great thing about In the Flesh, the thing I most love about it, is that it’s not about zombies.
Ok, well, yeah, it is, and there’s gore and guts and plenty of zombie typical things, but really it’s about people, and family, and relationships, and how do people cope after someone they love does something horrific? How do the person cope? I think this is also why I loved reading We Need to Talk About Kevin. Why don’t we explore how relationships reform after someone pushes past boundaries? It’s about how even after someone makes the biggest, most unthinkable mistake, as human beings we still have a capacity for rebuilding and understanding that person. (Well, not so much in Eva’s case from what I remember but there’s definitely a level of understanding there. I need to re-read!)
Plus there’s the setting, and how tight nit rural communities react, the disadvantages and advantages of being a part of the community, and the way that Dominic Mitchell sets them up as such a stereotype but develops them much more into something deeper, with much more understanding of our capabilities of humans.
People put people in boxes far too often, just from a glance, and put it down to experience that they know that person inside out from one moment in this stranger’s life. When really humans are so much more complicated than that. I think that’s where great character development lies. We can recognise the stereotype in a person, and on a surface level people do fall into categories, but their individuality as a human being stems from building on this, teasing out the contrasts and the flaws and the unexpected.
This is what Dominic did so brilliantly with the series. He took a genre and turned it on it’s head, took something known as basically an excuse for gratuitous violence and gore (not that I’m implying no one else has taken the genre deeper – Shaun of the Dead anyone) and made it so much deeper.
I’m forever upset that the series is cancelled, and I understand that BBC Three had to make cutbacks due it being it’s final year as a televised channel (though why they said it was to make room for new drama when said new drama is just going to disappear online in a year mystifies me) but it deserved more.
If you’re a fellow fan, there are a couple of petitions on Change.org to help In the Flesh find a new home:
I’m pretty sure I would get Netflix or Amazon Prime just to see this have a third series.