Series: Dead Set
Sooner or later any discussion involving zombies will stray on to the topic of Social Commentary. You can also bet that someone, in some hackeyed attempt to sound like they know something about something, will bring up that ten letter word: Consumerism!
Ever since George Romero tricked movie snobs into thinking he’d made some kind of statement about consumerism, in the 1978 undead classic DAWN OF THE DEAD, morons have been pretending they understand the social commentary hidden within ‘completely devoid of any commentary, social or otherwise’ horror movies. They’re usually the same kinds of boneheads who bang on about The Godfather, Stanley Kubrick or Pulp Fiction.
Well, finally there actually is a zombie story which manages to have just the right mix of social commentary and good old fashion people eating.
DEAD SET is a five part series which covers the early stages of a rapidly spreading pathogen which turns people into flesh starved zombies. The series focuses (mostly) on the remaining contestants of a fictitious series of Big Brother and several members of the reality show’s production staff, all of whom take refuge in the Big Brother compound when the eviction night crowd turns into an insatiable horde.
Kelly (Jaime Winstone) is undeniably the sanity touchstone of the series. In the beginning she’s attempting to balance her role as a production assistant / runner for Big Brother producer, the uncontrollably self-centred ass-bag, Patrick (Andy Nyman) with a recent indiscretion involving a workmate. She’s confronted by egos at every turn, if not Patrick’s, then it is the fractured (or bloated) egos of other member’s of the show’s staff. And things don’t get any better once the zombie apocalypse arrives!
Kelly’s boyfriend Riq (Riz Ahmed) also manages to survive the first night the infection and attempts to get to the studio lot when he sees — via a live feed from the Big Brother house — that Kelly is still alive.
The series is essentially told from Kelly and Riq’s perspectives. Kelly attempts to stay alive in the Big Brother house, while Riq (unbeknownst to Kelly) forges his way through the seemingly endless undead creatures outside.
You’d be forgiven if you heard the premise of this show and simply rolled your eyes and dismissed it as a silly gimmick. But you’d really be short changing yourself if you didn’t take the opportunity to check it out, especially if you’ve got the stomach for full on horror.
DEAD SET is an extremely well executed series. It’s full of highs and lows. There are plenty of light moments to offset the drama and horror going on, but it doesn’t (with the exception of one moment, which I wont spoil) go too far and become ‘comedy’. The characters are all well realised and all continue to grow over the five episodes of the series. You’re left with no doubt about who these characters are, which makes the drama and horror so much more confronting. Especially when the survivors start to turn on, and manipulate, each other.
Zombie aficionados will probably be able to debate the ‘Romeroesqueness’ of the creatures in this series until the undead cows come home. In my opinion, writer Charlie Brooker struck the right balance between simple-minded Romero stumblers and the all-star athletes of 28 DAYS LATER.
As a fan of this genre, this series is just about perfect. It’s visually impressive, and never lets on that its budget was tight. All ’round, the performances are solid. And that social commentary? Well, it is there, but it doesn’t get in your face.
If I have any complaints about the series at all it’s that the camera work gets a little too shaky at times, but that’s it. Oh, no! I do have one more complaint: Even after watching the series twice, and exploring all of the generous extras included on the DVD… I want more! [source]
Enter To Win a Signed Copy of DEAD SET on DVD!
The gang at Madman have been kind enough to let me give away a couple of copies of the Dead Set DVD, signed by the series writer/creator Charlie Brooker! Wanna win one? Read on!
There are a couple of episodes of Powers Cosmic in which Elroy and Furious discuss Zombies and how to survive a Zombie uprising, or other such apocalyptic event! In one episode in particular they rattle off a list of equipment that they deem necessary for the continued having of aliveness.
To get your chance to win one of these awesome DVD’s (as reviewed on above): Reply to this post (or comment on this note on the Powers Cosmic Facebook Page) with your suggestion for a 6th item to add to Elroy and Furious’ survival kit (Guns, food and water don’t count!). Add a brief explanation as to why you think your suggestion has merit too!
It’s not essential to winning, but hey why not become a Powers Cosmic fan on our Facebook Page!
The winners will be decided by Elroy and Furious on Friday the 11th of December. Entrants must be at least 15 years old to be eligible and prises will only be shipped to Australian addresses.