Time Crawls When Watching I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse
It crossed my mind last night, whilst watching new zombie reality television show I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse, that BBC Three is possibly churning out rubbish so we’ll be quite glad to see the back of the channel if/when it finally ignores audience opinion to go online-only.
I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse is exactly the reality show one expects from the title. Unfortunately, everything about it is as predictable as the title. The challenges are mediocre, unoriginal and largely non-entertaining. In the first episode, the contestants have to try to find their lost family as well as food and water supplies for their base.
The problem with the premise of the show is, obviously, zombies aren’t real. The audience knows this. The producers know this. The contestants know this. The show is not original enough in its staging or challenges to ever get past this. The contestants aren’t particularly bothered that they are supposed to be stuck in a building with hoards of flesh-eating zombie outsides, their families probably dead, probably going insane themselves from a combination of paranoia and starvation. Whilst facing the impending terror of zombie-actors, the contestants prove this by their lackluster jogging – sometimes merely walking – away from the zombies.
Instead of fear and discussion of survival techniques, we get mundane Big Brother-esque drama as ten people are put in a room together with cameras.
The nature of this being a show about non-entities means that the whole production seems terribly manufactured. There is no spontaneity. The challenges are set by the producers and the contestants will react how they are expected to act. We know really that all reality shows are extremely manufactured, but that’s not to say there’s no place for the pretense.
There are good moments. I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse is well put together, with great cut-scenes and excellent soundtrack choices. The idea that the zombie outbreak was caused by 5G is a stroke of genius (though does remind me of Clara’s little problem with the wifi in that Doctor Who episode). The challenge where one contestant gets stuck in an air vent with a zombie is the stuff of claustrophobic nightmares. But these moments are few and far between.
Perhaps this had potential. It was likely commissioned off the back of In The Flesh’s success for BBC Three, and might have worked better as an hour of meaningless fun alongside the oft-dark zombie drama. However, BBC Three has since given up on In The Flesh, and apparently lost all love for the zombie genre. If this was going to work, it needed to be terribly innovative – a new way of looking at reality TV – and it isn’t. It’s hard to believe anyone who wasn’t involved in the making of this reality show would get any pleasure from watching their hour crawl lifelessly away.