Television isn’t something we usually talk about here at Internal Bleeding, because let’s face it, TJ Hooker hasn’t been on in years, and something like Trueblood and all that vampire BS really doesn’t appeal to me. One thing that I’ve always thought was missing was a zombie show based on a really interesting story that focuses on the survivors, and their attempt to get out of a scary situation while the undead horde bears down on them. My prayers were answered when I found Dead Set, a British television show that centers around a zombie outbreak that happens during a season of Big Brother. Because the participants in the Big Brother reality show are cut off from communication with the outside world, they’re entirely oblivious to the fact that the world around them is being over run, and their production crew is in imminent danger as well.
What starts out as a few infected people spreads into the live crowd that is watching the eviction of the most recent Big Brother cast member. This causes the infection to take over like wildfire, and soon the crowd, and the production crew are running for their lives – but most aren’t successful. Kelly, a production assistant that had been delegated to fetch coffee before the end of the world started locks herself into the art office, while a zombie beats on the other side of the door. She’s able to take out that zombie, and she makes her way to the set of the show to try to hole up there and to warn the contestants that things aren’t the same as when they went into the Big Brother house. After their initial disbelief, one of the cast inadvertently lets in a zombie, and they come face to face with the undead threat, and one cast member gets bitten and will eventually become a zombie soon enough.
Now, I’ve never seen the show Big Brother, but evidently it’s huge in England. The contestants are profiled in tabloids, and become celebrities after the show is over. To add to the authenticity of this 6 episode mini series, they actually used some of the real crew, and former contestants during some of the scenes, which I found pretty impressive. Also, being that shows overseas don’t really follow the same format as ones here in the US, you know that this show will more than likely be wrapped up in 5 episodes, so there isn’t much of a commitment, and you can be through this whole storyline in the same time it would take you to watch a movie. The whole thing runs it’s course in under 3 hours and there is a definite ending.
I enjoyed the character development in this series. Instead of zombies just overrunning the show, and everyone blasting skulls open, you learn about the characters and get to know where they’re coming from. Some of the characters are total cocks, and in the end you hope they get what they deserve. Don’t think that this is all story and no action, though. The gore is top notch. You will notice that some of them are digital effects, but even the old school effects are impressive. I was really surprised that something this well done had actually aired on television at one point. It also has a lot of that shaky cam effect, which reminded me a lot of the camera work in 28 days later.
I was totally pulled in by Dead Set and ended up watching the whole thing in a night. I wouldn’t think twice about watching this a second time, and many times afterwards – it was an enjoyable experience from start to finish. It has a lot of good scares, and it’s just dripping in the sort of social commentary that you’ve come to expect from a zombie film or series. It was also pretty humorous at times, not taking itself to seriously. I would love to see this series come to HBO or Showtime here in the states, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for it. Dead Set is a real treat and if you’re a fan of the zombie genre, you would be doing yourself a disservice by passing it up. It gets 5 zombie skulls getting bashed with a fire extinguisher out of 5.
Dead Set is available from Amazon UK here