Kieren "Ren" Walker (Luke Newberry) is a sufferer of Partially Deceased Syndrome or PDS. In other words, he is a zombie who has been treated with medication, causing him to regain his free will. In the years since the Rising (the zombie apocalypse), Kieren and others like him who once roamed the countryside eating human brains have been rounded up and treated and are now being sent home to resume their old lives as best they can. Unfortunately for them, not all the living are ready to forgive and forget or accept that their dead loved ones are back walking among them.
In the Flesh is a British supernatural drama series created by writer Dominic Mitchell. It's an interesting take on the zombie sub-genre, focusing on how people cope after the zombie threat has been removed. Kieren feels remorse for things he did while in his "rabid" state, and experiences flashbacks about the last person he killed. Many of the villagers of Roarton, his hometown, are still extremely hostile towards the "rotters", and this hostility is fueled by the local vicar (Kenneth Cranham). Kieren's sister, Jem (Harriet Cains) was heavily involved in the Human Volunteer League (HVL), who fought back the zombies during the Rising, and struggles to accept that Kieren really is her brother back from the dead. The militant head of the HVL, Bill Macy (Steve Evets) receives a shock when his son Rick (David Walmsley) a war hero killed in Afghanistan, returns home as another PDS sufferer. Amy (Emily Bevan), also a PDS sufferer, died of leukaemia at the age of 21, and befriends Kieren, telling him she believes their condition is a blessing since she has a second shot at life and no longer needs to fear death. Meanwhile, a masked prophet calls on the undead to rally together for some as yet unspecified end.
There are only three, hour-long episodes in the first season, and the writers have managed to cram a lot of drama and world building into them. The cinematography is impressive, as are the performances. The series is set in Lancashire but filmed in Yorkshire, and the beautiful green countryside is a striking visual counterpoint to the characters' internal dramas. For a show involving zombies, there is not much gore, mainly just what is shown in Kieren's flashbacks. There is violence and coarse language, and part of the story revolves around a suicide, so it may be upsetting to some viewers.
In the Flesh is a moving drama, with themes of prejudice, love, and coping with grief and disappointment. It's a well-told story that manages to bring something new to the well-trodden ground of the zombie story.