I Survived the Zombie Apocalypse: Ep. 1

“She and her friends had reached the same sad age when one can change no longer, and can only become more oneself.”

Elizabeth Bowen

Oh gods. Can I actually be bothered to write about this?

I Survived the Zombie Apocalypse is a BBC Three invention: a reality gameshow about a group of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. As I remember, Derren Brown did a similar thing with his Apocalypse (although the single participant in that “experiment” was not actually aware that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax, as these contestants clearly are), and both programmes fall down on the same point: there’s a sense that everything is pretty much manufactured for maximum drama, so that the contestants are not so much surviving through skill as through luck, or the whims of the producers.

Of course, this is probably also the case for less obviously staged gameshows like I’m A Celebrity, but it’s particularly glaring here for the simple reason that zombies don’t actually exist, so it’s not like responding to a known threat. It’s a group of people running away from some actors in bad makeup. Somehow the tension isn’t really there. It feels more like a camping holiday than anything else.

Still, there are some amusing characters in the group. Well, perhaps “amusing” is the wrong word. “Funny for about five seconds, and then deeply annoying” is probably closer to the bone, especially in the case of Thom, who has an obsession with telling the same story about Lady Gaga every ten minutes and not contributing anything else. Or Amena, an athlete who’s more interested with making eyes at Kavon (sample quote: “Girls come on to me more than I go on to them”) than in, you know, helping. Or Megan, who “just wants everyone to be happy”, no joke.

It’s an inventive concept, though, and there is the possibility of some genuine scares coming up later in the series. At the moment it feels a bit too Big Brother-ish to be really engaging.

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