¡Qué horror! 2014
We're half a month out from this year’s cut-off date, and so I thought I needed to take note of a couple of TV shows that don’t really register as “horror,”* but were nonetheless among the absolute best the past 12 months had to offer.
IN THE FLESH
This excellent show also got a mention for its first series ‘round these parts, and in a lot of ways, its second super-sized go-around is even better**. It takes the whole zombie thing and sets up a narrative that makes a much more optimal use of its scenario, operating on the level of allegory and socio-political commentary while telling us a tale of just how human any of us (living or otherwise) can be in the face of massive cultural upheaval.
George Romero should be proud.
As I said before, this is the show for those of you out there who are looking for more from their television zombies. It’s the show that achieves disquiet and unease without having to resort to fake bloodletting and over-the-top gore.
* Or, at least not in the same way as this year’s television Candidates qualify as “horror.”
** Well, maybe except for the fact that we see significantly less of Dr. Channard himself, Kenneth Cranham, than we did in series 1…
In the Sunday night face-off between ex-Lost showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, Lindelof wins hands down, The Leftovers creaming The Strain without even breaking a sweat.
Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta (who also wrote Election and Little Children, both adapted into feature films), The Leftovers chronicles the state of the world following the sudden disappearance of 2% of the world’s population.
It’s a somber, weighty, and emotionally wrenching watch, this, and clearly not for everyone.
But I love this show, and I must give props to Lindelof, Perrotta, and Peter Berg (who directed the pilot), for having the balls to give us a show like this. It’s the kind of show that we need, lest the television landscape be reduced to a sea of sitcoms and procedurals and “procedurals with a twist” and CSI’s and CSI clones and CSI clones’ spin-offs, and reality TV shows.
It’s the kind of show that, just as all serious art must do, makes us question and ponder, makes us take a brief step back from the 25/8 madness of the contemporary world and consider existence in all its beautiful and tragic and brutal glory.
(In The Flesh image courtesy of bbcamerica.com; In The Flesh DVD cover art courtesy of twitter.com; The Leftovers OS’ courtesy of impawards.com.)