Image Credit: IFCLast night, IFC aired the first part of the British miniseries Dead Set, in which zombies invade the UK version of Big Brother. The series will thrill undead-loving gore enthusiasts — the walking corpses don’t just munch away on their victims, they delectably devour them like cannibal coinnoisseurs. (Put it this way: Ask yourself how sick the phrase “misplaced intestines” makes you before watching this series.) But Dead Set has a lot to offer besides enjoyable gorenography. For one thing, the series’ portrayal of modern reality-show culture is scandalously funny. At one point in the first episode, we see the BB housemates squabbling over typically insipid reality-show drama, while outside the windows, people are being devoured. It feels a little bit like a modern retelling of The Rules of the Game, with reality-show contestants playing the part of decadently unaware idiots arguing over nothing while the world ends. The eeriest moment in the first hour is a line from a BB housemate that hilariously inverts the old Orwellian line: “Big Brother ain’t watching us.”
Dead Set features celebrity cameos that are utterly meaningless to us Americans, including a hilarious extended experience by Davina McCall (a.k.a. Chenbot UK, pictured above.) I’m a helpless BB addict — I’m convinced that the US version has more to say about contemporary political life than any show since The West Wing — so I dug how the first episode cut seamlessly between in-house shenanigans, the behind-the-scenes control room, and the sign-waving fans outside.
I haven’t seen the rest of the series yet (the next four episodes air every night this week), but the first hour felt like a nimble zombie-combo, with George A. Romero’s satirical spirit playing right alongside the more modern, gore-heavy 28 Days Later style. And Jaime Winstone makes a great, morally compromised heroine. (Acting dynasty alert! She’s Ray Winstone’s daughter.)
Viewers, did you watch Dead Set? Are there any Big Brother UK fans out there who can speak to Dead Set‘s portrayal of the show? And do you think a remake would work with American Big Brother?