Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zombie Review: We're Alive

We're Alive: A "Zombie" Story of Survival

website for the podcast
subscribe in iTunes or Zune players

MPAA/ESRB/Other rating

Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics/ iTunes tag Explicit

ZPAA rating

Teens and up

Gore level

4 of 10. Since this is an audio drama, you don't see anything. Some of the sound effects are pretty realistic sounding but not stomach churning.

Other offensive content

Lots of bad language, increasing levels of human on human violence, two innocent animals in jeopardy (or are they innocent?!?).

How much zombie mythology/content

The zombies here are mostly classical, spreading their infection via biting others. The big difference between these and classical zombies is they move faster (28 Days Later speeds and up) and some of them seem awfully intelligent. There is a hint of a "ground zero" from which the zombies emanated, but no details have been given by the end of season one for the origin or cause of the zombies.

How much fun

Both situational humor and occasional jabs at zombie cliches are found in this podcast. The story line grabs the listener and brings you along for a great ride. The characters are engaging and well acted, making you want the next episode asap.


Three soldiers, Michael, Angel and Saul, are called up to help quell a riot in Los Angeles. When they get to their headquarters, they realize this is no ordinary riot. People are going after each other in frenzied, frantic attacks everywhere. These soldiers wind up at an apartment building which they think will be relatively easy to fortify. Gathering a random groups of civilians and whatever supplies they can, the intrepid band searches for answers about how the zombie hordes started and how they can be stopped.

This audio drama comes out in weekly installments of about 20 minutes each (season 2 starts/started on August 23, 2010). The production values are extremely high, with great sound effects and atmospheric music. The writing is sharp and with the podcast format the creators can have cliffhanger endings to episodes without shoehorning them into a time slot. Consequently, there's no filler and also nothing left out except to create more suspense.

The actors all deliver fine performance. Some of the characters when first introduced seem a little cliche (I'm thinking primarily of the "no field experience" officer who leads two Iraq War vets and the very Clint Eastwood-esque gun store owner), but they are quickly moved beyond one dimension through character development. The cast is big enough to give the listener a variety of people to identify or agree with while not losing track of who is who. Also, the role of narrator switches from the army guys to other characters, allowing a balance of points of view and following different action in different locations.

I've really enjoyed what I've heard so far and can't wait for the next season of episodes to start next week!

Sample text

Check out their promotional video (warning: one use of crude language)

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