Monday, November 04, 2019

Age of the Living Dead – season 1 – review

Director: Paul Tanter

Release date: 2018

Contains spoilers

This series (season 1 running at 6 episodes) was a Fox one that didn’t even flicker on my radar until it appeared recently on Amazon Prime… and there is a reason for that I think.

Set in an America following a vampire apocalypse (this is set ten years in) this doesn’t appear to have generated any buzz and that’s probably due to it not realising an apocalypse in any sense, so let’s explore.

the Elders
America is now divided into three zones, the vampires live on the East Coast and, presumably, this is where the outbreak began. The cities are complete, the scenes we see suggest that the vampires have simply usurped humanity and now live as top dogs with humanity as slaves. The vampires themselves are divided into born (so purebloods one would guess) and those who have been turned and have a ruling council of elders. They have machinations and politics and killing another vampire is allegedly a no-no.

Julia Farino as Pres. Robertson
The humans are on the West Coast, they still have a President, Margaret Robertson (Julia Farino), and a fragile truce with the vampires that has made it necessary to have compulsory blood donation to send to the vampires as a condition of the peace (known as the Bloody Sunday agreement). The centre of the country is a no-man’s land where both sides are meant to avoid… of course the humans have a dessert base there – the Haven. The country is quarantined by the rest of the world – what happened to central and south America and Canada is not mentioned at all.

So, the vampires have been doing experiments and are creating a synthetic blood, which means they won’t need the humans any more. The humans have managed to reactivate a nuclear weapon (during the fall, the president at the time had them disarmed to stop the vampires getting them) and have decided to take out the drones (which the UK have flying over America) and nuke the East Coast. Meanwhile the Brits (who have told the public that there are no human survivors in the US) have developed a cure (that you have to inject directly into the heart) and – once they realise the American plan, send in an SAS team to deliver it (by dropping them in no-man’s land and not on the East Coast).

Yvonne the daywalker
The commander of the Haven is Gerry (Simon Phillips, Strippers Vs Werewolves), who lost his wife Marie (Eve Mauro) during the uprising and whose son, Adam (Everett Moss), has grown up in the apocalypse. Adam finds a passed-out girl, Yvonne (Nicola Posener), in no-man’s land and brings her back to the Haven where it turns out that she is a vampire. She claims to want to warn the humans about the synthetic blood and hates her condition, they fall for each other but no one seems remotely interested in the fact that she doesn’t seem to frazzle in the sun (she’s been scientifically manipulated and also doesn’t have vampire eyes). It is also bizarre that it turns out that Marie is her vampire mother (or step-mother, presumably) as it is a coincidence too far really and betrays a soap-opera heart to the storytelling.

in sunlight
So, despite the Haven crew’s raggedy outfits, none of this feels like an apocalypse. The vampire territories and human territories seem like business as usual. The vampires are incredibly overpowered – humans don’t stand a chance (Yvonne saves them from one raid and, despite accepting being imprisoned, could have just broken the door to her cell) – and we see them in daylight with either whole body covering or lashes of sunblock. The SAS frazzle one with a UV light so one wonders why none of the US soldiers seem to have the same.

David B. Meadows as Victor
The acting is ok with some of the cast but with others it feels off – the vampire Machiavelli called Victor (David B. Meadows), for instance, would probably come across better if the thick accent was eschewed. There is no rhyme or reason for the vampire hierarchy (the elders are there by dint of age – and the chief elder is an exercise in lack of exploiting the casting as Bill Oberst Jr. (Black Water Vampire & Dis) is too good of an actor to have been used so little) and thus the elevation of Marie, as a newly turned, seems unrealistic. But it is the underexplored and thoroughly holey backstory that spoils this the most. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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