I’m not at all apologetic about being a huge fan of Reality TV: Survivor, The Amazing Race, Project Runway, Hoarders – I love all that crap. I get a lot of grief for my taste in TV programming, but I could really give a shit what anyone else thinks. If you don’t like it, no one is holding a gun to your head making you watch Flipping Out with me.
I’ll defend my allegiance to Bravo TV to the end, but even I draw the line at CBS’s summertime ratings–ringer, Big Brother, which is just as loathsome as TV can possibly get. Aside from the Real Housewives franchise and possibly American Idol, Big Brother, for me, represents the absolute nadir of an already much-maligned entertainment genre. With that in mind, all you Reality TV Haters out there – especially those who hold Big Brother in as low regard as I do – may want to set your DVRs to record IFC’s five-part series Dead Set (premiering tonight, 10/25). Dead Set, created by British journalist Charlie Brooker, is a black comedy-horror-satire in which a ravenous mob of zombies is unleashed on the Big Brother UK house — seemingly the only stronghold left in the country, and possibly the world — on an eviction night that goes horribly and hilariously wrong.
Shot at the real BBUK house with cameos by actual BBUK houseguests, Brooker imposes actual life-and-death on the show’s “stars,” for once warranting all the hyperbolic talk of eliminations, chopping blocks and backstabbing. The contestants get their share of skewering (“Does this mean we’re not on telly anymore?”) as they survey the post-apocalyptic landscape. And yet even in the midst of Doomsday, reality TV dutifully and tragically marches on: the broadcast continues, the contestants strategize who lives and dies, and an insatiable, bloodthirsty mob pounds on the door for more flesh. Sounds like a good time to me!
Dead Set airs tonight, 10/25 through Friday 10/29 at Midnight on IFC. A marathon of all the episodes will air Sunday 10/31 – hey, that’s Halloween! – starting at 7:30 PM.