Tuesday, 16 October 2012

'We're Alive' Zombie Podcast Review

Calling all zombies, our Pod-Master General is back this week with his thoughts on Wayland Productions zombie-tastic Podcast 'We're Alive'

Halloween is sneaking its wicked way towards us and, as it peeks its bleary and bloodshot eyes over last years headstones we thought, here in the basement of Evil-Eye towers, that it was time we showed you all some serious entertainment of the ghastly kind. By giving you a special dedicated to this particular podcast, that is exactly what we intend to do. 

I, myself, have a lot of love to give Wayland Productions. Cross that out. Start again. I have a LOT of love to give Wayland Productions. The entire Product that they deliver, from the well crafted Podcast to the beautifully set up Webpage, is handled with verve, humour and the utmost of professionalism. The whole thing is an absolute gem. Still, let’s not get over-excited. Everybody has their faults, don’t they? Yes, even at Wayland Productions they do. I mean, sometimes it takes them a whole two weeks to bring us as Podcast of such quality. Which means I have to wait that long with baited breath for the next episode. The swines.

So. Let us take this piece by piece. The writing on their podcast is top quality story telling containing, as it does, character arcs, chapter arcs, series arcs and, above all, the complete story arc. All of these threads are woven seamlessly into, through and even beyond each other. We often find stories that we thought were over, characters that we thought were dead, situations we had considered solved re-appearing. You know, just like in real life. It is this that I find enthrals me so much, keeps me in a state of suspended disbelief and something that a lot of television shows, films and even quite a few novels would do well to learn from.

The special effect and the score are both handled with equal aplomb. From the chaos and explosive resonations that come from being in the centre of an all out fire-fight all the way down to the creepy mood music of walking the halls of an ‘Empty’ apartment block. Everything fits. Everything is right. I can now, by ear, tell the difference between certain types of guns. I do not believe that that its something I could have picked up ANY where else.

The extremely fine actors are, from day one, firmly and wonderfully entrenched in their characters. One of the problems, in the past, with anything to do with purely audio entertainment is that the characters tended to get lost in the mix and started to blend into each other after a certain amount of time. Not here though. In ‘We’re Alive’ each and every character stands out like a fire in the darkness. I hear a split second of their speech and I know who they are and in what situation the story last left them. This is partially to do with the, as has been noted, excellent writing but has far, far more to do with the sheer vocal abilities of the actors involved.

On set with the 'We're Alive' cast

The Webpage itself is also a whole step above average. The homepage is set out to look like a lined paper exercise scrap-book. The same lined paper exercise scrap-book that each of the initial survivors are given near the beginning of series one in which to keep notes about their lives and about the enemy. It is just as blood spattered and worn as you would expect after all of this time (’We’re Alive’ has just celebrated its hundredth episode) and from here you have access to the release schedules, News, The story so far (Which I do not recommend reading unless you enjoy all of the spoilers that they have to give) and the usual ever present Forum. 

The level of detail that they have gone into is astounding. There is the Gallery with its cover art, production photos and even off-set photos. There are Promo photos of some of the characters, Fan art and even a shop where you can buy stickers, t-shirts and more. This is not just a Podcast - this is a complete, living, breathing lifestyle.

The 'We're Alive' Team

Did I say living and breathing? Yes, I did. The folk at Wayland Productions even take their show on the road for a few lucky folk out there. If that is not enough of a surprise there is even a companion podcast called ‘We’re Not Dead’ where the cast and crew are interviewed and questions from both the forum and from e-mails can be asked directly to the makers or even to just the public in general.

Sorry? What? You don’t even know what the Podcast is about yet? Okay. Lock and load. You’re gonna need it.

Wayland Productions: We’re Alive Synopsis
For Army Reserve Soldier Michael Cross, the world as he knew it ended in an instant. One minute he’s in college, and in the next, rioters are roaming the highway around him, breaking into cars, and literally tearing people apart. This is the day the dead walk. This is the world of We’re Alive.

We’re Alive: Features chapters packing performances and sound effects that rival movies and prove that modern audio drama is undead and well. Join our survivors as they band together, struggle to fortify a safe haven known as the Tower, and discover that zombies are far from the worst thing in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles where the rules of human decency no longer apply.

Little food. Little water. Little hope. Who is lucky enough to say “We’re Alive?”  

We’re Alive Review
Zombies, zombies, zombies. Whether you love them, loathe them or just enjoy unloading a twelve gauge into their giggly jiggly faces you have to admit that they are just not going to go away. Not only are they not going away, they are evolving, at least if  ‘We’re Alive’ has anything to say about it. More akin to the creatures found in ‘World-war Z’ and to ‘The Resident Evil’ games and films, these zombies are faster than humans, violent in the extreme (at the beginning), and, in perhaps the greatest change yet, able to plan and execute traps. That’s right. The current thinking in the show is that smart people become smart zombies. Whether this is an actual fact or not is a different matter. We only have the survivors notebooks and stories to go on, after all, but since we are there personally when they execute one of their plans, and we see and hear the carnage it causes, we know for certain that SOME of them not only plan - they plan well.

Worried yet? Looking to your window in the hope that you WON’T see a face peering in at you? No? Well, that is not all. They evolve. Some become behemoths, some become small scuttlers. Or so we are led to believe. You see…and here I place a spoiler alert of my own. Some of the later ones are discovered to have numbers tattooed onto their skin. The tattoo is always in the same place and it is always on the toughest, fastest, smartest and most virulent of the zombies. It looks for all the world like some-one is building an army of the infected.

Seriously…if you have not started listening to podcasts yet then here is THE place to start. If you are a fan of horror. If you are a fan of zombies. (Especially those fans of  ‘The Walking Dead’) If you are a fan of ANY well written story of any kind. Then get this podcast.

If you want to know exactly how confusing and worrying it is to have guns of all calibres going off in the middle of a fire-fight, if you want to feel the burn of worry as you wonder whether to hide or run, if you want to see pictures of zombies that are far better than anyone could ever re-produce for you (The pictures in YOUR mind) Then get this podcast.

If you want to give yourself THE most perfect present for the up and coming Halloween THEN. GET. THIS. PODCAST.  Rating 5/5


iTunes Download

Review by Peter G Staff (Pod-Master General)


  1. Great Review. I love the show.. Keep up the excellent work KC!

  2. Thanks Jimmy for your comments ;-)