Like many people, “We’re Alive” was one of the first audio dramas that I listened to when I delved into the new (to me) world of television for the ears. Early on in my listening experience, I was hooked by the depth and execution of the foley work, the realism of the characters’ choices, and how Kc Wayland managed to bring a new and believable villain to the world of zombies. “We’re Alive,” in a lot of ways, is better than shows like “The Walking Dead,” a powerhouse of the zombie genre.
Stylistically, “We’re Alive” is a new take on the narrative for a zombie show, with the story being written through a series of journals by the characters involved. This mechanism freed Wayland up to tell more of the individual stories which occurred apart from the main group, while at the same time giving the characters in the story a way to find out what happened to others in their times apart (I’m looking at you Old Man Carl theorists… like me). Listening to the story, I appreciated being able to alternatingly follow characters and listen to them telling their own stories, which better reflects the reality of how a similar story would take place in reality.
For fans of foley work, “We’re Alive” sets the bar high, with careful execution of everything from zombie sounds to battle noises to control of the ambience being uniformly well executed throughout the series. Having listened now to many more audio dramas, particularly horror stories, it’s interesting to look back and see how many of them have come to reflect what is found in “We’re Alive” in the time since.
The story itself (no spoilers here!) is absolutely enormous and sprawling, but always feels well contained. Story loops that are left open are drawn back in at appropriate times, and it didn’t generally feel like there were a ton of unintentionally unexplored parts of the plot. When the original series ended, I wasn’t left with the feeling that Wayland had left open story loops or openings that by rights should have been closed, and there wasn’t a great rush of loop closing right at the end of the series. That being said, when the series is finished, there is clearly room for a sequel series (wait for the end of the last season; and it’s not just “more stuff happened later” either), and the parallel short series “We’re Alive: Lockdown” clearly demonstrates that Wayland has many more plans to expand the world. Thank goodness, and hurry up.
For anyone who is interested in zombies, people, how people interact with zombies, genetics, strange ancient protection symbols, or the finer points of post-apocalyptic governments, “We’re Alive” is the show for you. It’s also going to be several weeks of your life staying up late to get “just one more episode in,” so fair warning! Check it out!