We’re Alive – A Story Of Survival

What would you do if the dead started to walk? Would you go to military bases and hope their training overrides human nature in the face of the apocalypse? Maybe you’d try a hospital for their medical supplies and pray none of the other patients turned? Perhaps you’d be better off letting the world burn and setting up on your own?

This is the first question dealt with in We’re Alive, a serial drama podcast that starts with the end of the world and keeps going. From riots spreading through a city to the fall of mankind, the first couple of episodes are shown through the eyes of three soldiers looking for shelter. They eventually hole up in an apartment building and meet other characters,setting up a small settlement. Early episodes deal with setting up replinishing food supplies, water and power amidst the ever-present threat of the zombie hoard. As more is learned about the zombies the main characters decide that everyone should keep a journal so that easily-missed information isn’t lost amongst differing perspectives. From then on each episode is told from a different perspective with the journal entries acting as a framing device. As time goes on the survivors meet other groups, some hostile, some friendly, and some driven insane by having to deal with what appears to be anything but the clichéd zombie apocalypse.

These are zombies that are claiming land intelligently, separating their dead from human dead, and have a base of operations. Some have mutated into other forms and have almost video game-style abilities (fast zombies that can keep up with speeding cars, huge tanks that smash through walls) while their apparent leader is able to pass as human sometimes and can even speak. The mystery of where the zombies come from is hinted at over time in such a way that each tiny reveal of information helps the listener piece together a slightly more complete picture, and each encounter adds to that. Even without the zombie mystery driving things, there is plenty of meat to the story with the focus shifting easily to the interpersonal relationships between survivors and the hunt for seemingly trivial things that are essential when civilisation has fallen.

Where We’re Alive really stands out is in the quality of acting. Other podcast dramas, no matter how well written, always seem to half-ass the acting. The best I’ve heard is way over the top as it tries to emulate old radio dramas. We’re Alive keeps things simple and realistic, with the actors concentrating on the story more than a certain style of acting. It’s a realism that suits the stories told and helps ground the high concept drama somewhat, keeping it from flying off into the realms of ridicule. The writers for their part aren’t afraid to kill off anyone, adding to the sense that no-one is truly safe, and new characters are regularly introduced to add to the drama. Due to the setting, even the most clichéd character may have secrets or motivations that aren’t immediately clear, sometimes taking their secrets to the grave and sometimes having them revealed even after death (thanks again to the journal format). Whether your interest in zombies comes from watching The Walking Dead, reading World War Z or playing Resident Evil, there’s plenty you’ll find familiar and alluring about We’re Alive and its strength will quickly turn you into one of its many fans (with only one bite). Even without an interest in zombies there’s plenty to love for anyone interested in a high quality audio-drama that respects its listeners.

So, what are you waiting for? Get over there and start listening before the hoard overruns you.

In The Know

  • We’re Alive started in 2009 and is currently in its third season.
  • Each season consists of twelve chapters, with each chapter consisting of three episodes. The first season finale consisted of four episodes while the second season finale was a single feature-length episode.
  • Each episode is usually around 20MB and there are usually one or two weeks break between episodes and three weeks between chapters, with a much longer break between seasons.
  • You can catch up on previous episodes or subscribe to the podcast at this link.

Let me know what you think about it, wont you?


21 thoughts on “We’re Alive – A Story Of Survival

  1. Nice!The first and second season of The Walking Dead aired on a Danish channel Autumn 2012, but on days when I didn't have time to watch, so I recorded the lot. However, four – five episodes into the story I lost interest. Too American for my liking. Too clichéd. Stereotypes bore me, unless they are 'edged' in some way. The characters of The Walking Dead aren't. I love WWZ, though, also because it is the first and only written zombie story I have experienced, apart from shorts in the horror magazines I read when I was a kid. I'm going to get the audiobook version as soon as possible.Thanks for this tip. I am on it.

  2. Odd, TWD is one of my favourites. It's incredibly well acted and, for me at least, that fills in what scripts and stereotypes are lacking. I will warn you, We're Alive takes some patience as the first couple of chapters may put you off while they find their feet. Every character seems stereotypical as they don't know each other and impressions are based on what's on the surface. By the end of the sixth or seventh chapter you'll have started to see who these people really are and realise that the style presents people as stereotypes then builds on that, but it takes some patience to get there.

  3. I'm sort of impressed when people are hooked by everlasting tv-shows (or radio broadcasts), because I am like mentioned in the above. My wife is the opposite. She streams or podcasts series, and can sit and watch episode after episode after episode. It's fascinating. I can watch a few episodes of something, and I might even get hooked, but I have too much going on in my life that has higher priorities, so after a few days, I have forgotten about that show, and most times I have also forgotten what happened in the episodes I have seen, so it gets complicated, and I can't be bothered. That's also why, in the fiction I write, I make sure to suggest right from the start that the characters presented are levelled, that they have layers that will be exposed as the story evolves. That's the kind of fiction I like myself, so…I'll get back with the musings on We're Alive.

  4. The trick where they take stereotypes and build them up and they turn out to be 'real' personalities over time is fairly common. I guess this makes it easier for the script writers to 'strecth' the story over zillions of episodes. I'm just too impatient for that to work. I can't watch 10 episodes of a show, knowing (or hoping) the characters will become interesting. If a show, a film, a book, a game etc. doesn't catch me at page/episode/scene/level one, I can't be bothered. That's how I am. It's always been like that.I'll be listening to 'It Begins' over the next days. I can tell you my opinion, if you'd like.

  5. Always helps other readers to have another opinion. I've been in this for two and a half years now so I'm hooked.

  6. I've always been one that can devour content in massive amounts. I've been known to start a book and not move until it's finished, usually leaving me with painful hunger and slightly dehydrated, depending on the size of the book. I rarely choose games that are small endeavours, instead letting myself be lost in epic narratives or landscapes that beg to be explored for hundreds of hours.One of the reasons we don't watch television is that DVDs allow us to watch an entire narrative almost back-to-back, so we don't miss the subtle interplay and clues in episodes that are lost amidst the everyday lives of the weekly audiences these days.My writing tends to present blank slates who make themselves known through their actions and I tend to move towards that style in my tastes. They're not so much stereotypes as might-have-beens and could-bes.

  7. Originally posted by Furie:

    I've been known to start a book and not move until it's finished, usually leaving me with painful hunger and slightly dehydrated

    Oh, I do know that feeling. It happens very rarely, though. It's simply because there is too much going on in my life that I find more interesting and important than reading books or watching DVD's. So, the individual story has to be extremely capturing to hold my attention. I'm with you on the games. I'm stuck on Open World Games, but I can't sit for five hours playing, because I simply don't have five hours in a row free for that. There will always be other 'chores' (should have been another word, but I couldn't find any).Music is something entirely different, though. Music has it's spell on me definitely, and I am helpless against its powers. ;)PS: Finished with the first episode af 'We're Alive', and I like it. It's capturing enough for me. Need more to form a substancial opinion, though. I'll get back.

  8. Interesting, TV series started in 2009 but I have never heard of it before. It has a good rating in iMDB (6.7).The Walking Dead is really good show and I can't wait for another season to start :yes:

  9. It's an audio drama, not a television show – like the old radio dramas that predated television but with the acting ability and effects that that are easily accessible in modern times. Wasn't even aware it was on IMDB.I've only seen the first season of The Walking Dead so far and I'm impressed that they're trying to focus on the human element more than the zombies. That's the meat of a show like that while the zombies are the bones.

  10. I'm pretty well into the story now, and I can tell you that this is quite an intriguing story. Actually I can't say more without spoiling the joy for new listeners, and that tells something about this story. I do have this: don't fall too much in love with certain characters…

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