Bleats

The Goriest TV Shows That Have Us Chucking Our Guts Up And Asking For More

Best grab a bucket...

As Rose McIver’s undead sleuth Liv prepares to lick her lips and chow down on another juicy brain in the finale of iZombie, many a stomach will be churned. It’s deliciously macabre, as you would expect from a series about a zombie who eats brains in a mortuary and absorbs their memories so she can discover the truth about the digested corpse’s demise.

But is it the goriest show on television? That’s a big bloody no.

The zombie sub-genre has always been drenched in claret. Just have a gander at Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker’s gory Dead Set where a series of Big Brother comes to a bloody end when the house is attacked by the undead desperate for their moment in the limelight, and a stomach full of human flesh. Or even the comic carnage of Drew Barrymore’s Santa Clarita Diet that deftly mixes belly laughs with splat-stick humour.

It’s The Walking Dead, however, that will stake its claim as one of the most violent zombie shows ever made. For a show filled with in-your-face gore and splattery mayhem, it pushed the limits of good taste when the survivors try to clear a well by hoisting a bloated walker out so they can attempt to clear the water supply. Their cunning plan comes a cropper, however, when the cadaver bursts into two, spraying blood, guts and innards everywhere. Intestines wriggle as melted oozing body fluids pour out of the saturated rotten corpse. Frankly it’s disgusting and no, they didn’t drink the water.

The Evil Dead spin-off Ash Vs Evil Dead also upped the gore stakes. Sam Raimi’s original The Evil Dead was at the forefront of the notorious “video nasty” scandal in the 1980s and was proclaimed by author Stephen King as “the most ferociously original horror film of 1982”.

And it’s easy to see why. Limbs are lopped off, heads decapitated, pencils jammed into ankles and blood sprays everywhere. Many feared that a TV version of the film would show restraint when it came to spraying the camera with body fluids but they needn’t have worried. Ash Vs Evil Dead, starring Bruce Campbell as an ageing Ash still fighting the dead, is uncompromising in its use of fake blood.

Unsurprisingly the television pain-off of Thomas Harris’s cannibalistic Hannibal also proved a tasty treat for horror fans as FBI special investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) played mind games with each other and the audience. The crime scenes in particular were a stomach-churning Grand Guignol treat.

It’s not only the horror genre that revels in death and destruction as anyone who witnessed the rage and wrath of The Mountain in all his head-crushing, eye-ball bursting blood soaked glory will know, Game Of Thrones, can easily hold its severed hand up aloft. After all, the showrunners did decapitate a lead character before the first season was out!

If you’re keen to chuck your guts up, iZombie, Hannibal and Ash Vs Evil Dead are all on Stan. BYO bucket to vom in.

The Best Book-To-TV Adaptations For When You Just Can't Be Bothered Reading

Binge-worthy page-turners.

You may not be so keen on reading a classic novel, but how about watching George Clooney act it out?

Clooney has returned to the small screen in Catch-22, the latest adaptation of Joseph Heller’s novel set during World War II, now screening on Stan. It’s worlds away from his breakthrough ER role.

So why is TV the perfect medium for adapting page-busting novels? The biggest plus: TV isn’t restricted by time like cinema (although that didn’t stop Peter Jackson testing audience’s patience and bladders with his bum-numbingly epic Lord Of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies).

With hours available to slowly unfold a multi-character driven storyline peppered with sub-plots, prestige TV, now laden with bigger budgets and less restrictions, has become the modern day page-turner.

Take Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace, now given the mini-series treatment with an eclectic cast including Paul Dano (Escape At Dannemora), Lily James (Yesterday), Aussie Greta Scacchi and The Young Ones star Adrian Edmondson.

They combine to tell the story of five aristocratic families trying to survive Russia’s war with Napoleon. Only takes 6 hours and 19 minutes in total.

The BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic Pride & Prejudice made the career of Colin Firth, forever linking him to Mr Darcy. And it gave viewers “one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history” when Darcy was seen in a wet shirt.

Given that the lastest version integrated the undead and bloody bonnets into the mix in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the Firth incarnation of Mr Darcy showed all how it should be done.

It’s not just period dramas – just ask anyone who’s seen director Tobe Hooper’s mini-series adaptation of the classic Stephen King tome Salem’s Lot. The image of a young boy awoken by the sound of his now undead brother scraping on his bedroom window is scorched into their retinas.

It’s unnerving and terrifying in equal measure. Back in the late ’70s, TV may have had to pull punches when it came to graphic imagery but it still had the power to send a shiver down the spine.

That is the power of TV. To bring transgressive imagery into the lounge rooms of unsuspecting audiences.

When Richard Chamberlain starred in the 1980 adaptation of Shogun, it included a graphic and bloody beheading, the first ever shown on network television.

And now, as the goriest TV show in history, Game Of Thrones, has ended, the hunt is on for the next literary adaptation.

From Scrubs To M*A*S*H, The Medical Sitcom Helps Us Laugh In The Face Of Death

Yes, binge-watching counts as self-care.

The emergency room is a place that no one wants to find themselves in, yet it has become a gag-filled location for some all-time great comedies. From M*A*S*H to Scrubs and every operating table in between, the irreverent medical dramedy has become a mainstay of the television comedy world.

Scrubs, which you can now binge every episode of on Stan, is a perfect example of why they succeed.

Set in the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital, Scrubs has been praised for its fast-paced slapstick and often surreal forays into the bizarre – mainly due to the over-active imagination of its protagonist, the newly minted Dr. John “J.D.” Dorian, played by Zach Braff.

Scrubs shows how a disparate bunch of trainee doctors and surgeons unwind and keep it light, no matter how tough their average day interning at the hospital is. And the pressures of saving lives means they unwind big time, so the show wrings out the emotions while cranking up the gag rate. The characters laugh in the face of death, and the audience can’t help but join them.

Greatly aided by Braff’s supporting cast including Roseanne star Sarah Chalke as fellow intern Elliot Reid, and Donald Faison (Clueless) as J.D.’s best friend Chris Turk. Ken Jenkins, Scrubs MVP John C. McGinley, and Judy Reyes make up the doctors and nurse who have the tough task of reining in the cocky newbies.

There’s plenty of precedent for the medical comedy, and there have been imitators since. The Good Place star Ted Danson followed Cheers with Becker, a sitcom about a gruff doctor who hated his patients; the recent, ill-fated Dr. Ken starred real-life doctor turned comedian Ken Jeong, who plays a doctor with a questionable bedside manner.

Even House, starring Hugh Laurie threw in a snarky gag or two in between saving lives.

But before all those, M*A*S*H was the show that took the sitcom formula and gave it a political conscience. Set during the Korean War in the 50s, M*A*S*H follows a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Uijeongbu, South Korea.

With a stellar cast led by Alan Alda as wise-cracking pacifist Hawkeye Pierce, the show was dripping with pathos as the medics tried to put on a brave face while they picked up the pieces, quite literally, of man’s brutality against man.

A sitcom but also a stealthy anti-war diatribe, taking its stance from Robert Altman’s film M.A.S.H., the show stood out amongst other TV shows of the time.

Through the upheaval surrounding the Vietnam War, the world – and especially the Americans – needed a laugh, but also needed to be reminded of the horrors of war. Critical of US war policy, Hawkeye, BJ and Trapper stuck it to the man, martinis in hand.

This anti-authoritarian attitude, albeit in a more flippant tone, paved the way for Scrubs’ interns as they… erm, scrubbed up.

And they proved that when we can laugh at ourselves when we are at our most vulnerable, and at the reality of death and grief, it helps the medicine go down a little easier.

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