Out of all mythical supernatural creatures – zombies, werewolves, vampires – zombies are by far my favourite. The idea of the dead coming back to life in a gruesome way seems more realistic than a beautiful creature who drinks blood (or worse, sparkles) or a man that can turn into a wolf at the full moon.
But unlike the vampire trend that was sparked in 2008 by the romantic movie Twilight, the zombie trend has stayed throughout the years and doesn’t seem to show any sign of slowing down.
There are many different ways zombies are represented nowadays – You have shuffling and ambling attackers like in The Walking Dead, you have runners like in the iconic zombie 28 Days Later, and you have superhuman sickly monstrosities like in World War Z. They are called by many names, but no matter the Walker, the Mindless, or the Deadites the ending is always the same – the dead are back and they want to eat you in the most violent way possible.
If you’re like me and love a good zombie flick, here is a list of some of my favourite TV shows that takes the zombie genre and gives it some brains.
The Walking Dead
You can’t really talk about popular zombie shows and movies without at least mentioning AMC’s The Walking Dead. The revolutionary TV show debuted in 2010 and has surpassed an expansive amount of fans in the eight year running time. Darker, grittier, violent and well-known for unleashing war and devastating character deaths, no one is really safe in the 2010 TV show.
The show follows the journey of Sheriff Rick Grimes played by Andrew Lincoln, who wakes up in a hospital abandoned during the zombie apocalypse (nicknamed “Walkers” in the show). Rick goes in search of his family and meets a whole host of different characters along the way, spreading the journey through downtown Atlanta, to the CDC and Washington DC, in a safe haven of a prison and more recently the quaint town of Alexandria, who are terrorised by a barb-wire covered bat wielding maniac by the name of Negan (played by Supernatural alumni Jeffrey Dean Morgan). While the storylines started out as epic and started to wane a little after the plague in the prison, The Walking Dead has always remained true to its focus character arcs and in creating drama that unfolds in spectacular ways in front of the viewers eyes.
The characters and their development have always been the founding father of The Walking Dead. There’s the tough leader Rick, the determined and sensible Maggie (Lauren Cohen) , the cool and collected Glenn (Steven Yuen), the redneck with the heart of gold Daryl (Norman Reedus), the machete wielding bad ass Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the simply put badass Carol (Melissa McBride). All characters are well-loved and expendable, making the fates determine the giant viewership. If you need iconic zombies, The Walking Dead is a must see.
Fear The Walking Dead
Capitalising on the success of The Walking Dead came Fear The Walking Dead in 2015. The AMC spin off is set in Los Angeles as opposed to Georgia and showcases the rapid decline of the world as the Walkers take over. Supposedly the events of Fear The Walking Dead occur during the brief two week period where Sheriff Rick Grimes was lying unconscious in a bed in hospital, where he wakes up to find the world overrun. Fear the Walking Dead is the overrunning.
Starring Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane and The 100’s Alycia Debnam-Carey, Fear the Walking Dead focuses on an estranged family made up of Madison and her new husband Travis, her children Nick and Alicia, and Travis’ son Chris. The family make their way through the crumbling Los Angeles with a few others in the group but their terror doesn’t stop at the undead. Nick is a raging heroin addict (with the only sense of the group) who is suffering from withdrawals, Chris is being an angsty teenager, Travis and Maddison are butting heads over what to do with their family, and Alicia is just trying to help others after the death of her boyfriend to the Walkers. In the same vein as The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead makes the drama of personality and characters at the forefront of the show and while the characters are less-likable than steadfast Carol and Daryl, they do a good job at keeping with The Walking Dead’s theme.
No where near as good as the original, the spin off is definitely worth a look if you want to fill in the blanks.
Ash Vs The Evil Dead
The 1981 movie The Evil Dead was iconic. The Sam Raimi (Spiderman, The Wizard of Oz) directed and Bruce Campbell starring movie cemented itself as a cult favourite amongst 80’s horror fans, setting in motion a stellar and rather off-beat career for both actor and director. The cult following moved The Evil Dead into many sequels and spin offs, including Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, the camp My Name Is Bruce, and the 2013 reboot of the same name. Leveraging off this success then came the 2015 TV show that follows the adventures of the chainsaw-wearing and shotgun-waving Ash, played as usual by the aged Bruce Campbell, who steps into his caricature of lazy, responsibility-avoiding Lothario that has defined his personality since 1981. Ash, in all his haphazard glory, gets high and raises the white-eyed Deadites that so violently attack every around him, forcing himself and a few others on a journey to rectify his mistake.
The TV show is excellent, and with three seasons ready to go on Stan there is plenty of watching time to keep you amused. Bruce Campbell is back on his swagger and the show is as camp and nostalgic for 1981 as ever. It’s funny, it’s violent, and it’s probably one of the more light-hearted zombie shows I am going to tell you to watch!
Santa Clarita Diet
Santa Clarita Diet is another fairly new zombie comedy show that debuted on Netflix in 2017, starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olymphant. The two play a boring married real estate duo who raise their trouble-maker daughter in the sunny town of Santa Clarita, California. Unfortunately, Drew Barrymore’s character Sheila dies in a spectacular vomiting style and ends up with a taste for human flesh. As the family try to navigate their newfound diet that comes with a whole host of dilemmas and dramas, the try to conceal Sheila’s worsening condition from the outside world, with hilarious results.
Santa Clarita Diet is light-hearted and fun, while dripping with the macabre undertones suitable for concealing zombies in your neighbourhood. Credited as Drew Barrymore’s return to grace, the show’s second season is due for release March 23rd and is definitely worth a binge-watching session if you’re in the mood for something not as dark.
Did you like this list? Stay tuned for my definitive list of the best zombies movies ever!