There have been a ton of naysayers on the idea of a Zombieland TV series but I have to be honest I think a Zombieland Television series ( which is what was intended before it became a movie ) would work much better then a sequel to Zombieland 2.
Lets be candid the odds of the sequel to Zombieland being half as good as the original even if they bring back the original cast is pretty unlikely.
Zombieland had magic because it was new, witty and offered a premise to the zombie genre that mainstream Hollywood had never done. Indie filmmakers have been doing tongue in cheek zombie movies for years, Hide and Creep, Stink of Flesh and AAAH Zombies all being great examples of that.
Now that mainstream film fans know what to expect shocking them with another round of witty rules just wont work. That said if you tone it back and take it to the small screen and do a 30 minute TV show you could end up with a smash hit if it’s handled correctly. With AMAZON currently negotiating with SONY for the rights to do a Zombie TV series on their new video on demand service I have 5 principal ideas that I think will make the Zombieland TV series a success. In no order here are my ideas;
Do not Copy The Walking Dead
The Zombieland TV series will only work if its something new and copying the formula of AMC’s The Walking Dead might sound cool but in the end it will fail. It has to be unique and certainly staying with the comedy angle will help.
I dont mind if they want to copy the visual style and great effects but other than that in order for Amazon / Sony’s Zombieland TV series to succeed it must be nothing like The Walking Dead. Fans should never watch the Zombieland series thinking ‘ hey this reminds me of The Walking Dead’ or the next thing we will be saying is ‘and its not nearly as good’.
An Original Cast
As much as I would love to see Emma Stone, Woody Harrellson and Jesse Eisenberg take part in a Zombieland TV series we all know that will never happen. They are not about to lower their Hollywood stature by doing a tv show for a brand new streaming service even if it is Amazon. For that reason they need to recast and that is good on many levels. We need no comparison or connection between the characters from the TV series and the show.
My ideal casting would be Jason Mewes from FEAST ( and just about every Kevin Smith movie ) and Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock. The two are absolutely hilarious, they can play a believable average joe and they are talented actors who wont have their roles overshadowed by a big name or ego. Dont get me wrong I love both these guys but they are not A-listers and that is key to pulling us into their characters, similar to the casting that was done on The Walking Dead.
Set it in the Epicenter of the Outbreak
In the Zombieland movie we saw a lot of different aspects of the outbreak but we did not see the origins and what better angle then to have the Amazon series take us to Patient Zero or at the very least the epicenter of the outbreak.
Jason Mewes and Judah Friedlander as under accomplished characters from different walks of life, Jason the stoner, Friedlander the nerd team up out of necessity to survive and the quirky people they can meet along the way. The potential for hilarity watching these two survive a zombie outbreak and the opportunity for outstanding cameos is limitless. Can anyone say Tina Fey / George Romero cameo?
In the movie we had a sweet Bill Murray cameo but in the TV series I will see your Bill Murray and raise you with a Quentin Tarantino cameo!
Keep the Buddy Movie Formula
Zombieland worked because of the buddy movie formula to it and if they keep this angle, throw in a complicated love angle it can be fun, quirky and entertaining. A love triangle in a zombie apocalypse all bundled up in a buddy film about surviving the apocalypse could be perfect.
You can even borrow from hit shows like FRIENDS by introducing ‘neighbors’ who have very unique needs and outlooks in a world over run by zombies.
Rather then borrowing some sugar they are more likely to borrow a 4 Iron and ask for a helping hand in clearing out an outbreak in their living room. Speaking of buddy formula have you seen Dead Heat? If not you really should!
Have Ricky Gervais and Greg Daniels Write / Produce
I am a huge fan of Ricky Gervais and Greg Daniels and think their style of comedy is very fitting for a TV series around the Zombieland world.
I would love to see them write and produce and help build the world around the movie. We already know from earlier reports from Deadline that Eli Craig will direct the series which is a great start. For those who are not aware he directed one of the best horror comedis of the last decade, Dale & Tucker Vs Evil.
So there you have it. My 5 ways to make the Zombieland TV series succeed. If this series does go ahead at Amazon what would you like to see them do?
I will admit that considering how long they have been trying to turn this into a series I am not going to hold my breath that this makes it to fruition but I sure hope that Amazon and Sony can bring us a long living and wickedly entertaining new adult series!