October 25, 2010
Original zombie programming
Now that every cable channel feels like it has to do original programming, a couple of channels are introducing new shows this week. Two of them are zombie shows, which is a little odd: didn't the Great Zombie Revivification peak 3 or 4 or 8 years ago? I think of the publication of World War Z, Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, and the Halloween Parade of 2008 when about 10,000 people all seemed to be dressed as zombies as the high point of the new zombie revolution.
But it's only now that TV is catching up. AMC is going to premiere its new series, "The Walking Dead", on Halloween night (next Sunday). It sounds like a close relative of Night of the Living Dead or 28 Days Later, in which the main character wakes up in a hospital to find the world has been overrun by zombies. It's based on a comic series that launched in 2003, a good year for zombies. It looks like it should be pretty good, but might take itself too seriously (producer-director Frank Darabont wrote and directed The Shawshank Redemption and, even better, Nightmare on Elm Street III.)
IFC has its own zombie show, too, "Dead Set". This one starts tonight at midnight and runs for just five episodes. It's a British series that first aired in 2008 (again, a better year for TV zombies) and features a bunch of young telegenic people shooting a season of "Big Brother" while the world outside the studio is transformed by the zombie apocalypse.
This one sounds pretty funny: the fans of the show screaming outside the Big Brother house slowly turn into zombies that try to eat their idols' brains. From the Times article about the series: "One of the 'Big Brother' hosts, Davina McCall, plays herself. She does so quite convincingly, as both a sharp-tongued television presenter and a blood-caked angry zombie trying to take a bite out of her producer."
First Shaun of the Dead and now this: Why is it that only the British have succeeded in the zombie spoof genre?
In the non-zombie original programming category is a new series on TCM, "Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood", a 7-part show starting next Monday night about the explosive growth of the American movie industry. It starts in 1903 with nickelodeons and The Great Train Robbery, and ends in 1969 with Easy Rider.
I think this is TCM's first original documentary, and it looks great, even if no one's guts get ripped out of their bellies and devoured by a horde of fast-moving undead.
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