Before The Walking Dead was scaring up record ratings for AMC, the 2009 film Zombieland brought the undead to the forefront of pop culture. The action comedy, which starred Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin as jaded zombie-apocalypse survivors trekking across America, was a surprise hit. Predictably, talk of a sequel soon followed. But Tuesday news broke that the film's writers are instead doing a TV series adaptation of Zombieland, fast-tracked for a fall 2012 debut. Is the quirky zombie comedy suited for television — or will this just be The Walking Dead with a laugh track?
Zombieland will absolutely work on TV: "This could be a zombie show I could actually get behind," says Jesse Carp at Cinema Blend. It would take the best parts of the still-uneven Walking Dead — "the wonderful makeup effects and zombie kills," for example — and then "ditch the melodrama for a dark comedic edge." It's a combination that's brilliantly suited for the small screen, assuming the actors measure up against the film's original stars.
"Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick bringing Zombieland to television?"
Especially considering the film's roots: The most convincing reason why this TV adaptation will work: Zombieland was originally intended to be a TV series, says Josef Adalian at New York. The movie itself even has remnants of the conceits that were intended for a TV series, such as the "Zombie Kill of the Week" plot and the cliff-hanger ending. The Zombieland writers "have been working on story ideas for a show for years now," so there's no reason to think that the series won't be great.
"A TV version of Zombieland is in the works at Fox"
The film should be left alone: Why tarnish a good thing? asks Michael Arbeiter at Hollywood. "The ending to Zombieland was absolutely perfect" — as was the movie as a whole. It was an unexpected hit due largely to the charm of its cast, all of whom are now major movie stars unlikely to slum it for a television rehash. And it's doubtful a new cast would "capture the flair of the old." Besides, would the concept — comedic zombies — feel as surprisingly fresh week after week on TV as it did on the big screen two years ago?
"Jesse Eisenberg flick Zombieland is becoming a TV series"