As a network known for the likes of Meerkat Manor, and that also features a show called My Cat From Hell, Animal Planet isn’t the most likely candidate to jump into the zombie craze. And yet, the network is headed for scripted fiction with The Other Dead, an adaptation of IDW Publishing’s comic series of the same name. I guess I can cross that item off of the alternate bucket list I made after spending an hour on a merry-go-round.
Created by Joshua Ortega and Digger Mesch—with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman also having a role—The Other Dead is about zombie animals, lest you thought Animal Planet was giving a big middle paw to its audience. The story is set just as an enormous hurricane is about to hit New Orleans and the rest of South Louisiana, one even bigger than Hurricane Katrina. At the same time, the a warning about a deadly plague that’s turning all of the nation’s animals into undead monsters. Admittedly, this limited series went completely below my radar when it was first published in September 2013.
The main characters include Tommy Romero, a 10-year-old cancer survivor who is going through an existential crisis with his faith and place on Earth; Tommy’s brother Azrael, who is in a death metal band called Decapitated; Azrael’s girlfriend, Justina Abelinda Cortez, a Puerto Rican witch who also does some exotic dancing; and Chet Wayne, an ex-Army Ranger who has spent a long time preparing for this very sort of event, in a most racist manner. But there’s one character you’d never expect.
That’s right, the President of the United States, Barack “Thanks” Obama, is one of the main characters in The Other Dead, which should make this adaptation all the more unique for a network that makes a great deal of bank from Pit Bulls and Parolees. Obama has to deal with both the zombie outbreak and the hurricane, and probably all the other shit going wrong in the U.S. But it’s not like this series can go on forever. I wouldn’t mind going through years of zombie deer tearing shit up though.
It isn’t clear what roles Ortega or Mesch will be playing in the upcoming adaptation, but Animal Planet is currently planning to put The Other Dead on the air in 2016, which just might mean they’re pouring their resources into it. Maybe the network will have some high-octane animal hospital drama coming up in the future.