Last week, Amazon Studios released 14 TV pilots (eight comedies, six children’s shows) for viewers to watch for free on their website. The online retailer also gives viewers the ability to rate and vote for their favorites to see which shows will get picked up for production. One of the more popular selections was the TV adaptation of Zombieland, which was written and produced by the movie version’s screenwriters, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
Originally, Zombieland was supposed to be a TV series, but it was re-purposed as a full-length feature film for director Ruben Fleischer. While the critical and audience response to the TV version is mixed, it still has potential and could be fun to explore more of the world of Zombieland. The creators also tell MTV Geek that Amazon Studios has been a very good partner in bringing Zombieland to the small screen.
They say Amazon has been a good partner here, not restricting the original vision for the series or asking them to scale back the splatstick humor. At the same time, they say they don’t feel Zombieland is especially gory and that they’ve been deliberate in the way the zombie kills play out as comic instead of horrific beats. That extends to the show’s zombie rules which don’t follow the traditional zombie movie logic — we’ll see smarter and dumber zombies and most will simply die the way humans do. They’re infected, but the show won’t focus on the origins of the plague.
Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick say they didn’t want the show’s actors to take their inspiration from their movie counterparts. This is why their physical characteristics are so different between the two versions. They want audiences to view the Zombieland TV series as a continuation of the movie’s central story, and would prefer audiences to watch the movie as a pilot episode for the TV series, sort of like a prequel.
‘Think of the movie as the pilot episode,’ they say, or better still as the first two episodes of the series with the Amazon pilot acting as the third episode of the story of this dysfunctional family unit. In it, Tallahassee is the surrogate father to a cynical (yet impressionable) Little Rock along with the romantic undercurrents between Columbus and Wichita.
If Amazon takes Zombieland to series, the show will feature the dysfunctional family unit moving east from California. They will make stops in Las Vegas on their way to Detroit, and they’ll get to see the undead of the United States on a zombie road trip. They will also have a number of celebrity encounters in the vein of Bill Murray’s classic appearance in the Zombieland movie.
You can watch the Zombieland pilot episode for FREE at Amazon.com.