Zombieland Returns From the Dead



I've always felt that movies are the better medium for story, while television is the better medium for characters. That is, of course, mostly untrue, and movies without characters are unintelligible, television without story is dull, and either without either are directed by Michael Bay. A better analogy might be films are short stories, television are novels. I'm always interested in how writers and creators approach the various mediums, is my point.

For instance, Guillermo Del Toro originally wrote the Strain as a TV series, only to be turned away by the major networks and cable stations. So, he adapted the script into a novel with writer Chuck Hogan into a dark, twisted, gory trilogy of novels. Novels that were successful enough that FX ordered a pilot.

The same sort of reality faced the film Zombieland, which was originally written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick as a TV series. They too were turned down by the major networks, so they adapted their pilot script, and several season one ideas into the movie, which was the last zombie movie I saw that I fully enjoyed. And it showed (the origins, not my enjoyment). Several of the core concepts to the film (the rules, the slow reveal of character motivation, the Incredible Hulk-style hoboness of the characters) would have worked well in episodic format. The film was a hit, and well liked, and talk of a sequel abound after the release, as it does with every film nowadays. Then nothing.

Until now. According to i09, Amazon has purchased the series, and will distribute it digitally, as part of their attempt to take on Netflicks (who is too busy trying to take on HBO to notice). They also acquired some casting notes being used to cast the series, picking up where the film left off. They are as follows:
Tallahassee is still kind of a snarky weirdo, but he seems to have a much less spiky relationship with Columbus. He and Columbus have a pretty amusing thing where they riff on the fact that Steven Seagal movies always have three-word titles like "Marked for Justice" or "May Cause Diarrhea." But Tallahassee also dispenses homespun wisdom about how to feel happy with your life. He also tells a weird story about being in a trailer park with a perpetually nude Matthew McConaughey. He also has a somewhat heartwarming scene where he tells Columbus that he's been wandering aimlessly for a long time, but maybe he's been put here for a reason — to help Columbus and the others.
Columbus is much the same, except that he tracks down his grandma and grandpa (Bubbie and Peepaw) only to find them recently zombiefied. Also, Columbus is trying to deal with his newfound relationship with Wichita, after their first kiss. He has started calling her "Krista," her real name — but there are some problems, especially after she finds him reading a book about fatherhood. He tries to organize a romantic scavenger hunt for her in the IKEA they're camping out in, but it goes kind of horribly.
Wichita is still trying to look after Little Rock, trying to teach her math with problems about someone stealing from a liquor store and jumping on a train going 42 miles per hour, with a cop chasing in a car going 88 miles per hour. We also learn a lot more about Wichita's backstory, including how she ran away from her father after he had her stealing people's Christmas presents — and later, she found out she had a sister who was also being a grifter with her dad.

Little Rock seems actually kind of excited about meeting Columbus' grandparents, before they turn out to be zombies. And she shares some of her own backstory, about how her dad parked her at a school while he went off grifting on his own — and then yanked her out of school right before a dance that she was looking forward to.

Fred and Ainsley are two office workers at the start of the zombie apocalypse, obliviously complaining about problems with their iPhones and getting the wrong order at Starbucks, which they admit are "first world problems" with a hashtag — while people are being disembowled just outside the window they're not facing. Tallahassee shows up to bring them their lunch orders, wearing a green polo shirt.
Aside from the addition of the two new characters, seems like the vision for the show hasn't changed much. Except I know I would be hesitant (and so might a lot of viewers) to watch the show without the original cast. And by original cast, I mean Woody Harrelson. Forget the rest, but could anyone really fill Tallahassee's Twinkie loving shoes? Or, could Harrelson be coaxed back to TV(ish) for the first time since Cheers ended? Or is a show like this too much of a gamble, with Walking Dead getting so much press for being creatively unstable, and the whole zombie thing growing ever closer to collapsing in on itself (please)?

Via i09. Twice.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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