The Walking Dead, Z Nation and iZombie are going to have to make room for another zombie television series. The news has broken that George A. Romero is developing a zombie-themed project for television, and it’s about time the “Godfather of Zombies” himself got in on the undead TV show craze. I’m referring to the announcement of Romero’s 15-issue graphic novel series, Empire of the Dead, is now being developed as a new TV series. The show is being written by Romero and his longtime partner, Peter Grunwald.
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Horror fans who have been into zombie films for years are no doubt quite familiar with George A. Romero. The man practically created the zombies we see in movies, video games and TV shows today, starting with the 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. He later came out with two follow-ups, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, and all three of these films are considered by many to be the greatest zombie movies ever made.
Because I haven’t read the Empire of the Dead comic series, I can’t particularly comment on its quality, so I’m not sure how entertaining it is compared to Romero’s original zombie film trilogy. All I really know about its plot is that it takes place in New York some time after the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse, and there are also vampires roaming around, as well. It’s interesting though, because as this is a graphic novel series about zombies being developed for television, it has a lot in common with ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead. Could this new Empire of the Dead TV series possibly reach that same level of success?
Z Nation offers another story set in a zombie apocalypse, but their viewership numbers don’t even come close to what Robert Kirkman and AMC have been able to procure. So, having zombies on the show alone isn’t enough to automatically make it big. Like The Walking Dead, the team behind Empire of the Dead is going to need to have quality in the writing and excellent character development that makes you really care about the people you’re seeing on the screen.
The inclusion of vampires in Empire of the Dead‘s storyline is peculiar, and something that could go either way. I usually prefer the zombie stories that only feature zombies as the villains, but offering something like another monster to the show could be a good way to differentiate between the two. My main concern is going to lie with the writing, as Romero’s recent zombie films really pale in comparison to his original trilogy.
Romero has also said he’s not a fan of The Walking Dead, criticizing its “soap opera” style. But the way The Walking Dead is written makes it more accessible to a broader audience, hence the higher ratings. Romero’s style seems to be a little more niche, so while he’s probably going to have a lot of horror fans tuning in, he probably won’t even come close to surpassing The Walking Dead.