The end of The Walking Dead and the cultural phenomenon that was The Last of Us has left most of us hungry for more zombies on our television. While we wait for the second season of The Last of Us and the many, many TWD spinoffs, here are some other zombie shows that you might want to consider checking out.
A Netflix original K-Drama, this tightly plotted zombie show is set in historical Korea. Whether you are a fan of historical costume dramas or action-heavy zombies shows, you will find a lot to sink your teeth into with this show. Over two seasons, the writers keep the plot twists coming (including one very cool zombie-related twist at the end of the first season), while also injecting the show with plenty of political intrigue and court drama. The zombies in this show are fast and genuinely scary, and there are plenty of characters to root for and also absolutely despise. There is also a spinoff movie called Kingdom: Ashin of the North.
This French-language series (“Les Revenants”) is by far my favorite show on this list. It is much further away from the horror genre with which most people associate zombie stories, but it makes up for that with its absolutely gorgeous cinematography, a chilling atmosphere, and unyielding empathy for its characters. The series begins with random people coming back to life, not knowing that they were dead nor what happened to them. They now have the struggle in reintegrating into a society, family, and friends who have moved on, and in many ways don’t have a place for them anymore. It’s a beautifully nuanced examination of “returning”, and the sometimes upsetting ways that life moves on after grief. The show has two seasons, and the second season (which tries to build out the actual mythology) is much weaker, but still worth watching. Just avoid the American remake at all costs.
Adapted (very) loosely from the graphic novel of the same name by Rob Thomas (creator of the all-time great Veronic Mars), this series follows Olivia “Liv” Moore who gets turned into a zombie. In this universe, zombies who continually eat brains can prevent themselves from being the “mindless” classic kind of zombie and instead live a relatively normal life (just with really pale skin and hair). Liv gets a job as an assistant to a morgue (where there are plenty of ethically sourced brains), and finds that when she eats a person’s brain she takes on part of their personality and memories. She uses this to, of course, help solve murders. Even if you don’t like crime procedurals I recommend checking this one out for its warm, funny, and bright storytelling, as well as wonderful lead performance by Rose McIver (currently starring on Ghosts), the villainy of David Anders’ Blaine, and the adorkable Ravi (Rahul Kohli). The show is strongest in its first three season (out of five) before it starts to become too big in its worldbuilding, but it is always a breezy and bingeable time.
In the Flesh
This woefully underrated and underwatched BBC series from the early 2010s was sadly cancelled well before it should have been, but zombie show fans still owe it to themselves to check it out. Unlike most shows in this genre, In the Flesh presents a world where the zombie apocalypse has been completely avoid; humans quickly found a cure for the zombie virus and those turned into zombies can now undergo medicative therapies. However, it doesn’t erase the traumatic memories of being a mindless, brain eating zombie, nor the social stigma of being a person with PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome). This show deftly explores feelings of social exclusion and discrimination, while also being an early example of how to tell nuanced queer stories on television.
This show won’t be for everyone (so don’t @ me complaining about the recommendation!), but if you love schlocky B-rated horror movies, this is the show for you. Z-Nation is like The Walking Dead if TWD had no moneys or cares to give. Z-Nation knows exactly what it is, a fun, campy horror romp that is the Sharknado of the zombie movie world. Like many other zombie shows, The Last of Us being the most recent example, the show’s main character is immune to the zombie virus (although he is slowly transforming into some kind of zombie/human hybrid), and the group he is traveling with wants to use him to end the apocalypse. If you like to just turn your brain off and vibe with a show that doesn’t take itself seriously, check out Z-Nation and is prequel, Black Summer.