Watch This, Not That! TV Zombies

Welcome to our new Movie Rewind series, Watch This, Not That! Jared got us started with a primer on which Godzilla movies to watch and which to avoid. I’m going to pick up the mantle with…Zombies.

We don’t seem to ever get enough of zombies (though the whole apocalyptic virus thing is not sitting well right now). The popularity of zombie TV waxes and wanes but there always seems to be some iteration in the pipeline.

I recently watched Sweet Tooth on Netflix and although there are no undead beings, the series doesn’t differ much from standard zombie TV. This apocalyptic virus features human/animal hybrids rather than flesh shedding shufflers, but the main theme remains—the surviving people are always the problem.

I went into the series feeling like it was going to be something very new and different and was ultimately disappointed when it turned out to be more of the usual post-apocalyptic bullies.

So I’m going to chime in with my choice for which TV zombies are worth your 2021 time, and which I would simply avoid.

Watch This!

izombie poster

iZombie (2015-2019)

Main Cast: Rose McIver, Rahul Kohli

This clever little series ran for five seasons on the The CW and is now streaming on Netflix. The premise is much like most zombie shows – get scratched or bitten, turn into a zombie.

But these zombies are able to stave off the worst of their affliction as long as they have a steady supply of brains to eat. Rose McIver plays Olivia Moore, a recently turned zombie working in the medical examiner’s office to be close to the brains she needs.

The catch is that she takes on some of the characteristics of the person whose brain she has most recently consumed. She uses that to help a local police detective solve murders.

There are bad guys in iZombie, and there is definitely a component of people being the worst enemies. But there’s a cartoonish lightness to the entire proceedings that tosses out the apocalyptic scenario and instead offers something quite different.

Not That!

walking dead poster

The Walking Dead (2010-2022)

Main Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus

The Walking Dead is more conventional. We have an apocalyptic virus and shuffling herds of the undead decimating towns and survivors. We have good people and bad people (sometimes they’re the same people). We have gore and earnest conversations.

Listen, I ate this up just as much as everyone else for the first six seasons or so. But it began to wear thin and feel like a punishment I was inflicting on myself. The series is a never-ending cycle of bad beating good and stupid beating smart.

I know The Walking Dead is based on a beloved series of comics, but for me it got tired. Once the pandemic set in, I was done for good. I just don’t need more feel-bad TV.

The Walking Dead will air through the 2022 eleventh season on AMC. Seasons 1-9 are streaming on Netflix and perhaps the entire series will end up there. But I’m done with it and all of its spin-offs (including Fear the Walking Dead and the limited series The Walking Dead: World Beyond). So if you’d rather not steep in evil triumphing over, and over, and over, but still want a little undead fix, watch iZombie, not The Walking Dead.

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