Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zombieland: The Series - "Pilot"

When Zombieland the movie came out in 2009 it was hyped up beyond belief, and when I rushed out to see it opening day I was disappointed in the extreme. The Bill Murray cameo aside, I found it to be an unfunny zombie craze cash in that tread on the ground that Shaun of the Dead had previously. Everyone else seemed to praise the everloving shit out of it, but I’m still not in that camp. Not to say that I wouldn’t be interested in revisiting it sometime down the line, or give the Amazon Prime online series a shot.

Zombieland: The Series picks up not long after the movie ended. Tallahassee (Kirk Ward), Columbus (Tyler Ross), Wichita (Maiara Walsh) and Little Rock (Izabela Vidovic) are wandering the wasteland of L.A. looking for survivors and a new place to call home. When they are told by Detroit (Kendra Fountain), an OnStar employee and (voice only) guardian angel of the group, that the Eastern seaboard is free of infection they begin their long journey to safety.
I’ll not mince words… this pilot is absolute shit.

All of the actors, who are replacing the feature’s players (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin), are horrible and grating on the nerves. Kirk Ward as Tallahassee is the worst of the bunch. He can’t seem to tone his performance down from 11 and acts like he’s on a perpetual crystal meth high. Tyler Ross is decent, but he’s trying way too hard to channel Jesse Eisenberg’s nervous charm and comes off as more of a creeper than a real character. Not much time is devoted to Maiara Walsh or Izabela Vidovic, but they don’t fare much better. I couldn’t stand any of them. The casting is terrible with only the voice of Kendra Fountain as Detroit being tolerable.
Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who also wrote the feature this tripe is based on, seemed to forget how to make characters likable. They made Tallahassee a man child who can’t stop saying “vagina” in differing ways, Columbus is now a stalker obsessed with the eternally bitchy Wichita and Little Rock now boils down to a child who likes to say “fuck” a lot. For some reason they keep throwing Columbus’ “Rules for Surviving Zombieland” (yes, the characters call the world Zombieland) around as if it were scripture along with Columbus’ constantly annoying narration which breaks the fourth wall way too often. The ongoing joke of the group being cursed is run into to ground (every time they find a survivor they are quickly taken out by a random zombie attack or environmental hazard), jokes are recycled from the movie too often (“Zombie Kill of the Week”) and all the attempts at humor fall right on their face. Everything feels phony and forced, and ultimately this is what ruins the show completely.

The special effects are look like they are out of a Nintendo 64 game (too much CGI blood), the make-up FX are lame and everything from the sets to the costumes look cheap. In fact, the whole production has a rushed feeling to it, and reminds me of the crappy TV shows that you would find on television at midnight circa 1999 like Cleopatra 2525 and Relic Hunter.
I only laughed once, and it was at the opening scene where a couple of snarky office workers complain about their first world problems while the apocalypse begins outside the large windows right behind them.

If this pilot is supposed to whet my appetite for more episodes to come I’d have to say that it did the exact opposite. I could now care less about this series and the feature it’s based on. This is one of the worst excuses for a cash grab I’ve ever seen. The Walking Dead is raking in millions of viewers every week and this sorry excuse of a series is hoping to piggyback some of that success now that zombies are a hot television commodity. Don’t give Zombieland: The Series one single moment of your time. If you liked the concept of Mob Doctor this show is for you. Everyone else stay as far away as you can.

0.5 out of 5

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