Zombies never get old. That’s partly because they’re undead and, as far as we know, you don’t get wrinkles when your flesh is already rotten. But it’s also thanks to the fact that these dead-but-still-hungry cannibals can be interpreted in a bunch of different ways. They can be a genuinely scary means of satire à la 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, or a comically slow vehicle for satire as in 2004’s Shaun of the Dead. Get you a corpse that can do both.
And they’re just as entertaining on the small screen, too. HBO’s new big budget show The Last of Us is evidence enough. An adaptation of the best-selling video game, the show imagines civilisation 20 years into a pandemic that has turned most people into zombies. Spoiler: it’s a pretty miserable existence. There’s a glimmer of hope, though, in the form of Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a young girl who appears to be immune to the infection, and Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler who’s enlisted to get her across the US safely. Costing an estimated $50 million to make, the series is as slick as telly gets: gripping, gory and surprisingly moving.
But it’s bad news for bingers: the show is being released week-by-week on Amazon Prime. Can’t wait for your next hit of apocalyptic chaos? Plug the gap with one of these zombie-themed TV shows instead.
The Walking Dead
Dominating screens for over a decade, no list of zombie TV shows would be complete without The Walking Dead. Similar to the Danny Boyle film 28 Days Later, it all starts when a man wakes up from a coma to discover that the world has been taken over by zombies AKA “walkers”. In this instance, said man is Rick Grimes, who as a sheriff’s deputy luckily has a few skills that help him become the leader of a group of survivors. After its final episode aired last November, you’ve got 11 whole seasons of this zombie epic to satisfy your twisted appetite, so get moving.
Available to stream on Disney+
Fancy another one? Leave it to Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker to unleash the undead on Big Brother contestants – kind of. In this Channel 4 mini-series, the Big Brother house actually turns out to be the safest place to hide from the newly zombified British public. Even Davina’s turned, but until a showrunner seeks refuge in the diary room, the housemates are blissfully unaware that the apocalypse has arrived in the UK. Those screams they hear coming from outside? They’re just adoring fans, obvs.
Available to stream on Netflix
All of Us Are Dead
If you want your zombies to come with the high-end, high-gore sheen of Squid Game, this South Korean horror show is for you. This time, patient zero is a teenage student and, pretty soon, their entire school is teeming with the undead. Shit luck for the kids who manage to avoid getting bitten, as they’re now stranded among hundreds of incredibly agile, flesh-eating classmates, with no access to food and water. Oh, and since they’re stuck in the centre of the pandemic, the government has literally no interest in saving them. If there were any day to have pulled a sickie…
Available to stream on Netflix.
We’re used to seeing zombies tear through the fabric of modern society, clamouring up tower blocks and roaming motorways. Another South Korean show, Kingdom switches things up a bit, instead imagining what might have happened if zombies had taken over 16th century Korea. In short: deceit and a lot of bloody selfishness. The king has been infected, you see, but those close to him are keeping him hidden, while manipulating the situation to their own political advantage. Meanwhile, as the plague sweeps across the country and infects the country’s poorest, those tasked with finding a solution refuse to listen to experts’ advice. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Available to stream on Netflix
The Returned (Les Revenants)
What would you do if a deceased loved one appeared at your door one day? That’s exactly the dilemma the residents of a small French town are faced with in The Returned. But these aren’t your run-of-the-mill, can-definitely-tell-they’re-dead zombies. They look exactly how they did when they were alive, making the whole thing that bit more eerie. Creepier still, weird scars start appearing on everyone’s body and the power keeps cutting off. Never a good sign, if you ask us.
Available to stream on Amazon Prime