Zombieland TV Series Pilot – A QRE Review

Amazon ZombielandThis week, Amazon posted several TV series pilots on Amazon Instant Video. While the shows likely won’t be free, the pilots are. They’ve said their plan is to gauge viewer reactions to help them determine which shows get signed for more episodes.

Zombieland is one of these pilots.

Before I give my review of the pilot, let me just say that I’m a fan of the original Zombieland movie. I know many hardcore zombie-movie lovers don’t like it, but as far as I’m concerned, it delivered every promise it made in the trailers. I didn’t go into that movie expecting Night of the Living Dead. I expected Zombieland to be a fun, goofy ride, which is exactly what it was.

When I heard that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (the screenwriters of the original Zombieland movie) wrote the pilot for this TV series, I had a small measure of hope that the over-the-top tone might be maintained.

Then I saw the pictures of the new cast and thought, Uh oh.

Yeah, I wasn’t impressed. I knew it wouldn’t have the same cast, but actually seeing those other people standing there just felt… wrong.

Okay, I thought. So they don’t look the same. You can’t really blame them for that. Don’t be a jerk. Give them a chance. Maybe it’ll rock.

Then I watched the trailer.

It was bad.

Amazon Zombieland CastNothing about the trailer made me want to watch the pilot. I didn’t like the narrator. I didn’t like the actors. The tone felt like a cheap rip-off of the movie.

Well, because I love the guys at QRE, I decided to take one for the team.

I watched the pilot.

To my genuine surprise, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought it would be.

Don’t get me wrong here, it didn’t blow me away. I’m not saying it was great. Hell, I’m not even saying it was good.

But it wasn’t bad.

Now, it’s important to establish what “not bad” means in this context. It’s actually a pretty high compliment, because, well, let’s face it… most pilots suck. Several of my favorite TV shows started with incredibly weak pilots. A TV show usually needs time to evolve.

As far as pilots go, this one retained the tone and humor of the movie pretty well. The jokes were more or less funny (in an in-your-face kind of way) and, overall, it felt like the same world as the movie.

I admit getting used to the new actors is the biggest obstacle. Having a non-Woody Tallahassee just feels unnatural, but the actor playing him is much better than the trailer suggested. He’s no Woody, but he’s not terrible.

All in all, the pilot accomplished two important things:

  1. I didn’t feel like I’d wasted a half-hour of my life.
  2. I found myself wishing there were more episodes.

As far as I’m concerned, I’d say that’s a win.

Bottom line, if you didn’t like the movie, you’ll hate the pilot. It’s definitely not as good as the film.

But if you liked the movie, I recommend giving it a shot. I think – at the very least – you’ll come away saying, “You know, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.”

You can check out Zombieland from Amazon right here.


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