Even though I really wanted to keep working on something else, there’s something that just does not let me get on with my things. Therefore, I’d better make haste with it then…
There are things in life that are better left alone. Unfortunately, the movie industry does not seem to grasp that concept and – in blissful sacrilege – continues to remake, reboot or continue whatever semi-creative idea that worked in the past. For the record – it’s almost always not okay, because the result is substandard and makes the original film look cheap and, quite frankly, runs the risk of ruining it.
In unrelated news: If you haven’t heard already, the face of TV is now undergoing some major changes (I would hope) with Netflix stepping up to the big boys’ table and producing its own content. If you haven’t heard of “House of Cards” and how it took the Internet by storm by appealing to binge-watchers like me, then I thoroughly recommend getting acquainted with this show. And no, Netflix does not pay me for this. Obviously, “House of Cards” was not the only ace up Netflix’s sleeve and now it seems we might be looking at a full-blown offensive of internet television, as Eli Roth’s “Hemlock Grove” has just been released (all 13 episodes all at once) and more things are being developed as we speak to expand this wonderful new market.
I think it’s only logical to assume that other players in the market of web-based streaming services will follow suit with their own original programming. We didn’t have to wait too long for Amazon to pick up the gauntlet and join the club with its own original programming. However, Amazon took a tad different approach. Not too long ago, they decided to release a bunch of pilot episodes for the TV shows they might intend to develop into proper series, letting us – the viewers – decide by voting, what we want to see produced. I have to say, it was a really nice touch, as it brought a new layer of awesomeness to the already pretty phenomenal idea of Internet-based programming. So, if you subscribe to Amazon Instant, or Lovefilm Instant, you still have a chance to examine what ‘Amazon Originals’ have to offer.
Now, in the context of what I’m about say next, the phrase ‘Amazon Originals’ sounds amusingly ironic. That is because among the series pitched to us by Amazon, one can find a show that lies a good couple of miles away from being original, namely “Zombieland – The Series”. Yep… You heard me (read me???). Ruben Fleischer’s delightfully hilarious comedy extravaganza set in a post-apocalyptic Twinkie-lacking world ridden with the living dead got scooped and turned into a TV show. Maybe not exactly, because the producers had originally envisioned a full feature sequel would have been in order. Quite understandably so, because it seems to be a golden rule in Hollywood to take every original idea that did well in the box office, slap a “2” on it, cross your fingers and hope for the viewers to buy the tickets once more.
Yeah, so it didn’t happen and “Zombieland 2” got dropped (is it you, God?). But apparently it’s not very tactful to bin a piece of meat like that, so it seemed perfectly OK for Amazon to dust it off and eat it. Obviously, they didn’t have the budget to cast the original ensemble and/or the actors might have simply refused to have anything to do with this abomination, so the only logical way out of this predicament was to hire a cast of lookalikes… Who didn’t charge that much. And it’s not OK.
Ahh, so what is “Zombieland – The Series” all about? Plot-wise, the show picks up where the movie left off and we get to see how Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock go about their lives. Maybe it wouldn’t have been all that painful, had the series assumed viewer’s familiarity with the original, but no… I got to hear about, how cardio is important, how Columbus’ feelings towards Wichita are reiterated, and how important it is to pick the zombie kill of the week. Even though it’s glued together rather nicely, the whole concept stinks of a cheap knock-off.
I mean, seriously, every second of the pilot (it’s only 25 minutes, thank God) I kept asking myself, how Woody Harrelson would have done it better, or how Jesse Eisenberg would have been more convincing at being awkward. Or how Emma Stone wouldn’t look like a Barbie doll, but a real person… What I felt would be roughly equivalent to the disappointment buying a ‘Vouis Luitton’ is, not that I ever bought a purse for myself….
Perhaps, if the producers chose to stay within the universe, but introduced a completely new set of characters – it wouldn’t suck all that bad…. Hopefully… Instead, “Zombieland – The Series” quite ironically looks more like a reanimated corpse of “Zombieland” and not like its successor. It only goes to show that there are things in life that need to be left alone. Full stop.
Now, the original is ruined, because if I ever go back to re-watch it, I’ll have the series to remind me of this day of disappointment and fury; therefore, it’s safer for me not to. Damn you, my good memory! In any case, if Amazon develops the pilot into a full series, chances are that somebody’s going to lose their money. Unless, of course they change their minds and do something with the show to make it better, i.e. sack the cast, hire new people, put them somewhere else, and apply humor based on something more than just slap-stick. Maybe then, the show would be better; still a knock-off, but better. As it stands now, “Zombieland – The Series” reminds me of how Mr Bean foolishly tried to fix Whistler’s Mother with a sharpie.