The 2009 Zombieland film had a little bit of everything we like: guns, explosions, pretty girls, tough guys, zombies, and Bill Murray. It’s truly one of my favourite comedies because of how well it played with the conventions of a zombie film and the archetypical characters you find within them.
So when online content provider Amazon announced in March that it had ordered a pilot episode for a Zombieland TV series, fans’ hopes were raised, as co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick duly pitched in to create a pilot for the video-on-demand service…
…which was roundly savaged by the fans who had a number of issues with, among other things, the re-casting of all four main characters from the film rather than starting with a new crew, and the portrayal of Tallahassee as a bumbling fool rather than the principled badass portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the film.
In an unusual move, Amazon has made it clear that they’re taking on audience feedback to decide whether or not to continue production of each of the 14 pilots they’ve chipped in for. Unsurprisingly, Zombieland has already brought about enough negative comments that Amazon has announced they won’t be taking the programme any further. Co-writer Rhett Rheese took to Twitter to express his disappointment:
“I’ll never understand the vehement hate the pilot received from die-hard Zombieland fans. You guys successfully hated it out of existence.”
I don’t know what gives Mr Rheese the right to feel that he’s automatically entitled to make a series of Zombieland despite the tide of negative reviews it received. Why should Amazon spend their money to make more of something which was so badly received by viewers? Zombieland will have appealed to the most niche of niche audiences; the pickiest of cult TV and film fans. If they didn’t like it, having sought out the pilot because they loved the film so much, doesn’t that say something about the show itself?
Don’t expect to have seen the end of this just yet; it might yet be shopped to other platforms and TV channels.
Did you see the Zombieland pilot? What did you think?