The Walking Dead Was Almost a Terrible Zombie Procedural

Friday, 26 August 2016 - 12:39PM
Zombies
The Walking Dead
Friday, 26 August 2016 - 12:39PM
The Walking Dead Was Almost a Terrible Zombie Procedural
Although it's gotten some (well-deserved) flack in recent seasons, The Walking Dead has been a groundbreaking, game-changing phenomenon, serving as a geek show, a crossover hit, and—at the beginning—a character-driven critical darling. But in its early stages, the network tried to turn it into something else: a "zombie-of-the-week" procedural. Or, in other words, a really shitty version of iZombie.

In a wide-ranging Variety interview, Walking Dead EP Gale Ann Hurd revealed that the cinematic, highly original Walking Dead pilot wasn't an easy sell for networks, unsurprisingly, and that NBC tried to change it into something a little more conventional:
Opening quote
Before the show was picked up by AMC for domestic and Fox for international, its creator Frank Darabont presented the first version of the script to NBC, with whom he had an overall deal. According to Hurd, their response was, "Do there have to be zombies [in it]." NBC then asked Darabont if the show could be a procedural in which the two main protagonists would "solve a zombie crime of the week," she said.
Closing quote

Although it seems crazy now, it's actually somewhat understandable that they would have questioned whether it needed to be a zombie narrative, rather than just post-apocalyptic. The Walking Dead pilot, and its entire first season, was mostly focused on the post-apocalyptic landscape and the characters, while the zombie gore was almost incidental. But the idea of a "zombie-of-the-week" procedural, in which intrepid buddy police officers Rick and Shane hunt zombies and save kittens from trees in a Western gunslinger type of show, is hilarious (as in hilariously terrible). No wonder all we get are terrible procedurals year after year.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows
Zombies
The Walking Dead