10. High school of The Dead (2010)
Based on the manga Gakuen Mokushiroku Haisukūru obu za Deddo written by Daiskue Sato and drawn by Shoji Sato, High school of the Dead is a 12 episode long anime. With a title meant to attract more than zombie fans but Western fans, this show focuses on a group of high school students who, in only a couple of hours, find themselves in the middle of a zombie crisis in present day Japan.
As they try to fight the zombies and escape from getting killed or transformed into monsters themselves, the teens must also face a decaying society returning back to its animalistic instincts and feudal rules.
Nothing can be as disturbing as seeing the ones you once knew and maybe loved being transformed into mindless cruel creatures. This aspect was used in creating the zombies from High school of the Dead. Referred to as “them”, these zombies are the cadaveric versions of those who were once humans.
While they have lost any of the normal intellectual abilities, they have developed a sort of zombie modified version of them, showing to be able to identify whoever is infected, so that they will not attack their own and can pass their own limits, not being able to feel pain. Yet, they are more likely to die again from fire than normal humans.
If you are not a diehard anime fan or a fan in general, let us tell you that no matter how unpopular or popular an anime is, there will always be all sorts of controversies around it. When it comes to High school of the Dead, there is no exception. With claims that it is too inappropriate due to its sexual content or that it is no different from any other zombie creation, the show hot a few thumbs down. Yet Carlo Santos did point out the best feature “Other recent zombie works in Western entertainment have tried to play it ironic, or postmodernist, or just plain silly, but this one goes for straight-up horror—and pulls it off admirably” and in a horror series with zombies this is what matters the most.
9. The Returned (2015)
Can you imagine living in a small boring town, where the most dramatic thing that could happen is for the hosting baseball team to lose a match while the entire team’s family members are watching? What it would be like that, out of the blue, people who had died some time ago, came back to life with no memories other than the ones they had before their departure.
A daughter killed in a bus accident returns to her parents after 4 years since her death. A man seeks her fiancée who moved on after he disappeared from her life. Meanwhile, another woman finds herself in her husband’s home, only 30 years later. With all the returned people, the citizens’ dull lives get all messed up and tangled, especially with secrets emerging to surface. This series starring Kevin Alejandro, Agnes Bruckner, India Ennenga, Sandrine Holt, Sophie Lowe and Mar Pellegrino was cancelled after just one season. But this does not mean you can not give it a try.
You may think that such a TV series is completely original because it is just… not American. And that exactly is the point and maybe the reason why it failed with the American public. It is just a remake of a French supernatural show, Les Revenants. On the small screen since 2013 and returning this year with its second season, Les Revenants is not that different from its baby brother show.
Following the lives after death of a teenager, victim of a road crash accident, a man who killed himself before his own wedding, a murdered child seeking redemption from his “fairy” and a sadistic serial killer, but also their families, the show focuses on the “zombies” struggle to fit in and to recover their lives, while being marked by the supernatural.
More like predecessor, the 2014 ABC drama, Resurrection, follows the same pattern as the The Returned duo – in Arcadia, Missouri, the residents find themselves visited by their beloved ones, long dead. Starting with a 8 year old boy, Jacob, found in a rice field in China, immigration agent Martin Bellamy is the one to bring him home and to discover that the child has been dead for 32 years and that his parents are already in their 60s.
Along the boy, another man returns to his family, who struggles to introduce him back into the society norms. Yet, Jacob is not as well received as his parents are still reluctant to the news, especially since an actual body is still inside the 32 year old tomb. Questions are being put and even the resurrected wonder how they can be alive and well when they have their own corpses in front of them.
8. Helix (2014 – 2015)
Reaching the science fiction genre, we find Helix, a thriller developed by Ronald D. Moore – also known for Battlestar Galactica. The story is following a team of researchers who travel to an isolated research area in Antarctica, where they can investigate a mysterious virus outbreak. As they attempt to find a cure or at least to put the virus in quarantine, the team is slowly sabotaged and in danger.
Realizing that the virus might be actually a weapon against the human kind, the scientists must fight for everybody’s lives, especially their own, to catch the traitor and to discover his secret. The second season is set an year later on the island St. Germaine. Starring in the main roles we have Billy Campbell as Dr. Alan Farragut, Hiroyuki Sanada as Dr. Hiroshi Hatake, Kyra Zaggorsky as Dr. Julia Walker and Mark Ghanime as Maior Sergio Balleseros.
Narvik and Vector
The virus responsible for all the havoc in Helix is called Narvix and is of three types: A and C – the ones that kill and B – the one that transforms. That being said, you can already correctly assume that Narvik B is behind the zombification of our characters. Once infected, either through mouth-to-mouth contact of through bodily fluids, the humans become zombie like creatures called Vectors.
Reduced to their primal instincts and lacking any sort of consciousness, Vectors are though very agile and strong and in possession of a special ability which allows them to sense whether another person is human, Vector or something else. Did we mention they usually travel in packs?
This spring, it was announced that after its second season, Helix will not return on the small screen. Be it the not so impressive second season, lack of promotion, the evil forces of the television underworld or other similar issues, nothing saved it from being axed. But we will always have the first season full of realism, mystery that keeps you at the edge of your seat and an increasing feeling of dread and fear.
7. Dead Set (2008)
Here comes a British mini series with only 5 episodes. Who would have thought that you can mix a zombie show with the father of reality shows – Big Brother? In Dead Set we have a group of Big Brother contestants, who, on the night of the eviction, a zombie outbreak happens. The contestants are somehow protected as they remain stuck in the very well guarded Big Brother house.
Yet while they have no worries and are not in fear of being attacked by zombies, they are still more isolated from the outside world than ever. With the rest of the population being slowly butchered and transformed, they must find their own ways of surviving and providing food.
Out of all these ideas one can find in the media, having a reality show based zombie adaptation is something that no one could have thought about nor that someone would ever try again. To add to its originality, Dead Set’s Big Brother contestants are actually real life former Big Brother contestants – Jaime Winston as Kelly Povell, Riz Ahmend as Riq Rahman, Adam deacon as Space, Andy Nyman as Patrick Goad, Warren Brown as Marky, Liz May Brice as Alex Brynson, Shelley Conn as Claire Oberon and many others. We also have Davina McCall and Marcus Bentley… being themselves as the Big Brother presenter and the Big Brother narrator.
Perceived as the best zombie flick of the decade, both Dead Set and its viewers managed to surprise each other, the show by being surprisingly good and the audience by being very open minded about this new concept. Though, there have been critics who complained about various issues, including the change from slow zombies to fast ones.
The co-creator Simon Pegg answered the criticism in The Guardian stating that “Even George Romero, the godfather of zombies, bent the rules from time to time. Witness the very first zombie in Night of the Living Dead, I know you saw these scenes. You know you saw these scenes. And you also know that if this were a trial, this would be the moment where you splutter in the witness box and admit you’re completely wrong.” And to show that it was indeed a smart move, Dead Set got a nomination for a BAFTA for “Best Drama Serial”.