Television with supernatural themes saw a real resurgence in the last decade, with a plethora of hit series gracing screens across the world. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and monsters became the new “It” trend, with zombies specifically finding new life in both television and film. Viewers can’t seem to elude their putrid grasp, with many shows garnering massive audiences and loyal fan bases that propelled them to success.
The greatest zombie shows range from straight-up classically terrifying to comically campy, with a healthy sprinkling of the bizarre in between. With Netflix set to release the sure-to-be popular All of Us Are Dead soon, let’s take a closer look at the best zombie TV series the small screen has to offer.
10 Dead Set (2008)
This British horror dramedy, a short-lived miniseries, features a unique premise detailing a zombie outbreak within a fictional series of the reality show Big Brother. The housemates and production are stranded inside the home, which acts as a fortress against the walking dead. The five-episode dark comedy features a cast including Jaime Winstone, Riz Ahmed and Adam Deacon, and even has cameos from real-life Big Brother contestants. The characters are not particularly likable, which ultimately makes their gruesome demise that much more entertaining. Full of guts and gore, fast-moving zombies and hilariously dark moments, Dead Set is a fine and funny example of the zombie-horror genre.
9 Z Nation (2014-2018)
Syfy’s post-apocalyptic horror show Z Nation follows a group of everyday heroes who are tasked with transporting a survivor of the plague across the country in hopes of finding a cure. Set three years after the zombie virus first wreaked havoc and destruction, the show is campy and humorous but also full of thrills and chills. The series doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a fun ride for fans of all things zombie. The entertaining scares make up for the sometimes muddled narrative and oftentimes frustrating characters, and the frights are what help Z Nation be so engaging. The show ran for five seasons and spawned a prequel series, Neftlix’s Black Summer.
8 Ash vs Evil Dead (2015-2018)
Set in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead universe, the series takes place thirty years after the events of the first three films and finds Ash Williams avoiding life’s responsibilities and working as a stock boy. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy the world, it’s up to Ash to save mankind from the Evil Dead. Bruce Campbell once again reprises his iconic role, with Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo joining as Ash’s trusted sidekicks in the sequel to the trilogy. The Starz horror series ran for three seasons before devastating fans with its cancellation. Regardless, the refreshing mix of humor and horror make Ash vs Evil Dead an epic zombie show.
7 The Returned (2012-2015)
French supernatural series The Returned takes place in a small mountain town where the dead begin to reappear and act perfectly normal. While “the returned” attempt to resume their old lives, the townsfolk must face their past and discover why the bizarre phenomenon is occurring. Despite being a less-gory spin on the zombie genre, The Returned is a spooky and compelling show that is beautifully realistic and thought-provoking, with gorgeous music and cinematography. It ran for two critically-acclaimed seasons and inspired the less successful American adaptation.
6 Fear the Walking Dead (2015-present)
A spin-off of the mega hit zombie show The Walking Dead, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead serves as a prequel and follows a blended family as they navigate their way through the start of the zombie apocalypse. The later seasons run concurrently to the original show, with fan-favorite Morgan Jones (Lennie James) appearing in both. Fear the Walking Dead is unique in the fact that it continually adds new characters and faces to the mix, keeping viewers on their toes and staying fresh and engaging. Like the original show, survivors must combat both the living and the dead in a battle to survive an apocalyptic, zombie plagued world.
5 iZombie (2015-2019)
The CW’s supernatural procedural drama iZombie, loosely based on the comic book series of the same name, and follows the journey of a doctor-turned-zombie. Rose McIver stars as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a Seattle medical examiner who is able to help solve murders after eating the victims’ brains and temporarily gaining their memories and personalities. In order to keep her zombie tendencies at bay, she must eat brains or risk losing what’s left of her humanity. The show is a sarcastic yet humanizing tale about a zombie that uses her unnatural gifts for good instead of evil, and features plenty of genuinely funny and entertaining moments.
4 Kingdom (2019-present)
Set during Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, the South Korean horror series Kingdom tells the tale of a Crown Prince as he investigates the cause of a disturbing plague which devastates his country. Residents of the land begin turning into fast-moving, flesh-eating undead who consume anything in their path. The Netflix drama is full of terror and gore and plenty of blood-pumping scenes. The stunning sets and beautifully choreographed sword fights truly elevate the show and make it something extremely unique, as do the frighteningly chilling zombie attacks. Kingdom currently has two seasons with more in the works.
3 Black Summer (2019-present)
Netflix original series Black Summer is the companion show to Z Nation, and follows a mother separated from her daughter at the start of a zombie apocalypse, chronicling her desperate attempt to reunite with her child. Jaime King stars in the lead role as Rose, who joins forces on her journey with a small group of refugees navigating the new world. The show has a more intimate feel, causing anxiety to grow and grow with each passing episode as tensions mount. It also makes a subtle social commentary on the current international refugee crisis and debates about immigration. Though a lower budget series, Black Summer delivers frightening zombies and edge-of-your-seat close calls that really heighten its suspense.
2 Santa Clarita Diet (2017-2019)
Santa Clarita Diet is a light-hearted horror-comedy show with an impressive cast including Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, and centers on real estate dream-team/husband and wife Joel and Sheila Hammond. Their lives are uprooted when Sheila begins displaying zombie-like symptoms. Together the family must battle her inhuman tendencies while searching for a possible cure. Santa Clarita Diet is a charming show with a talented cast and was truly canceled before its time. Both Barrymore and Olyphant deliver fun and endearing performances which complement the zany zombie elements.
1 The Walking Dead (2010-present)
Arguably one of the biggest juggernauts in television recently (consistently being the most-watched cable drama), AMC’s The Walking Dead has become a cultural phenomenon that revitalized the zombie genre and incited a craze. The show introduced the world to everyone’s favorite sheriff Rick Grimes, who becomes a leader to the human survivors fighting for their lives against zombies known as “walkers.” The series features a large ensemble cast including Andrew Lincoln as the aforementioned Grimes, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Danai Gurira and myriad other talent. The Robert Kirkland hit has spawned a whole universe of sister shows and upcoming films, and has completely reinvigorated the zombie concept. With many memorable walkers, foes and characters, The Walking Dead is definitely the greatest zombie show of all time.
With the impending series finale of The Walking Dead, here is a list of episodes you must watch before the show comes to a close.
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