“The zombie apocalypse has upended the entire TV business.”
Those were the words of TV Guide in response to The Walking Dead, the smash-hit show for cable channel AMC in 2012.
Based on an equally popular graphic novel series, the show centers on Rick Grimes, a deputy sheriff who wakens from a long coma to find that the world has been overrun by a zombie apocalypse. It was the No. 1 entertainment series on TV among 18- to 49-year-old adults at the time, a “landmark accomplishment for a cable show.”
The monster ratings continued through to this year, so no wonder AMC is now launching a prequel series. Fear the Walking Dead will take place at the start of the zombie apocalypse and follow a different group of survivors. Teasers, trailers and speculation have been all over the Internet for months ahead of the August 23 premiere, making it one of the most hotly anticipated across the globe for some time.
While the main show is itself returning for a sixth season in October, there are also numerous other big-budget zombie stories in the offing. World War Z is being followed by a sequel in 2017, while the odder mash-up phenomenon that is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, adapted from a novel of the same name, is due for release in 2016.
And that’s just the tip of the zombie-berg. They stretch into any number of forms that encourage participation in popular culture: video games, such as Wii U console launch title Zombi4U; augmented reality games; phone apps; and immersive zombie walks across the globe. There are zombie runs, where participants are “encouraged” along by zombie attacks; the zombie shopping mall experience; and even the I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse game show.
Read more: Why Are We Obsessed With Zombies?