Ahh, Zombieland, the highest grossing film in American history... that begins with the letter Z of course. The highly successful brain child of Rhett Reese and Wernick went on to make over $100 million at the box office, impressed critics and won over audiences the world over. An all star cast in Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg (all be it pre-The Social Network), Woody Harrelson and a great cameo in former Ghostbuster Bill Murray. In the US the film is even the highest grossing zombie movie of all time, a mean feat in Romero's homeland. Taking all this into account plus Woody Harrelson's open attitude to a sequel, Zombieland 2 looked to be on the cards. Then, Amazon commissioned Zombieland: The Series.
The concept of Zombieland was always meant to be a TV series featuring Zombie Kill of The Week. So the writers clearly jumped for joy at the idea from Amazon and a pilot was made. Sadly on May 17th Amazon announced the series wouldn't make it past the pilot stage.
Reese tweeted: "Sad for everyone involved. I'll never understand the vehement hate the pilot received from die-hard Zombieland fans. You guys successfully hated it out of existence. Anyway, we did our best, and we're very proud of our team."
So what went wrong with Zombieland: The Series? Just by watching the first few minutes of the pilot the fatal error is staring any fan of the film in the face. Is that meant to be Harrelson/Eisenberg/Stone?! Why did the writers decide to use the same characters in which we now associate with A-list Hollywood actors? With a unique apocalyptic universe to play with the writers could have created an entirely new "family" to follow. That could have been followed by a sweet cameo of Harrelson and co in the finale. Production values were high for the pilot; we know zombie effects are affordable in the current television climate thanks to the run-away success that is The Walking Dead. The acting isn't horrific, the writing is pretty strong; the only thing that went wrong for Amazon was the idea of new actors in the same roles. It's often that we see film based on TV shows, take Star Trek, The X Files, even The Simpsons. All of them have translated well to the big screen. So which franchises have done the exact opposite and shrunk from the big screen to the silver screen in the corner of the living room?
Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Joss Whedon's first big time project ran for seven seasons, spawned Angel and successfully engrained itself in sci fi culture for the foreseeable future. Starting off on the big screen, the TV show follows up a year later with a new cast who undeniably did the opposite of the Zombieland crew and made the roles entirely their own. Countless awards and critical praise surrounded the original run dwarfing, almost slaying the original source material.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
If you don't have the budget to film it, animate it. Lucas felt the story between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith deserved to see the light of the day, so The Clone Wars were born. Marketed toward the teenage market and stuck onto Cartoon Network did The Clone Wars no favours. The storyline itself is strong, the series adds depth to the characters we know and love whilst delicately introducing us to the new including Ahsoka Tano, Anakin's very own Padawan. Sadly since the infamous Disney take-over of Lucasfilm, The Clone Wars has been "winding down" and no more episodes will be made. The rest of the story will be released as "bonus content". Expect either a novel or webisodes before the year is out.
RoboCop: The Series
Believe it or not, this actually happened but only for a season. The success of Robocop and Robocop 2 spawned a 22 episode run staring Richard Eden in the eponymous role. You should be able to pick up a copy of the DVD online if you search hard enough. The series dropped the iconic brutally graphic violence for the teenage market. Alex Murphy was armed with a series of non-lethal weapons in this adaptation so the villains can become recurring characters in a Batman-esque fashion.
Blade: The Series
More recently, and even shorter lived, came the 2006 adaptation of one of Marvel Comic's darkest properties. Blade: The Series followed on from the highly successful film adaptations starring Wesley Snipes and managed to snatch David S Goyer, the writer of all three films, to try his hand at the TV adaptation. Viewing figures were high but critics didn't agree. Geoff Johns, series writer on Blade explained: "The network didn't want to cancel it, I just think Spike TV is still a young network, and the price it was costing to make...they just weren't able to do it."
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Marvel phase one is over. The Avengers assembled and closed off the most meticulously planned franchise to date. Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 follow but between the two sits the resurrection of everyone's favourite sarcastic, Captain America loving right hand man, Agent Phil Coulson. Marvel has really pulled their finger out since 2008's Iron Man and the overall franchise is in full swing. Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D has already been picked up for a full series and will be airing come September this year. But will Cap'n USA, Thor or the big green one be appearing at all? Executive Producer Jeffery Bell explains: "I think there will be people showing up, some from the Marvel Universe and some not." Maybe we might even get to see some more Cobie Smulders battling aliens on a weekly basis.
Star Wars: Live Action series
It has been happening since about 2005 but the Disney purchase could bring A New Hope. George Lucas announced that a live action TV series is in production whilst promoting Revenge of the Sith, but sadly nothing came to fruition. The problem with a live action series is, believe it or not, creating Coruscant or a death star is surprisingly expensive. Lucas stated that the series would help tie up loose ends between the original and the prequel trilogies whilst following a series of new characters. Since the surprise buyout by Disney, they have stated their interest in creating a Star Wars television show but haven't released any details. It could still happen, especially with the rejuvenated interest of Mickey Mouse and co, but don't start celebrating yet.