10 Reasons Why Zombies Are Good for TV
Two new TV shows, 'The Walking Dead' and 'Dead Set,' prove why the zombie craze is far from dead

Zombies are taking a bite out of television just in time for Halloween.

First up is IFC's "Dead Set." The five-part British original, which made a splash across the pond a couple of years ago, had its American debut at midnight on Monday, Oct. 25, and will air at that time through Friday, Oct. 29. The network will broadcast a marathon of the series beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.
As campy as it is gory, "Dead Set" lampoons the reality TV world of "Big Brother" by making the show's house the safest place to hide when frightening zombies take over Britain.
Garnering even more buzz is "The Walking Dead," AMC's scary comic-book adaptation. It premieres at 10 p.m. Oct. 31 and follows a small-town sheriff, his family and a band of survivors in a zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic world.
1. Zombies are not vampires
That one movie said it best: Vampires suck. Don't get us wrong, vampires will always be the most popular monster in the bunch, thanks to megahits such as "Twilight" and HBO's "True Blood." But in a battle royal, zombies would totally have the upper hand. No, vampires don't have blood, but they have tasty brains, and the zombies would presumably devour those, right? Another argument against vampires is their current overexposure. Everywhere you turn, there's another vampire show or movie. Enough already! It's time for something new and fresh, and if that means digging up zombies, so be it.
2. Zombies are like you and me ... sort of
When zombie guru George A. Romero made "Night of the Living Dead" back in the 1960s, the seminal film not only scared us silly but gave us food for thought about the Vietnam War. The 2002 flick "28 Days Later" played a similar role in the post-9/11 world. That's the beauty of zombies. Because they were once human after all, they can serve as metaphors for all our ills and shortcomings socially and politically.
3. Zombies have a rich heritage
While George A. Romero made zombies the flesh-hungry stalkers they are today, the monstrous beasts have West African voodoo roots dating back hundreds of years. The creatures would go on to make their Western debut in the book "The Magic Island" by W.B. Seabrook, and they showed up three years later in the 1932 horror movie "White Zombie." Other films followed as time went on, but Romero is also the man who made zombies horrific. Later, Michael Jackson and filmmaker John Landis made zombies rhythmic and cool thanks to "Thriller," the game-changing music video that debuted nearly 27 years ago.
4. Zombies can be killed
In the battle of good versus evil, the bad guys have to be stoppable. Thanks to a countless number of zombie flicks -- and this includes the video-game inspired "Resident Evil" series -- we know zombies can be killed if you destroy their brains with bullets and sharp and heavy objects. Zombies can also be stopped if decapitated.
5. Zombies need to eat and eat and eat
Zombies have to eat people, but specific body parts vary from film to film and from show to show. For instance, in "Night of the Living Dead," the zombies wanted human flesh in general, but in the 1985 sequel "The Return of the Living Dead," the undead wanted brains. And in "Dead Set," which will air on IFC, the zombies really dig intestines, for some reason.
6. Zombies have a mighty bite
Nothing is more frightening and damning than getting a zombie bite. A bite from the zombie means becoming one of them. In some flicks in this genre, victims will cut off limbs to avoid infection, while others go straight for quick death either via suicide or with help from a trusted friend. We won't ruin it and tell you the choice taken by bite victims in "Dead Set" and "The Walking Dead." You'll just have to watch and find out.
7. Zombies walk the walk and rarely talk
One of the comforting aspects about most zombies is that they walk slowly, allowing victims to get a head start and outrun them. But "28 Days Later" changed all that by turning zombies into agile sprinters. Expect slow staggering in "The Walking Dead" and zombie sprinting in "Dead Set."
8. Zombies travel in packs
Take on one zombie and you might have a chance, but in numbers, these slow-witted but determined creatures are very dangerous. One of the most horrifying scenes in AMC's "The Walking Dead" involves swarms of zombies surrounding the show's leading man, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln ["Love Actually"]), in a military tank.
9. Zombies are immortal
Man has long strived for immortality, and zombie life provides it with a catch. Given the choice between becoming a vampire or a zombie, most people would prefer the Dracula track, but zombie living can't be that hard. Remember Ed (Nick Frost), the zaftig sidekick in "Shaun of the Dead"? Once he became a zombie, his pal Shaun (Simon Pegg) turned him into a kept pet of sorts. The offbeat flick "Fido" (2006), starring Billy Connolly, had a similar pet theme. Look at this way: The death-and-taxes guarantee is no longer a problem, and that rule about not wearing white after Labor Day? Nope.
10. Zombies are born to be wild
The feral nature of zombies makes them equal parts efficient and dumb. For instance, they know how to travel in packs, but zombies can't figure out more complicated procedures, such as unlocking doors, picking locks, opening windows and more (the amusement park scene in "Zombieland" taught us this much), which makes them easy to outsmart. Zombies can't swim or navigate water in general in "Dead Set."

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