Well, well. Looks like Amazon.com isn't content to sit on their laurels as one of the world's largest retailers of movies and tv series. Now they are following Netflix's lead and jumping on the "original programming" bandwagon. According to Entertainment Weekly, Amazon has produced a stunning 14 original series--and this past weekend all the pilots were available for viewing. FOR FREE.
You can see a full run-down of the new series over at EW.com. I didn't have the time to watch all of them (I do have a life you know), but I was able to set aside 30 minutes to check out the pilot for the show I am most looking forward to--Zombieland: The Series.
Set in the same world and following the same characters, the story of Zombieland (the series) take place a month after the events of the film. Remember, the characters are named after the places they originally hail from, and Columbus is still our earnest narrator and protagonist--walking the audience through the rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse and still pining for Wichita, the cynical hot chick with emotional walls so high it would make the citizens of Ancient Troy say, "damn, girl." They are joined by Wichita's tween sister, Little Rock, and badass twinkie-obsessed, Tallahassee.
When we catch up with the fab four, they are still in LA and have decided to look for other survivors. But I guess people who need people may not be the luckiest people in the world....because things don't really go too well. Luckily, they have made friends with Detroit, the sassy voice of On Star guidance system, who helps guide them to remaining survivors in the LA-area and spins tales of a community back East that is "zombie-free."
The series plays out in a manner very similar to the film--it has the same look and the same feel. Rules for survival still flash on the screen, and it's still chock full of black humor. The main characters continue to marvel at the absurdity of the world around them and there's lots of awesome cartoonish violence and profanity (yay adult content!). For the most part, the characterization is also intact, though it does seem that Tallahassee has been dumbed down somewhat.
The only real problem I noticed has to do with the cast. Not that they were bad actors (they aren't), but they lack the chemistry of the movie-star original actors. There's not that many Woody Harrelsons, Jesse Esenbergs, or Emma Stones running around, if you know what I mean. I'm hoping as the series progresses, the cast will gel more and we'll get that same snap, crackle, pop as the movie. But this is really only a mild quibble.
I'd say if you enjoyed the movie Zombieland, then the series is definitely a ride worth taking. Whether it's worth the cost Amazon will charge, well, I leave that to you. I'm personally willing to wait to see if it ever gets made available to Netflix, but I can see the series becoming necessary-viewing for some of you.
Final thought: I think the thing I love the most about Zombieland is despite the horror of living in Zombieland, well, you always have to remember Rule #33: Keep Hope Alive. At the end of the day, this show is about the survivors. And that's still something special.