Rhett Reese Perplexed by Hate For TV Zombieland

Jessie Eisenberg

Rhett Reese is perplexed by the amount of hate that the “die-hard” fans of the film Zombieland have for the TV Zombieland. After learning that poor audience response on the pilot show for the television version of the film had been so bad that Amazon killed it, he tweeted: “I’ll never understand the vehement hate the pilot received from die-hard Zombieland fans. You guys successfully hated it out of existence.”

While Amazon hasn’t yet released a list of which ones out of the 14 pilots released will be made, the company was able to confirm that Zombieland has indeed been given its “undead” marching orders.

Co-creator and co-writer Rhett Reese, who also co-wrote the hit film that the pliot was based on, initially got on twitter to “break” the news to the Zombieland fans. His first “tweet” said: “Our Zombieland series will not be moving forward on Amazon,” he wrote. “Sad for everyone involved.”

Zombieland was one of the 14 pilots Amazon released online, looking for audience feedback as to which should be brought back for a full season. Amazon said it would be looking at the number of streams, how many people watched the entire episode and audience ratings and reviews.

The pilot has been available online for a month and according to at least one viewer, “There are a few yuks and also a pleasantly high body count. [But] the actors feel like bargain-basement knockoffs of Harrelson, et al. … You feel like you’re watching a smudged Xerox of what was a pretty hilarious movie.”

Customer feedback was always meant to be an integral part of how Amazon decided which pilots would move to series. But considering that Zombieland got more 5-star reviews on Amazon that it did 1-star, 2-star, and 3-star reviews it appears that customer feedback was not the only thing that dictated whether a pilot returned or not.

The Zombieland pilot averaged 3.7 out of 5 stars based on over 5,000 reviews. The lowest-rated of the comedy pilots, Browsers, averaged 3.1 stars, while the highest-rated, Those Who Can’t” grabbed 4.4 stars.

Despite having a script by the film’s original writers and the same producer, as well having some of the same make-up and visual effects people on board, fans just didn’t take to the pilot the way they did to the film. Of course the film had a brilliant cast with dynamite performances from Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and one kick-ass cameo by Bill Murray.

To paraphrase Alex the lion in Madagascar, “You can’t top that.”

It is interesting to note that one of the more publicised pilots, Alpha House, has Bill Murray cameo. It is not known if it is on par with his Zombieland cameo.

Zombieland was the Amazon pilot that had a lot of hype associated just on its name. Obviously it was expected to be a favourite with existing fans of the film. But inexplicably, the idea of the show faced heavy cynicism and negativity from the word go. Even the news of the television version being written and executive produced by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the two fellas who wrote the film.

Reese and Wernick had always wanted Zombieland to be a TV series, which was how they first conceived of the project a decade ago, before being asked to rewrite it as a film.

We’re pretty sure that the irony of that has not been missed by Rhett and Paul.

By Michael Smith

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