Day of the Dead, a landmark film in the zombie genre, is set to rise again as a Syfy television series.
Syfy, the NBCUniversal cable channel, has made a 10-episode series order for Day of the Dead, which will serve as a serial adaptation inspired by zombie genre inventor George A. Romero, specifically the 1985 third entry in his Night of the Living Dead film franchise. A production of Cartel Entertainment, the series will have Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas as writers/showrunners. They are joined by executive producers in Cartel’s Stan Spry, Jeff Holland and Drew Brown, along with HiTide Studios’ Robert Dudelson, James Dudelson and Jordan Kizwani. The series is planned for a premiere in 2021.
The early plot details of Syfy’s Day of the Dead – describing it as an “ode to Romero’s famous flesh-eaters” – will focus on six strangers thrust together in an attempt to survive the first 24 hours of an undead invasion. Pertinently, Romero’s 1985 film centers on survivors of said undead incursions, barely surviving in a Florida bunker, focusing on inter-personal conflicts (notably between the civilians and their military overseers), as well as a Dr. Frankenstein-type scientist whose experiments to render zombies docile yields success with one undead subject in particular, who he names “Bub” (Sherman Howard). Indeed, the film may have deviated to the realm of schlock from the dramatic elements of its immediate predecessor, 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, but it was a key step in the evolution of the zombie genre.
Interestingly enough, Romero’s original Dead continuity is still kicking, despite the fact that the visionary passed away back in 2017. Having launched with genre-defining 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, the series continued (amidst notable brand confusion with opportunistically-titled “of the Dead” horror offerings,) with 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, 1985’s Day of the Dead, 2005’s Land of the Dead (a film often mistaken as being a sequel to director Zack Snyder’s powerful 2004 Dawn remake), 2007’s Diary of the Dead, 2009’s Survival of the Dead, all of which Romero wrote and directed, with two more entries, Road of the Dead and Rise of the Dead, currently in the pipeline with new personnel. On an even more curious note, Day of the Dead itself has been remade twice in the realm of film, once in 2008 and again in 2018 as Day of the Dead: Bloodline.
Syfy’s Day of the Dead series order is mirrored by the cable channel’s similar 10-episode order for fellow genre offering The Surrealtor, a series following the coffee-is-for-closers exploits of realtor Nick Roman, whose elite team of ghost hunters are specifically tasked with scaring away spirits from lowering property values. That series will arrive under the purview of showrunner George Olson, who’ll be joined by executive producers Lance Samuels and Daniel Iron.
It will be interesting to see how Day of the Dead translates to television, especially for Syfy, who last focused on the zombie genre with the irreverent five-season 2014-2018 run of Z Nation. While the genre’s most prominent example, AMC’s The Walking Dead, may not be the ratings juggernaut it once was, it’s still a profitable enough venture to justify not one, but two spinoff shows and developing TV movies. Consequently, this new series will have quite a task ahead in terms of bringing something compelling and original.
That is the extent of the details for now, but will certainly keep you updated on Syfy’s Day of the Dead TV series as the news arrives. In the meantime, those who are unacquainted can check out the trailer for 1985’s Day of the Dead just below!