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SyFy’s Day Of The Dead: 8 Quick Things We Know About The New Zombie Series

The Day of the Dead trailer

In the more than 30 years since George A. Romero released Day of the Dead in 1985, the third movie in his Dead anthology has received more sequels, remakes, and reboots than anyone asked for, but the latest incarnation looks to be more promising than anything else that came before it. The Day of the Dead TV show, which debuts on SyFy later in 2021, will be both a homage to the “Godfather of the zombie movie” while also taking a very different direction with the story about humanity trying to survive an army of the undead and each other.

And while it is true the Day of the Dead name has been tarnished over the years thanks to all those aforementioned movies, there’s a very good chance the latest version will be anything but a creatively-bankrupt disaster and instead, a chance for audiences to see just how much fun a group of writers and horror hounds can have with a show. Here are eight quick things to know about SyFy’s Day of the Dead TV show.

Day Of The Dead Premieres In October 2021 on SyFy

During the Day of the Dead: Adapting a Legend panel at Comic-Con @Home in July 2021, it was revealed that the dead will begin walking the Earth (on SyFy, anyway) at some point in October 2021, which is honestly the perfect time to start up a horror series like this. And while the exact release date was not disclosed during the panel, we do know that Day of the Dead will consist of 10 episodes of bloody, zombie madness fans of George A. Romero’s Dead movies have come to know and love over the years.

Natalie Malaika in Day of the Dead

The Day Of The Dead Cast Includes Keenan Tracey, Natalie Malaika, Daniel Doheny And Morgan Holmstrom

The Day of the Dead TV show isn’t a shot-for-shot remake of George A. Romero’s claustrophobic zombie movie though it does feature characters loosely based off key figures from the movie as well as some that pay homage to the movie. When the show airs, viewers will be introduced to Keenan Tracey’s Cam McDermott (a nod to Jarlath Conroy’s Bill McDermott), Natalie Malaika’s Lauren Howell, Daniel Doheny’s Luke Bowman, and Morgan Holstrom’s Sarah Blackwood (the latter two being references to Lori Cardille’s Sarah Bowman).

The Day of the Dead cast also includes Kevin O’Grady as Rhodes (a callback to the tyrannical army officer portrayed by Joseph Pilato), Marci T. House’s Captain Pike, and numerous others.

Natalie Malaika in Day of the Dead

Day Of The Dead Will Take Place Over The Course Of The First 24 Hours Of A Zombie Outbreak

When the Day of the Dead TV show was first announced in February 2020, SyFy explained that sometimes all it takes to bring people together is a horde of zombies trying to rip them apart. Those people (the living, not the undead) consist of a group of six strangers who fight for survival while they also try to make sense of the strange phenomenon of their dead family members, friends, and neighbors rising from the grave to kill them.

Sherman Howard in Day of the Dead (1985)

Jed Elinoff And Scott Thomas Serve As The Day Of The Dead Showrunners

The Day of the Dead TV show was created, written, and produced by the co-showrunners Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas, who have worked on everything from shows like Celebrity Deathmatch to The Jetsons and WWE: Robo-WrestleMania! over the years.

During the Day of the Dead: Adapting a Legend panel at Comic-Con @Home in July 2021 Scott Thomas explained that every zombie movie and TV show owes George A. Romero for his legacy and contributions to the world of horror. Touching on that, Jed Elinoff said that when he and Thomas had the chance to make Day of the Dead, they couldn’t help but feel immense excitement for the potential of the project but also responsibility because they didn’t want to screw up their chance to make something that pays respect to the late horror legend.

A zombie in the Day of the Dead trailer

SyFy’s Series Will Be An Ode To George A. Romero’s Classic But Will Take A Different Direction

Throughout the Day of the Dead: Adapting a Legend panel co-showrunner Scott Thomas made it clear that just because the show has the same name as the movie, it doesn’t follow the plot beat by beat, but instead takes some inspiration from it while also doing its own thing. That means instead of focusing on the tension between a group of scientists and soldiers living underground in a bunker, the show will take place above ground and follow people on what was supposed to be a big day for them before the dead returned to feast on the living. This includes a mayoral election, an undertaker running her first funeral, a senior skip day, and more.

Joseph Pilato in Day of the Dead (1985)

The Day Of The Dead TV Show Will Have A Lot Of Social Commentary

And what would any tribute to George A. Romero be without some social commentary? Luckily for longtime fans of the director’s work, the Day of the Dead TV show will have its fair share of social critique as co-showrunner Scott Thomas revealed during the Comic-Con 2021 panel, revealing that the town will be torn apart politically because of things like fracking, a tense mayoral election, and a sordid history involving people who have never been treated well by the powers that be.

One of the showrunners’ main goals with Day of the Dead was to bring those people together and bridge their differences by introducing an army of rotting corpses who care not for political discourse but the taste of the human flesh.

The Day of the Dead trailer

Day Of The Dead Changes The Rules When It Comes To Zombies

By now, everyone knows the main way to kill a zombie: shoot them in the head. Well, the showrunners of the Day of the Dead TV show are changing that golden rule to stop a ghoul in that the undead in the upcoming series can only be killed by the complete and utter destruction of the head or body. During the Comic-Con panel, Scott Thomas alluded to the “shoot them in the head, man” situation becoming a horror movie trope and predictable and he and Jed Elinoff felt this was a way of switching things up.

Another major change to the zombie textbook here is that getting bit by a zombie doesn’t necessarily mean someone will join the ranks of the undead, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The Day of the Dead trailer

The Day Of The Dead Trailer Shows Just How Gory The Show Will Be

With the only way to take out the zombies in the Day of the Dead TV being total destruction of the brain, you would think the show would be a bloody mess of a good time, and you would be right. In July 2021, SyFy released the gory as all hell teaser trailer that shows off the tone and violence of the upcoming horror series while also introducing viewers to some of the characters with whom they’ll be spending so much time (well, hopefully). Check the trailer out for yourself, but make sure you have an empty stomach because there’s one shot that looks like a certain scene from RoboCop.

Well, that all certainly sounds like a good time and hopefully makes you all the more excited to check out the Day of the Dead TV show when it debuts in October on SyFy. If you want to get a head start on everything else coming to the small screen later this year, check out our Fall 2021 TV schedule.

Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.