Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be any more zombie content on TV, CBS goes and throws a curveball. The network decided this week that it is finally getting into the zombie genre, following in the footsteps of The Walking Dead, In The Flesh and iZombie. In CBS’ case, the network is adapting Stefan Petrucha’s Dead Mann Walking for the small screen.
At first glance, Dead Mann Walking doesn’t seem like it would necessarily be a good fit for CBS, a network known for procedurals and tons of laugher comedies. However, once you delve into the plot, the zombie drama totally makes sense. In fact, Dead Mann Walking will be a procedural, following a police detective who is executed for murdering his wife and is brought back to life to become a private investigator. Obviously, this show will be set in the future where such miracle life-inducing drugs exist. Just as obviously, this is CBS, so our protagonist won’t be a dude who actually killed his wife. Instead, he was framed and will be on the lookout for the real killer.
This won’t be a zombie drama of The Walking Dead kill-‘em-on-sight variety. Instead it should be theoretically closer to the CW's iZombie, as our undead private investigator stumbles on mysteries and solves cases while still having a personal life. THR reports that Dead Mann Walking is still in the early stages of moving forward, but executive producers are signed on and a script is being written.
It’s the creative team that makes us pretty hopeful for this project. Continuum creator Simon Barry is actually on board to write the script and executive produce the potential project. He’s signed on with Stephen Hegye to perform executive producing duties. We already know he’s a good fit for futuristic storytelling with a procedural bent, as Continuum thrived for four years over at Syfy before ending its run just last month on the cable network. We know Barry is pretty solid at the storytelling aspect--although no would accuse him of making prestige TV—and with a bigger budget, who knows what he could do?
It’s still really early in the pilot-to-series process to tell if this one will move forward with CBS. At this point it feels like we’re on the downward portion of the zombie trend, so Dead Mann Walking may not be a huge priority for the network. On the bright side, the potential drama does seem to fit CBS model really well and if it can command some of the same traffic that Walking Dead gets, it could be sitting pretty on the schedule next year. We’ll let you know if it moves forward to pilot and some actual actors actually get cast for this one.
In the meantime, you can get your zombie fix on Sunday nights over at AMC. And you can get your procedural fix nearly any night of the week over at CBS. In addition, here’s what has yet to hit the schedule this fall.