We’ve gathered the best series that feature apocalyptic scenarios and/or flesh-eating creatures.
Ever since its premiere back in 2010, The Walking Dead has maintained its status as one of the most popular shows around. Adapted from the comic books of the same name, the series excels at building tension and delivering a generous helping of gore year after year, as new threats loom over the people who inhabit its post-apocalyptic landscape. Besides bloody action scenes, The Walking Dead also thrives on character development, ensuring each season makes fans more and more invested in the flawed, yet compelling characters we’ve come to know and love.
If the trailer for Season 9 is any indication, the next instalment in the series will be a doozy. Scheduled to premiere in October, the new season will feature a time jump and will centre on Rick Grimes' struggles to maintain peaceful civilisation, while also introducing the Whisperers, whom you’re already familiar with if you’ve read the comics. Moreover, this will also be Andrew Lincoln’s final season on the show, so it will be interesting to see how his character will exit and how the star’s departure will impact the franchise overall.
October is still a long way away, so it’s normal to seek out something to hold you off in the meantime. We’ve got your back. Here are 15 shows The Walking Dead fans can binge-watch while awaiting the return of Rick & Co.
1. Fear the Walking Dead
Obviously, you can’t go wrong with this one. A prequel of The Walking Dead, the series follows a dysfunctional family as they navigate the world during the onset of the apocalypse. They need to develop new skills quickly in order to survive, as civilisation is slowly collapsing. The show provides a smart way to extend the universe, especially since it’s initially set in Los Angeles, hence able to give another perspective on the global crisis.
Fear the Walking Dead is a subtler offering than the original, focusing more on existential dread than full-on gore, as one may expect at the beginning of the apocalypse. Thankfully, it more than manages to stand on its own thanks to great storylines and excellent characters, proving that the creators were interested in telling an original tale instead of simply milking the franchise for all its worth. You can stream Fear the Walking Dead on Foxtel Now.
- Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark
- Colman Domingo as Victor Strand
- Kim Dickens as Madison Clark
- Frank Dillane as Nick Clark
Click to buy Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1 from iTunes StoreView details
Besides zombies, iZombie doesn’t have much in common with The Walking Dead. It’s a lighter take on the zombie genre, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of your attention. In fact, it’s perfect for when you’re craving a clever dramedy that still offers the occasional serving of gore, with a healthy helping of wit and satire on the side.
iZombie centres on Liv Moore (get it?), a zombie who takes a job at the city morgue to sustain her brainy diet. Eating the brains causes her to get visions from victims’ lives, so she starts to work with the police to solve murders and preserve her humanity in the process. Despite its procedural elements, there’s more to iZombie than meets the eye. The show’s exceptional world-building, for one, should be reason enough to tune in. You can stream the delightful series on Stan.
- Rose McIver as Olivia Moore
- Malcolm Goodwin as Clive Babineaux
- Rahul Kohli as Ravi Chakrabarti
- Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite
Click to buy iZombie, Season 1 from iTunes StoreView details
3. Z Nation
Set a few years into a zombie apocalypse, Z Nation focuses on the humans’ efforts to find a cure for the deadly virus. The show follows a ragtag team as they struggle to transport the only known survivor of a zombie bite to a lab, since his blood contains antibodies that are mankind's last and best hope for a vaccine. What they don’t know is that the survivor also harbours a secret that could put them all in incredible danger.
The best thing about Z Nation is that it leans heavily into its premise. There’s plenty of violence and blood for fans of the genre to relish in, plus the occasional twist and scare meant to spice things up. Although formulaic at times, the series delivers a fun and action-packed narrative, which is enough to forgive the sometime mediocre acting or unavoidable clichés. It’s not a deep meditation on the human condition, but the show’s often spectacular visuals provide enough reason to give Z Nation a chance. Stream it on Netflix.
- Russell Hodgkinson as Doc
- Keith Allan as Murphy
- Kellita Smith as Lt. Roberta Warren
Click to buy Z Nation from iTunes from iTunes StoreView details
Outcast was created by Robert Kirkman, the man behind The Walking Dead, so expectations were high ahead of the show’s premiere. Thankfully, Outcast delivers. The show follows a troubled young man, Kyle, whose entire life has been plagued by demons. We’re not talking metaphorically here, the demons are very much real and have the ability to possess people and such. He will soon team up with the local priest, as the two discover that Kyle might have the ability to defeat the malevolent beings.
A well-crafted horror series, Outcast offers an emotionally complex story, while also managing to maintain the creepy factor throughout its first two seasons. It’s daring television, especially recommended for horror fans who prefer their characters with more depth than the genre usually requires. You can stream the series on Foxtel Now.
- Patrick Fugit as Kyle Barnes
- Philip Glenister as Reverend John Anderson
- Wrenn Schmidt as Megan Holter
- Reg E. Cathey as Chief Giles
Click to buy Outcast, Season 1 from iTunes StoreView details
5. Under the Dome
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Under the Dome centres on the residents of a small town, who find themselves suddenly trapped under a massive and transparent dome. Military forces try to destroy the dome, but fail miserably. As a result, the town residents need to figure out how to survive while being cut off from the rest of the world, with diminishing resources and rising tensions.
An engaging series with great special effects, Under the Dome benefits from a tight script and engaging atmosphere. It’s a fascinating look at how people would react under these peculiar circumstances, as food becomes scarce, there’s no power and no-one has any idea what the deal with the giant dome is. If you’re into suspenseful mysteries with a touch of horror, you’ll love this one. Stream it on Stan.
- Mike Vogel as Dale 'Barbie' Barbara
- Rachelle Lefevre as Julia Shumway
- Alexander Koch as James 'Junior' Rennie
- Colin Ford as Joe McAlister
Click to buy Under the Dome, Season 1 from iTunes StoreView details
6. Santa Clarita Diet
Although recommending a comedy to The Walking Dead fans can seem counterintuitive, the premise of this delightful series makes it a great pick for when you crave your zombies with a side of laughter. Santa Clarita Diet follows the Hammonds, a typical middle-class family with a big secret: out of the blue, the mum develops a strong craving for raw meat. As a result, the family must band together to help her gorge on human flesh without alerting the authorities.
Thanks to a hilarious script and a great cast, the series quickly stands out as an engaging entry in the zombie TV landscape. Plus, there’s enough gore to satisfy horror fans, as long as they have the stomach for it. Santa Clarita Diet is available to stream on Netflix.
- Drew Barrymore as Sheila Hammond
- Timothy Olyphant as Joel Hammond
- Liv Hewson as Abby Hammond
- Skyler Gisondo as Eric Bemis
7. The 100
When it comes to post-apocalyptic series it’s easy to rely on clichés to tell a universal story. The 100, though, is a high-concept show that only gets better with age, proving there’s still plenty of territory to explore within the genre. The action takes place years after a nuclear apocalypse wiped out almost all life on Earth, when a group of 100 post-apocalyptic survivors return to the planet from a space habitat to see if conditions have improved. They soon discover that they’re not alone, which only makes matters more complicated.
The 100 is a lively and entertaining drama, with enough tension and suspense to ensure you’ll be compelled to press "next episode". While it may look like your typical sci-fi teen show at first glance, it’s much grittier than the marketing suggests, so The Walking Dead enthusiasts should feel right in their comfort zone binge-watching this one. You can stream The 100 on Netflix.
- Paige Turco as Dr. Abigail Griffin
- Bob Morley as Bellamy Blake
- Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia Blake
- Henry Ian Cusick as Marcus Kane
Click to buy The 100, Season 1 from iTunes StoreView details
8. The Strain
Zombies and vampires are pretty different breeds of monsters, but the tone of this gory show will definitely appeal to The Walking Dead fans. With a pilot directed by Guillermo del Torro, The Strain quickly establishes itself as a fun and gruesome B-grade horror show, one that completely rejects the idea that vampires can be sexy. In fact, they’re pretty terrifying.
When a virus seemingly kills all passengers and crew on an inbound flight, a CDC team is sent to investigate. Surprisingly, four passengers are found alive, but still infected, and it soon becomes clear that the virus transforms its victims into vampires. As a result, the team has to find a way to stop the virus from spreading, which would cause mayhem in New York. You can purchase The Strain from digital retailers like Google Play.
- Corey Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather
- David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian
- Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet
- Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer
Click to buy The Strain, Season 1 from iTunes StoreView details
9. The Last Man on Earth
With an intriguing take on the post-apocalyptic genre, The Last Man on Earth is an ambitious series that tries to answer a universal question – what would you do if the entire population of the planet suddenly died as a result of a deadly virus? Left completely alone, Phil Miller, a pretty average guy, tries to make the most of his solitude, but eventually realises that living without company is not exactly worth the trouble, so he contemplates the idea of taking his own life. Thankfully, he encounters another unlikely survivor of the apocalypse, a woman named Carol. Soon enough, more people will start to show up.
It’s hard to make a comedy about surviving in a post-apocalyptic society, but The Last Man on Earth hilariously pulls it off, while also managing to explore deeper themes like loneliness and the need for human connection. You can purchase the show from digital retailers like iTunes and Google Play.
- Will Forte as Phil Tandy Miller
- Kristen Schaal as Carol Pilbasian
- January Jones as Melissa Chartres
- Mel Rodriguez as Todd Rodriguez
Click to buy Last Man On Earth, Season 1 from iTunes StoreView details
10. The Leftovers
The action in The Leftovers takes place a few years after the Sudden Departure, an event that caused the disappearance of 2% of the human population, or roughly 140 million people. No one knows why. As a result, mainstream religion suffered a massive hit, with cults slowly taking its place. The show follows a small-town family as they try to recover after the Rapture-like event.
This well-acted series is incredibly thought-provoking, showcasing how difficult it would be to maintain order and sanity following a mass trauma. It may lack The Walking Dead’s zombie-killing gore, but it pulls you in thanks to its engaging storylines and suffocating atmosphere, as the characters always seem to be on the verge of a breakdown. In other words, the series is the best kind of tense, although you might forget that laughter is real if you binge too many episodes at a time. Stream The Leftovers on Foxtel Now.
- Justin Theroux as Kevin Garvey
- Amy Brenneman as Laurie Garvey
- Christopher Eccleston as Matt Jamison
- Chris Zylka as Tom Garvey
Buy The Leftovers from iTunes from iTunes StoreView details
10. Wynonna Earp
This riveting western/paranormal series follows Wynonna, Wyatt Earp's heir, who returns to her home town of Purgatory to protect it from demons. She teams up with her sister and a couple of other oddballs to take out Revenants, which are the resurrected souls of the criminals who were once killed by her great-grandfather.
On the surface, Wynonna Earp looks like gritty, supernatural fun. Dig deeper, though, and you’ll discover that the show has a lot of heart as well, mostly thanks to the emphasis it puts on developing Wynonna’s relationship with her sister. Plus, the series features a gang of unlikely heroes kicking butt and taking names, as well as a healthy dose of humour. You could do worse. Wynonna Earp is available on Netflix.
- Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp
- Tim Rozon as Doc Holliday
- Dominique Provost-Chalkley as Waverly Earp
- Katherine Barrell as Nicole Haught
Click to buy Wynonna Earp, Series 1 from iTunes StoreView details
Preacher is more high-concept than The Walking Dead, but the two series have a lot in common when it comes to both tone and violence. Based on the comic book series of the same name, this bizarre series centres on Jesse Custer, a minister who becomes possessed by a supernatural force that grants him a very special ability. As a result, he teams up with his ex-girlfriend and with a vampire to figure out what his new ability means and how to best make use of it.
Gory and visually stunning, Preacher takes its sweet time to establish its premise. If you’re patient for a little while, though, you’ll soon find that the show is a dark and thrilling ride, relying on much more than bloody violence to draw viewers in. You can stream Preacher on Stan.
- Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer
- Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy
- Ruth Negga as Tulip O'Hare
- Ian Colletti as Arseface
Watch Preacher with iTunes from iTunes StoreView details
12. The Rain
A more recent entry in the post-apocalyptic TV landscape, The Rain takes place six years after a deadly virus carried by rain wipes out almost all humans in Scandinavia. Two siblings leave the safety of their bunker to look for their father and explore the dangerous outside world in search of someone able to provide answers and hopefully, a cure.
The Danish series is dark and fast-paced, offering a grim, yet fascinating look at a complex dystopian world where people are desperate to survive. Moreover, The Rain is worth checking out for the setting alone, as the fictional Scandinavian hellscape is gorgeous to look at. The show is available to stream on Netflix.
- Alba August as Simone
- Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen as Rasmus
- Mikkel Boe Følsgaard as Martin
- Lukas Løkken as Patrick
13. Ash vs Evil Dead
This bloody delightful series is a sort-of sequel to the 1981 cult horror-comedy-film franchise Evil Dead. Set approximately 30 years after the original films, the show sees Bruce Campbell reprising his role as Ash Williams, who reluctantly takes on a mission to save the world from the Evil Dead, with a little help from a couple of scrappy sidekicks.
Ash vs Evil Dead is outrageous and hilarious, which makes it particularly appealing for those who revel in The Walking Dead’s blood-drenched scenes. Furthermore, its wit provides some much-needed levity as viewers are constantly bombarded with exceedingly gruesome scenes. You can stream Ash vs Evil Dead on Stan.
- Bruce Campbell as Ashley 'Ash' J. Williams
- Ray Santiago as Pablo Simon Bolivar
- Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell
- Lucy Lawless as Ruby Knowby
Click to buy Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Season 1 from iTunes StoreView details
14. Lost in Space
A modern reimagining of the classic 1960s science fiction series, Lost in Space follows the Robinsons, one of the families selected to make a new life for themselves in a better world. However, when they abruptly go off course en route to their new home in space, they have to figure out how to survive in a dangerous alien environment.
Despite being set in space, this captivating series has one big thing in common with The Walking Dead, the characters are fighting for survival. They need to figure out how to forge alliances and who to trust, which isn’t easy when you’re under so much pressure. Plus, the series is slick and engaging, with top-notch special effects and a talented cast. Stream it on Netflix.
- Molly Parker as Maureen Robinson
- Toby Stephens as John Robinson
- Maxwell Jenkins as Will Robinson
- Taylor Russell as Judy Robinson
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