George Romero’s disdain for The Walking Dead continues. Recall that a few years back, the director of the Living Dead trilogy and the godfather of the zombie genre was asked to direct a few episodes of the AMC series. He declined, saying “basically it’s just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally. I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism and I find that missing in what’s happening now.”
He wasn’t entirely wrong. While zombie genre is still effectively used for political criticism in shows like In the Flesh or movies like 28 Days Later, it has also evolved a lot because of The Walking Dead. Instead of using zombies to satirize politics, zombies are now used as a backdrop to tell character-based stories. I’m sure in 1968 when Romero directed Night of the Living Dead he never imagined that a zombie would be the lead character in a network television procedural, but here we are in 2017 and iZombie just wrapped its third season. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead is heading into its eighth season and has a spin-off series in its third season, and the closest either has gotten to being political are the occasional racist characters.