Editor-screenwriter David Scott Smith recently sent me four episodes of Dead Island, a kind of comic video-game component. This led to me wonder if anyone has tried to create a TV or cable series about a family of flesh-eating ghouls called…I don’t know but let’s call them The Munchies. Call it a cross between The Munsters, The Addams Family, True Blood and The Flintstones.
A series about a typical suburban family living in some ghastly tract-home development (or in an upscale trailer park), except they’re zombies who need to occasionally prowl around and eat fresh victims. They could be mindlessly consumptive nouveau riche types living in a zombie McMansion. Most of the neighbors think they’re a quirky, strange-looking family with the gray skin and dead eyes and all, and one or two neighbors are starting to figure out who and what they really are. This sounds like a no-brainer to me. I’m presuming somebody has written a pilot along these lines….but maybe not.
Twenty years ago I tried to write a weekly Hannibal Lecter TV series pilot in which Lecter wanders from town to town and situation to situation like Caine in Kung Fu or Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, getting into inrigues and adventures and helping people with their problems. The stories usually boil down to this or that sympathetic character being victimized or harassed or threatened by some asshole, and Lecter solving things at the end of each episode by killing and eating the victimizer-harasser-threatener. Simple formula. Why didn’t a good screenwriter (i.e., someone unlike myself) as least try this?
I’ve learned over time that if there’s a semi-original idea or a concept I’m excited or intrigued by, the odds are that it won’t fly with producers or studio or network people. Many of my story ideas need to simmer for five or ten or even twenty years before they make sense to others. My Nothing magazine idea — “a series of snide, lighthearted riffs on the notion that glib irony and an increasing absence of sincerity or ‘meaning’ in the arts had virused into a kind of existential fast-food that everyone was consuming” — was hatched in 1979 or ’80, and only now, I think, would people really get it.