This past October, AMC’s The Walking Dead infested the world. After premiering to over 5 million viewers, the television landscape has now experienced the same fanatic fervor that has resonated throughout the film world for over 50 years.
While many will say that they watch The Walking Dead for the wonderful storylines, amazing visual stylings and suspenseful cliffhangers, the real reason – whether you’ll admit to it or not – is that you want to be prepared for a zombie apocalypse, in case it actually happens.
Each episode, while entertaining as ever, provides viewers with even more insight into the zombie mythos and helps build your preparedness for the eventful day where the undead will walk among us.
Keeping with the theme of television’s zombie avengers, we searched through the vast television landscape and put together an all-star list of people who you’d want to have on your side in case of a zombie apocalypse.
With any list, we have to use a set of rules in order to select these zombie survivalists. Here are ours:
- It must be a real-life TV personality. Fictional characters aren’t allowed (Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural or Clark Kent from Smallville just wouldn’t be fair).
- They must be the best possible choice for their specific role/ area of expertise (excluding “The Secret Weapon”).
- They must be able to actually survive a zombie attack.
In any good zombie film, the characters are affectionately thrown into a set of familiar roles. These are the roles that we have chosen for our team:
- “The Leader”
- “The Expert”
- “The Weaponizer”
- “The Inventor”
- “The Scavengers”
- “The Secret Weapon”
With that, we give you television’s all-star zombie survival team.
The All-Star TV Personality Zombie Survival Team
“The Leader” – Les Stroud (Survivorman)
Who better to kick off the all-star zombie survival team of TV personalities (and fill the much need spot of a leader) than a man that risked his own life to show the television viewing audience how to survive in situations that (hopefully) nobody will ever find themselves in.
For three seasons and twenty-three episodes of Survivorman, Les Stroud has done as his series’ title suggests and survived in the Earth’s most barren landscapes, frigid snow-covered wildernesses and dangerous animal- laden territories.
More importantly, he did it alone.
As other television survival experts have brought controversy with staged situations, hidden flotation devices and comfortable nights sleeping in a hotel, Stroud has been stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a hefty bag of camera gear and left to survive on wits alone.
Sure, Stroud also carried a satellite phone, which could connect him with production crews that were dozens of miles away. Unfortunately, when you’re in the middle of nowhere, cell phone service – even of the satellite variety – isn’t as reliable as you may think.
While Stroud has never actually combated zombies, much of his survival knowledge will come in handy after the apocalypse turns your loved ones into the flesh-eating undead. Most importantly, and impressively, Stroud succeeded with the task of not only surviving, but doing so while also filming his endeavor – with multiple camera angles.
That type of production would be grueling on anyone in average circumstances, but while also having to survive on turtle feet and dirty water… it should have been impossible – that is, unless you were a clear-headed, advanced-planning Canadian like Les Stroud. For these reasons and all his accomplishments, Stroud is “The Leader” of our zombie survival team.
Check your local listing for reruns of Survivor and Beyond Survival with Les Stroud.
Of course, even the best planning in the world wouldn’t be of any use without prior knowledge of what exactly you’re up against… They need “The Expert.”
“The Expert” – Josh Gates (Destination Truth)
What do the Orang Pendek, Aswang and Kikiyaon have in common? Besides being some of the worst baby names in the history of the world, they also represent three horrific mythological beasts that Josh Gates has attempted to track down in four seasons of Destination Truth.
With a degree in archeology, a taste for adventure and just a little bit of sheer madness, Gates has spent the past four years trying to track down over 80 beasts that make up some of the world’s most prolific legends.
While one my easily dismiss Gates as someone who has continuously attempted to track down monsters that more than likely don’t exist, one has to admit that it takes some real machismo to chase after any creature where they’re presumed to live, in the middle of the dark.
Sure, 99% of these creatures most likely are just urban legends and don’t actually exist in the wild, but it’s that 1%… that slight chance that Gates might come face to face with the Chullachaqui of Peru or New Zealand’s Giant Moa that makes him ready to battle any zombie.
In fact, Gates has already prepared himself for taking on the undead by traveling to Guam in the fourth season finale of Destination Truth to track down, you guessed it…. ZOMBIES!
Even though numerous feature films and The Walking Dead have made everyone pseudo zombie experts, there’s nothing that’s going to compare to real-life experience… or, at the very least, preparation for a possible real-life experience.
For all his knowledge and real-world experience with mythical beasts, Josh Gates is “The Expert.”
New episodes of Destination Truth will air in 2011, on SyFy.
Of course, even with the knowledge of Josh Gates and leadership/survival skills of Les Stroud, they’re going to need some firepower… They need “The Weaponizer.”
“The Weaponizer” – Richard “Mack” Machowicz (Future Weapons)
After spending 10 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, Richard “Mack” Machowicz took on the task of showing television audiences some of the world’s latest and greatest weaponry and military technology in Future Weapons.
From the infamous corner-shot, the electromagnetic rail gun to the most important Zombie defense weapon ever created, the automatic shotgun, Machowicz has prided himself being trained in not just some weapons, but all weapons. That means, if you sat down and created a weapon today, Machowicz would be able to use it… perfectly.
On top of that, Machowicz is also a trained Naval Special Warfare scout/sniper and a certified instructor in the Naval Special Warfare combat fighting instructor course. What if the zombies know Muay Thai and want to get all MMA, you ask? No need to worry. Not only is Machowicz trained in Muay Thai, but also Jeet Kune Do, kickboxing, Aikido, Jujutsu, Savate, Arnie and, oh yeah, Karate.
What does this mean? Not only could Machowicz take down a zombie-laden Ralph Macchio, but he could do so with any weapon… or bare-handed. Well, perhaps not bare-handed. I’m sure Josh Gates would remind Machowicz that you don’t really want your skin exposed to these undead monstrosities.
For these reasons amazing accomplishments, Richard Machowicz is most definitely “The Weaponizer.”
Richard Machowicz will host the third season of Deadliest Warriors, on Spike TV.
Although, with the world in shambles and weapons no longer readily available, our zombie all-star team might need someone who could make weapons. Not only that, but they may need someone who can create almost anything out of nothing. What they need is “The Inventor.”
John Cohn (The Colony: Season 1) – “The Inventor”
While John Cohn may easily be the lowest profile all-star in the group, he is certainly the most resourceful. For almost three months, Cohn lived a simulated, yet completely realistic life of survival on the first season of Discovery’s The Colony.
During that time, the Carnegie Mellon University and M.I.T. alum single-handedly built a gasifier, a flamethrower, a taser, a spark-gap transmitter, a tesla coil, an ozonator and a mechanism that would allow their found solar panels to track and move with the sun. On top of it all, he built all of these amazing creations out of junk that was just laying around.
Currently, the self-described mad scientist is the Chief Scientist for Design Automation at IBM and 1 of the only 67 IBM fellows (the top most rank scientists) in IBM’s technical community of over 200,000.
If Cohn’s proven genius on The Colony isn’t enough, check out what this famed inventor had to say when I asked him how he’d do in a zombie apocalypse:
“I feel I’d survive pretty well in the zombie apocalypse. Being the neurotic, liberal nice guy I am, I think I’d first try to reason with the un-dead [and] if that didn’t work, I’d shoot them through with a air powered flaming javelin that was long enough to pin them in place. You don’t want flaming zombies running around and catching your house on fire.”
For a man who has accomplished everything he has put his mind to, the simple fact of Cohn telling me that he’d survive a zombie apocalypse makes me believe that he most certainly would. For these reasons, his amazing accomplishments and genius mind, John Cohn is “The Inventor.”
No word yet if The Colony has been picked up for a third season on Discovery.
Unfortunately, with zombies running the world and resources in short supply, what good would a genius inventor be without any items to use for his creations. Thankfully, we have “The Scavengers.”
“The Scavengers” – Mike Wolfe & Frank Fritz (American Pickers)
If you’re unfamiliar with the terms “honey hole” or a “mega-pick,” you might not know our two would-be scavengers. For two seasons on American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have proven that they’re able to find a proverbial needle in a haystack of junk.
Traveling across the country with an iconic van in tow, Wolfe and Fritz have not only seen almost every item that the America’s could contain, they also have an extensive knowledge about each item.
In a world overrun with zombies, being able to know what items you’ll be able to find in certain parts of the country by simply looking at the house is priceless. Not matter how well you’re able to handle a firearm or lead a group, survival will be almost impossible without being able to track down the world’s last remaining resources.
On top of that, Wolfe and Fritz are also some of the best negotiators around. So, if there happens to be another group of survivors that are in the mood to trade, you’ll hear these experts yell “I’ll pop on that” and in the end, the final price will always be in their favor… no matter what.
There is no better pair to rely on for your resource gathering during a zombie apocalypse. Which is why, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are “The Scavengers.”
American Pickers airs Mondays @9pm, on The History Channel.
Even though we have now assembled completely rounded-out team of all-star survivors, there’s still someone missing. Someone that could do anything and everything. Someone with a wonderful baritone voice. Someone that we affectionately call “The Secret Weapon.”
“The Secret Weapon” – Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs)
If there is a job to be done, Mike Rowe has done it. How well he does that job is another story. After 140 episodes of Dirty Jobs, Rowe has traveled across the country doing some of the worst jobs known to man.
Whether it be a worm dung farmer, a diaper cleaner or an animal barber, Rowe is most certainly the closest thing you’ll get to a human Swiss Army knife. What more could anyone ask for when the zombies come a running, er, walking slowly, with their arm stretched out.
While it’s great to have experts in a specific field, there’s something reassuring about having someone who is a jack of all trades. Rowe could not only pick up the slack of any of our previous experts, he could also provide some great narration to the current events… like he has done for many years on Ghost Hunters, American Chopper, Deadliest Catch and countless other Craig Piligian-produced series.
For these reasons and his overall manliness, Mike Rowe is “The Secret Weapon.”
Dirty Jobs airs Tuesdays @9pm, on Discovery.
With our all-star team now assembled, would-be zombie invaders had better take notice: This team will be out for vindication and could single-handedly save the human race (well, what’s left of it). No matter how much dirty zombie blood has to be spilled.
As with any list, this is completely subjective. While we tried to put together who we best thought should be included, there’s no doubt that everyone’s list will be different – albeit only slightly, of course.
This list may not be perfect, but if (when?) the zombie apocalypse does occur, I’ll hide safely behind this team… good luck with yours.
The first season finale of The Walking Dead airs Sunday, December 5th 2010 @10pm, on AMC.