The Walking Dead has enjoyed a long and rocky run. It has, at times, been the highest rated series on television. But it has also faced some controversy, with a lot of viewers tuning out indefinitely after that insanely violent Season 7 premiere in which Glenn’s head was turned to goo by Negan and his baseball bat, Lucille.
On the whole, though, it’s been a heck of a ride, with a mostly dedicated fan base and plenty of critical acclaim along the way. So, between seasons of the fight against walkers and corrupted humans alike, here are 9 Shows To Watch If You Like The Walking Dead.
9 Santa Clarita Diet
If you enjoy the combination of gore and everyday situations in The Walking Dead – where a father will tell his son off for swearing in between aggressively decapitating the undead together – then look no further than Netflix’s horror comedy series Santa Clarita Diet.
It’s about a suburban couple, played by Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore, whose lives are turned upside down when the wife is infected with a parasite that turns her into, essentially, a living zombie. She isn’t dead, but she can’t eat regular food. If it’s not human flesh, she vomits it back up. The show’s aired two seasons so far, with a third on the way later this year.
8 Z Nation
Z Nation is the lighter version of The Walking Dead. It’s what The Walking Dead would be like if it didn’t take itself so seriously. One of the criticisms of TWD is its lack of humor, as it presents the post-apocalyptic world as a bleak and miserable one.
Z Nation presents a counter-argument: a zombie apocalypse is such a wacky thing to happen that people would crack jokes about it as they figure out exactly what it means to be undead. If anything, in its decisive silliness, Z Nation presents an even more realistic look at a potential zombie apocalypse than TWD does.
7 Stranger Things
Netflix’s science fiction drama about the strange happenings in a small Indiana town has the same combination of thrills, scares, action, camaraderie, romance, and heart that The Walking Dead has. Instead of facing an uprising of the dead, the kids in Stranger Things face monsters from another dimension entirely – but the story is just as compelling.
Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, and Winona Ryder lead a spectacular cast in a series that will shock you, terrify you, intrigue you, and warm your heart just as much as The Walking Dead does. It has the same number of meme-worthy moments, too.
6 Falling Skies
This TNT series from executive producer Steven Spielberg is basically The Walking Dead with aliens instead of zombies. Instead of an uprising of the dead, a hostile extra-terrestrial force invades Earth. Like TWD, the show focuses on a band of survivors trying to stay alive.
Their leader, Tom Mason, is basically Rick Grimes Lite. However, while Falling Skies may be similar in premise to The Walking Dead, it has Spielberg’s Amblin fingerprints all over it. Any fan of The Walking Dead – or Steven Spielberg – needs to check out this show.
While there are no zombies in this one, it does have a similar premise of a group of survivors teaming up after a catastrophic event to face an uncertain future together. In Lost, a plane crashes on a mysterious island where there are polar bears in the jungle and a strange black cloud of smoke floating around.
Led by a doctor named Jack Shephard, they build a life on the island, while also trying to figure out a way home. They also learn that they’re not alone. Like TWD, the other groups of humans in Lost are far more sinister and threatening than the supernatural forces.
4 The Leftovers
This HBO drama was plagued by low ratings for two seasons, but when the network tried to cancel it, the show’s small fan base kicked up such a fuss that they relented and allowed it to come back for a third and final year. It’s set in a world where 2% of the world’s population randomly disappeared in an event called “the Sudden Departure.”
Neither science nor religion can explain it, and if 2% doesn’t sound like a lot, that’s the point. It’s just enough for the world to freak out, but not enough for things to get too silly or far-fetched. This is a post-apocalyptic show without the bleak, decimated landscapes. It has the post-apocalyptic mentality without the post-apocalyptic aesthetics. It’s a post-apocalyptic story set in a world we recognize. It’s a very psychologically draining (and brilliant) show.
3 Fear the Walking Dead
This one is a no-brainer, since it’s set in the same universe. The whole show exists because AMC wanted to give Walking Dead fans another show to watch when that one was off-season. It was made in the first place to be included on lists like this one.
It even has some characters from The Walking Dead popping in and out of it – it’s the perfect show for Walking Dead fans to watch. This spin-off got off to a slow start, but from its second season onwards, it was just as engaging, just as dramatic, and scary as the flagship show itself.
2 Game of Thrones
Ah, the other high-concept genre series everyone’s telling you to watch. HBO’s blend of sex, violence, gore, and medieval fantasy is gearing up for its final season, which will bring one of television’s most curious and beloved creations to a definitive end. If you’ve somehow missed it, there’s still time to catch up in time for the series finale!
It’s not a fantasy series -- it’s a series about human characters with real, relatable lives that just happens to be set in a fantasy world. That’s why it’s become so popular, and it’s also what makes it so similar to TWD. Oh, and it also has zombies.
Like The Walking Dead, Outcast is a TV adaptation of a comic book series created by Robert Kirkman, except Kirkman was more heavily involved in this one. Whereas Frank Darabont shepherded The Walking Dead to the small screen, Kirkman himself shepherded this one.
It was canceled by Cinemax after just two seasons, but for those two seasons, it was a cult hit. It’s a supernatural horror drama series about the struggles of being possessed by a demonic force. It might not be as masterfully made as The Exorcist, but it is just as chilling.