‘Zombieverse’ Review & Ending: Netflix Korean Reality Show Tries To Be New But Is Really Not


The fact is that everything that needs to be said, reframed, or updated has been done many times over. However, that is far from the reason for the obvious death of imagination that we continue to see signs of on every conceivable platform. It is that the creators are not trying to come up with something new as much as they are trying to keep coming up with something. When someone said that “no idea is a bad idea,” they meant it as part of the process and not that every mediocre or terrible idea should get the seal of approval.

Coming to Zombieverse, we will admit that there was something to the idea. Nobody really believes that the reality stars are actually caught in a world where humans are turning into the undead. It is a cross between a series, a reality show, and a zombie apocalypse training camp where nobody cares about the fourth wall. It is unfair to say that this was badly conceived. For some reason, we all love zombies and cannot get enough content surrounding them. That itself makes Zombieverse a genuinely new spin to an old tale. But the major flaw of this series is that it overindulged itself. Four episodes would have been enough, and in fact, that would have been ideal. Yet, by dragging it out for eight long episodes, any possible charm or humor of the show was destroyed. Allow us to explain what we mean.

The format of Zombieverse is not a secret. Everyone knows that this is a reality show, minus the hosts. We know it is not a series or a movie; basically, it is not a story. We understand the jumbled-up format, which means that we don’t really take anything happening on screen seriously. We don’t feel bad for the deaths that happen; we are not worried that the main characters who were bitten will actually turn into zombies, and in fact, the ill-meaning villagers who show up in the later episodes don’t scare us. There is absolutely no emotional investment, which means that there is no incentive to watch eight long hours of this show.

Additionally, don’t we recognize the plotlines that Zombieverse was trying to introduce in its narrative: having to fight an army of zombies for food and supplies, road trips in a new world, losing people for inconsequential things, and sinister villages where nothing is as it seems. It felt like entire seasons of “The Walking Dead” were condensed into single episodes, and that would have been fine if the mentioned show was not as old as a decade.

What makes stories set in a zombie or any other apocalyptic world so interesting is that they bring out the true nature of humans. That is what makes it all so gritty. Take the recent example of The Last Of Us. The Cordyceps infection may have been the driving force of the story, but the story itself was one of human love and sacrifice, which is what made people watch it. Our point is that why did the makers of Zombieverse not recognize this and tweak the show accordingly? Did we really need to see the hosts navigate a fake zombie world where no one is even attempting to convince us that it is all real? In fact, this may have worked a lot better if it had been executed as a parody. Why were the hosts not making jokes about their allergies and meal plans? That must have gone for a toss when people became the undead. Everyone had on perfect makeup, and Tsuki’s pretty pink nails always caught our attention. Why was there no joke about that, and finally, why did they all not try to pretend to dislike each other, as the rumors of showbiz go? That would have been fun to watch.

Finally, while some people stood out more from the rest, absolutely none of them exuded a strong personality. Why not present this as an actual game show rather than a fake one? The idea and the attempt were admirable, but overindulgence killed what could have been a great final result. If nothing else, the jokes should have been a lot better, considering that there were a few comedians in the group. Looking at some of the gags, we felt that Hindi TV serials have gained unnecessary disrepute for the “face zooming thrice” trope for dramatic effect. Korean reality shows might be worse, or maybe we ran out of patience because of the makers’ lack of effort to make things interesting. They even missed out on grubbing up the actors’ faces to maintain the facade that they had actually been on the run for a few days.

It may sound like we are only repeating ourselves, but Zombieverse is simply the case of one thing running everything. Maybe instead of 4 or 8 episodes, if the show had had six episodes, of which two were released each week, with the tweaked format as we mentioned above, this could have been a hit. Then there is another thing about which we are actually not sure how to feel. We are aware of the tendency of some Korean reality shows to explain, through text on screen, the hidden meanings and jokes behind the actions of the participants. However, we must ask, does that make things interesting, or is it proof of how boring it all is? Unless you are the subtitler who called out the audience for wanting to watch Jungkook “work up a sweat,” on Run BTS, is it ever really that funny?

During Zombieverse‘s ending, we saw some participants escape on the boat, after some very unconvincing drama, while some were left behind, due to their “waning” humanity. We suppose the finish was grand with the selfish guys getting on the wrong boat while the heroes finding the bus that turns into the real boat. This plot is actually great and is a perfect way to end the story with a flourish and a musical number. It almost makes up for the dullness before it

Zombieverse is certainly geared up for a Season 2, but we have big doubts about whether that will make any sense at all. To repeat ourselves, this was a fake show, which means that we are going to see the participants go about their daily lives outside of it all. Then watching them fight zombies in Season 2 would be senseless. This is different from watching actual actors on and off screen. We would consider Season 1 of Zombieverse a bust. Maybe if Season 2 comes up with an improved narrative, we will give it another chance.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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Zombieverse is certainly geared up for a Season 2, but we have big doubts about whether that will make any sense at all. 'Zombieverse' Review & Ending: Netflix Korean Reality Show Tries To Be New But Is Really Not