Three die-hard gamers find themselves in the middle of the zombie apocalypse and realize they have to use their gaming chops to survive, rescue their friends, and ultimately save the world.
Bite Me is a web series that pits socially-awkward, die-hard gamers against flesh-hungry zombies. Why are gamers qualified to fight zombies? Well, because they’ve honed their skills by killing zombies in video games! Bite Me was produced by Machinima, the “next-generation video entertainment network for the gamer lifestyle and beyond.” In 2010, the first season [5 episodes] drew over 14 million views, and was aired on the FEARnet cable network. In 2012, the second season [10 episodes] was co-produced by Machinima and Lionsgate, and was, again, aired on the FEARnet cable network. Bite Me was directed by Jarrett Lee Conaway, and written by Andy Shapiro and Bob Quinn. The web series starred Yousef Abu-Taleb (Jeff), Ryan Welsh (Mike), Justin Giddings (Greg), Risdon Roberts (Lauren), and Dani Lennon (Shawna). Season 1 also starred Phil Kruse (Devin), Erin Fitzgerald (Marcy), and Dustin Coffey (Brian); while season two also starred Morgan Benoit (Derrick) and Ricco Ross (General Joseph McRuby). Here’s my favorite character …
Shawna (Dani Lennon) in Bite Me
Shawna evolves from a “dumb slutty waitress” in season 1 to a bad-ass zombie killer in season 2, becoming more and more adorable with every episode. Some have joked that if she were to become a zombie in Bite Me, she would be known as Shawna the Dead. Shawna is played by Dani Lennon, whom I love for three reasons. First, she’s awesome as Shawna. Duh. Second, she has black hair. I love black hair. And, third, her name is Dani. Dani is my favorite girl name. Too many characters that I’ve written are named Dani. Anyway …
Bite Me, like SYNC and TRANSMISSION, is more proof that awesome serial entertainment exists outside of network and cable television; while Bite Me, like TRANSMISSION, is more proof that awesome zombie series exist apart from AMC’s The Walking Dead. This zom-com web series succeeds with a funny script, likable characters, and excellent performances from relatively unknown actors and actresses. Bite Me is a whole lot of gory fun if nothing else.
Episode 1: Outbreak [9:23]. We meet the future saviors of mankind. Jeff (gamertag: SplattrKing13) is a waiter, Mike (gamertag: BrainZnBulletz) is an office drone for I.D.C.A.P.R.S.A.F.D., and Greg (gamertag: VeganZombee88) is a sign waver. They’re gamers, friends and roommates. We also meet Marcy, the MILF who lives next door and who loves to tease Greg; Shawna, the hot girl who lives across the street whom Jeff wants to get with; and Devin, Shawna‘s douchebag boyfriend. Meanwhile, according to an emergency alert, the dead are rising. However, our characters are unaware of the outbreak, at first.
Episode 2: Dead Guy Rising [8:45]. After a marathon session of killing zombies in the video game Dead Rising 2, Jeff and Mike argue about Mike moving out to live with his girlfriend Lauren who makes him do exercise for sex. Later, Jeff and Greg interview a potential new roommate Brian, whom they found on Craigslist. However, the Craigslist guy quickly becomes a zombie. I love that Jeff, Mike and Greg argue about how the outbreak is never explained in zombie movies as a way to rationalize why none is given in Bite Me. My teens-vs-zombies screenplay was written without an explanation for the outbreak. It’s not necessary with a good story and/or strong characters.
Episode 3: Craigslist Guy [7:08]. Jeff and Greg are trapped in their house by the Craigslist guy, while Mike, on the way to exercise freak Lauren‘s house, finds a zombie on the road. Jeff and Greg manage to force the Craigslist guy into Mike‘s bedroom, just as Shawna drops by to see if they have some Red Bull for Devin‘s party. Jeff and Shawna have a brief moment as he walks her back across the street.
Episode 4: Night Vision [10:31]. Jeff and Greg are attacked by zombie MILF Marcy, at their house, while Mike, after facing zombies on the street, tries, in vain, to convince Lauren that the outbreak is real, but, a friend’s Facebook post does the job much to Mike’s confusion. Lauren wonders how Mike knows so much about surviving a zombie outbreak, and he tells her, “Because… I play video games!”
Episode 5: Night Makes a Stain [9:58]. Mike and Lauren make their way back to Jeff and Greg; and, later, Shawna and Devin join them, too, as the zombies from their party besiege the gamers’ house. Jeff, Mike and Greg fight off the assault with whatever weapons they find; while Devin cowers on the floor, forcing Jeff to save Shawna‘s life as a zombie attacks her. The season ends as the group bravely faces the rest of the horde outside. This episode is gory and action-packed, but, the best part is when Jeff, Mike and Greg argue about the different types of zombies. “Total fiction. Rigor mortis sets in way too early. They can’t move like that,” Greg mocks when Jeff mentions Zack Snyder sprinting zombies [i.e., Dawn of the Dead (2004)]. My friend Dan always defends that same argument. It’s funny that Greg and Dan can accept the fact that the dead have come back to life, but, refuse to believe that they can run fast because of rigor mortis! However, since rigor mortis sets in early but only lasts for about 24 hours, zombies should, in theory, start off as classic Night of the Living Dead shambling zombies and progress into Dawn of the Dead remake sprinting zombies. It makes sense. Oh, best line: “Stop! Stop! You stupid fucking bitch!!” Greg screams, mid-fight, watching as Lauren grabs the closest thing to her to use as a weapon. Everybody freezes, including the zombies. “What? She was gonna throw the X-Box,” he defends, calmly. The fight continues.
Watch the Bite Me season 1 trailer here …
Derrick (Morgan Benoit), Shawna (Dani Lennon), Jeff (Yousef Abu-Taleb), Mike (Ryan Welsh)
Episode 1: Continue! [14:04]. The die-hard gamers are back and the zombie outbreak is spreading fast! Jeff, Mike, Greg, Lauren, and Shawna escape via douchebag Devin‘s Hummer, but, with Devin‘s douchebag best friend Derrick. Devin was killed, we learn, via an animated summary. The crew decides they need to seek shelter. However, when Lauren‘s Facebook friend Lisa‘s apartment proves to be unsafe after Lisa (Jacquie Walters) becomes a zombie and Mike is forced to kill her, Jeff and Derrick stumble upon an abandoned warehouse.
Episode 2: Shot Gun [11:07]. Jeff, Mike, Greg and Derrick set off for supplies at Romero’s Pizza, but, are held captive by the owner. When a zombie attacks, someone records the crew kicking ass and the video goes viral getting the attention of the U.S. Army or, more precisely, the newly-created Zombie War Taskforce (Z-WTF). I love that the logo for the pizza place is a caricature of Night of the Living Dead director George Romero as a pizza.
Episode 3: Point of Entry [11:58]. The crew spends their first night in the warehouse, but, quickly realizes that they need to set traps to protect their new home. Jeff, Mike and Greg capture a cute Anime zombie girl (Amy Okuda) that Greg wants to keep alive and study. Jeff and Shawna share another sweet moment, alone, playing Resident Evil. Best line: “I’m a little confused about your confusion, actually,” Greg tells bitchy Lauren, after she wonders why he, Jeff and Mike returned with an X-Box instead of supplies critical for their survival. “Oh my God. I hate you,” she replies. Oh, and Shawna starts wearing the striped shirt, jeans and Converse. She is so adorable!
Episode 4: Viral [14:51]. Jeff, Mike and Greg, while playing Resident Evil online, decide to venture out and rescue another online player being attacked by a real zombie. Jeff, fueled by their viral video, thinks they can help more people while Los Angeles is on lockdown. He also trains Shawna to fight, much to Derrick‘s dismay.
Episode 5: Open For Business [11:45]. Greg continues to study his Anime zombie girl whom he has dubbed Kelly Kapowski [Tiffani Amber Thiessen's character in Saved By the Bell - in case you didn't know]. He also learns that people needing help have found them through his failed social network Facepages.biz. However, the Z-WTF’s General Joseph McRuby wants them shut down. Best fight scene: Jeff saves Derrick in the alley with some slow motion spins and baseball bat slams. Best line: “You think I’m retarded or something? Well, I’m not. Legally,” Derrick snarls, after confronting Jeff about spending too much time with Shawna. Shawna also adds a pair of thick-rimmed glasses to her ensemble, and, she is even more adorable!
Episode 6: Resistance [13:23]. Jeff, Mike and Greg enlist the aid of Shawna to help organize their incoming calls for help via a mainframe. But, when they go live, they find a video from General Joseph McRuby assuring the city that the Z-WTF is there to help. Weary of their motives, Jeff, Mike and Greg begin to organize splinter groups to fight zombies with them. Meanwhile, Lauren, while out getting supplies, is approached by Shilo (Andy MacKenzie), the leader of a protest group for the ethical treatment of zombies. Best line: “You’re basically like Uhura,” Greg tells Shawna who looks at him, puzzled. “From Star Trek,” he clarifies, to no avail.
Episode 7: The Source [11:34]. Greg discovers the source of the outbreak in a studio in Burbank. Shawna informs them that they also received a call for help from that location. Jeff, Mike and Greg investigate and find movie producer Monty St. Clair (Mark Johnson) who claims to have created the real zombies to promote a horror film. However, St. Clair is working for General Joseph McRuby.
Episode 8: Capture [14:41]. Jeff, Mike and Jim are captured by the Z-WTF and interrogated by General Joseph McRuby. They learned from Roger McRuby (John Duffy), the general’s 12-year-old son, that the Z-WTF wants to weaponize the zombies. Meanwhile, Lauren sits in with Shilo and his zombie sympathizers and zombies besiege Shawna back at the warehouse. Greg is bitten by a military zombie in their holding cell. Best line: “Don’t talk about Kelly Kapowski like that!!” Greg snarls at General McRuby.
Episode 9: Breakout [11:02]. Derrick, who stowed away in the crew’s car, breaks Jeff, Mike and Greg from their holding cell, while Shawna, back at the warehouse, is trapped inside by the zombie horde and is forced to fight Kelly Kapowski whom she accidentally releases. Lauren, after zombies attack Shilo, has a change of heart about the living dead, Mike, and his friends. She confronts General McRuby and pleads for the crew’s release, unaware that they’ve already escaped, but, she is taken as a prisoner.
Episode 10: The War [15:50]. In the blood-soaked, action-packed season finale, Jeff, Mike, Shawna and Derrick, at the warehouse, face off against the boss zombie, aka The Doomsday Scenario, created by the Z-WTF to be the future of warfare. Greg cuts his own infected arm off, replaces it with an axe and joins the brutal battle. They fight a good fight, but, eventually, the behemoth knocks Jeff to the ground, and he stares back up, facing his death. Shawna quickly grabs a katana, severs the mega-zombie’s head, saving Jeff‘s life. Then, she kisses him. Meanwhile, Lauren has coaxed young Roger McRuby into releasing her, and she goes to the press with a video of General McRuby killing innocent people. However, the boss zombie rises once more and kills the General. “We have dark days in front of us, but, the war’s not lost,” Jeff says in voice-over. “The war is just beginning,” he adds, giving us hope that a third season is possible in the future. Best line: “When this is all over I’ll buy you a chocolate milk,” General McRuby tells his son Roger. “Fuckin’ promise?” Roger wonders. “Fuckin’ promise,” the General assure him.
Watch the Bite Me season 2 trailer here …
Bite Me is wonderfully entertaining with plenty of gore, action and comedy. I love it. I also love how this web series is shot. I’m not a film techno-geek or anything, so I can’t address the cameras and techniques used, but, I love the way it looks. It’s dark but with crisp definition, and looks as good or better than most network or cable shows.
Finally, check out Zombie Go Boom, an awesome live-action web series that puts “weapons and everyday objects to the test to show you what will kill the undead and help you survive the zombie apocalypse.” It’s like Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior meets Discovery’s Mythbusters – with zombies! Machinima featured many of ZGB‘s episodes here, including this one with Yousef Abu-Taleb and lovely Dani Lennon from Bite Me …
Dani Lennon is my new favorite young actress of the week!