When it comes to fictional apocalypses, Boston just keeps getting left behind (and not in the Rapture way). The city—along with the rest of the Earth—got burned to a crisp in the Nicolas Cage movie “Knowing’’ (which inspired this immeasurably funny blooper reel). The TNT drama “Falling Skies’’ chronicles the struggles of modern Massachusetts militiamen—led by Noah Wyle as a history professor—but it quickly abandoned the Bay State for parts unknown.
That’s about it, though. We’ve been spared. Everyone smashes New York or stomps on San Francisco or zombies up Milwaukee (Milwaukee?!) and forgets about the Hub. Now The Walking Dead, the biggest show on television, is set in the deep South. On AMC’s hit, Boston (and New England as a whole) goes annoyingly un-zombified—but what would “The Walking Dead’’ look like if it were set among the cobblestones of Boston? Here are some thoughts—and please, AMC, consider this a little plug for our city when it comes time for the inevitable spin-off:
A culturally richer, yet still zombie-filled, atmosphere
“The Walking Dead’’ is set in and around Atlanta, which is a perfectly fine, average American metropolis. We’ve all waited in Hartsfield-Jackson after making the mistake of flying Delta. We’ve all enjoyed a Coca-Cola product. Michael Johnson and his gold shoes ran very fast there once. The Braves make it to the first round of MLB’s playoffs every other year or so. If my history is correct, Richard Sherman set fire to the city once.
That’s about it as far as Atlanta goes. Again, perfectly fine. But it sure doesn’t give the world the cultural backdrop Boston offers. Just imagine all the places in Boston that could get creepified with the zombie invasion:
• Faneuil Hall: It would just be really nice to see all those fanny-packed tourists who gawk at the dancing troupes and spend $19.99 for a burger at the fake Cheers turned into zombies, then viciously killed by the human crew. Wouldn’t it?
• Fenway: There’s no big prison complex in the city, so Fenway will be our stand-in for that season-three location. It makes a lot of sense. Plenty of frozen hot dogs and popcorn in storage, lots of bats to be used as weapons, a locker room to hang out in … the prospect of spiking a zombified David Ortiz might be painful, but aside from that, it would be pretty good living.
• Porter Square T Station: A big chunk of the current season looks like it will be set around “Terminus,’’ a key railroad cog populated with (spoiler alert!) cannibals. Porter is big, open, and way, way underground. Lots of room for creative cuisine.
• Downtown Crossing: Because it already looks like a zombie apocalypse has been through.
• The Salem Witch Museum: I’m cheating a little bit, location-wise, but this museum freaked me out as a kid with just the exhibits (the Giles Corey one still gives me chills). Add in zombies and it would be an unending nightmare.
A change of seasons
The Georgia climate? It’s not bad for zombie survival. Sure, it might get brutally hot and humid in the summer—and God, those intestines must stink in the heat—but the rest of the year, it’s pretty mild. You can sleep outside, forage for food, even jump in a lake to wash the grime and guts off every so often. It’s practically a vacation. With zombies. Then again, when bad weather hits the South now, everything practically turns into Thunderdome anyway.
A zombie-attacked Boston, on the other hand, would be a cold hell. For at least a quarter of the year, you’d have to bunker down, stock up, and hibernate like Walter White in New Hampshire. Actually, winter in a Boston-set “Walking Dead’’ would resemble the show’s only real televised-gore competition, “Game of Thrones.’’ Just like the Night’s Watch, the characters would be settling in for the long winter, slaughtering the undead, getting drunk, and growing beards. Either that, or you could transform a Red Line train into a zombie-avoiding Snowpiercer, which would be pretty damn cool.
A different menu
As seen in the latest episode, butter-apocalypse Paula Deen-style dishes aren’t readily available in the South anymore. Residents are down to hunting and devouring squirrels. A human gang would probably face the same problem in Boston after a little while, even if they would be lucky enough to stumble upon a fully stocked Border Cafe or Kelly’s. What to do for calories? Well, in urban Boston, that probably equates to meals of apartment rat, which—presumably—will run rampant, feasting on bodies of all kind. Luckily enough, we’ve got the resources to find our meals, and if this list is accurate, we’ll all have plenty to eat!
We can also rely on locally produced non-perishables, which means a lot of Fluff, Necco Wafers, Junior Mints, and Taza Chocolate. (Man, tooth decay might be the second most serious problem in the apocalypse.) I was also instructed to mention something called “brown bread in a can,’’ which is apparently a New England favorite that somehow never made its way into my childhood pantry in northern Connecticut. I’d blame my parents, but it was described to me as “soggy and bad’’ by a friend.
A school struggle for supremacy
As much as “The Walking Dead’’ is about the struggle between humans and zombies, it’s also about humans vs. humans—Rick’s gang against the Governor’s jerks at Woodbury, or against the fine young cannibals at Terminus. Would it really be so hard to predict that Boston might splinter into little college fiefdoms, hoarding resources, building up their bases and launching raids on each other? It would be a life-or-death Beanpot. Boston College would camp out by the reservoir and hope that zombies can’t swim. Boston University would turn all 100 of its Green Line stops into outposts. MIT would construct some type of zombie-hunting gamma ray. Harvard would try to determine the philosophical construct of zombie culture. Emerson would try to train using Quidditch philosophies and last about a half a day (don’t dispute me on this; I went there). Northeastern and Tufts? They’re crafty. They’d go under the radar in the future zombie college wars. In fact, I bet one of those schools ends up as the last campus standing.