Carly Lane
August 24, 2015 5:17 pm

Chances are you fell into one of two camps Sunday night: those who watched the season premiere of AMC’s new zombie prequel show Fear the Walking Dead, and those who saw all those crazy tweets from your friends who were watching.

Turns out there were a lot more of us in the first group — the first episode was the most-watched series premiere ever for a cable network show. When zombies are involved, it’s a good bet lots of people will be tuning in. It’s the combination of a world in peril and gruesome special effects, no doubt, and let’s face it: zombies are pretty terrifying to think about. So why do they freak us out so much? And why do we continue to watch through our fingers?

In a video for Business Insider, Present Shock author Douglas Rushkoff breaks down the source of our obsessions with zombies and post-apocalyptic television shows. Basically, it’s all technology’s fault. Because we’re so plugged in through our various devices, Rushkoff explains, we start to imagine what a world would be like without all of that access. Terrifying… or kind of amazing?

He argues that our fantasy to just unplug drives us to watch shows like Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. Rushkoff points out that we wouldn’t be dealing with stressors of everyday modern life, the constant badgering of social media and work emails. The zombie apocalypse is a sort of stripped down version of our world. Facing down slow-moving zombies might actually be sort of relaxing, in its own way — not to mention a way to get out all our aggression through taking out walkers.

“People like zombie shows, because it’s almost like a dream come true,” he explains. “When you live in a world that’s always on, in an ever present hum, people start to ache for some kind of conclusion.” We’ll buy that. But maybe instead of a zombie apocalypse “conclusion” IRL, we could relax with a hot bath. Just a thought.

Check out the whole video here.

[Featured image via AMC.]

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