People who have watched the various Zombie Apocalypse TV series, which include “The Walking Dead,” its spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead,” and their quirky cousin on the SyFy Channel, “Z Nation,” have started to notice something. These shows have begun to Run stale and, indeed, run out of gas. Each of these shows has gone beyond its McGuffin, that most of the human race has died and have risen as undead, flesh-eating creatures, to wreck civilization and menace the few living humans left alive. The zombie apocalypse scenario, once the initial shock wears off, either becomes something that can be adapted to or else one has to conjure up other threats to keep the suspense going.

Hell is not zombies but other humans

The first few seasons of “The Walking Dead” and the first season or so of “Fear the Walking Dead” followed similar plot lines. A small group of survivors has to fight to survive in a world where civilization is gone, and the Earth is overrun with undead, flesh-eating zombies. The initial problem is finding the basics, such as food, water, and shelter. Inevitably these things are gotten, which follows the next challenge.

In “The Walking Dead” universe, a number of people decide to take advantage of the fall of civilization to indulge their darkest natures and become local warlords. The Governor, the quietly mad, one-eyed king and then Negan, the loud, boisterous chieftain, threaten our heroes and have to be put down.

“The Walking Dead” is currently in the middle of the War against Negan.

Fear the Walking Dead” is also following this pattern, with the Ranch and then the Dam run by nefarious characters. However, it also has an interesting subplot of one of our intrepid heroes, Madison, and her descent into madness and evil.

The problem is that the big bad of the season gets to be a bit tiresome after a while.

The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” have to find something else for our heroes to worry about if their hope to retain an audience.

What is “Z Nation” about anyway?

Z Nation” started with an interesting premise. The survivors in that series were tasked with taking a character named Murphy, the only man to be bitten by a zombie and survive, across the country to a laboratory so that his blood could be used to create a cure for zombieism.

However, that plotline petered out, and now our heroes are headed in the opposite direction following some kind of strange vision quest.

The bottom line

It looks like the zombie apocalypse genre is about to burn itself out, just like the vampire story with the end of “True Blood” and the “Twilight” series of films. What will come next, no one knows as of yet.