I’m not sure if there are two cooler words in the English language than “zombie cheerleaders,” and that’s just what the CW drama Hellcats is banking on when the show returns tonight at 9pm. And if zombie cheerleaders don’t make you watch, nothing will.

Which is a shame. When I tell people that I’m excited to watch Hellcats, they usually scoff and saying something like, “Isn’t that the silly cheerleader show on the CW?” To which I respond, “No, it’s that totally awesome cheerleader show on the CW that has moved from guilty pleasure to just plain pleasure.”

Throughout its first season, Hellcats has proven itself one of the breakout shows of the year in terms of quality. While a murder mystery akin to season 3 of Veronica Mars was at the center of the action in the first part of the season, the end of season 1 is going to focus more on characters and personal issues.

If you’re still not convinced, here are the three best things about Hellcats.

Dan Patch’s Zombie Cheerleader Movie

A surprisingly large portion of this episode is centered on aspiring filmmaker Dan’s film school application movie, and from what I can tell, the moral is that Republicans are awesome. The action, make-up, sets and comedy are all a lot better than any college kid should be able to do, but nothing can detract from his film’s impressive entertainment value. Even if you’re not into cheerleaders, this episode of Hellcats is worth watching just for the zombies.

Marti’s Search for Her Dad

The core of the story is the show’s heroine, sweet, poor Marti (Aly Michalka) as she begins to search for answers about her dad, who was a musician and who is allegedly dead, or at least that’s what Marti’s mom told her. The search leads her to a record store where she meets Deirdre (played by Aly’s sister, AJ Michalka). It’s pretty obvious from the start that Deirdre isn’t being 100 percent honest, and while nothing gets revealed in this episode, it’s easy to see where this is going and why the show cast Aly’s sister in the role.

Alice’s New Adventure

If I had to pick my favorite part of Hellcats, it’s Heather Hemmens as the “mean girl” cheerleader Alice. She’s been a suitable nemesis when needed, but she also has some serious abandonment issues from her father, which adds a little complexity to her mean girl ways. In the final part of the season, Alice renews her friendship with reporter Kelsey and finds the start of a possible career in journalism. Also, unless my gaydar is malfunctioning, I picked up some heavy vibes between these two in the episode, so it looks like Alice might be taking a dip in the lady pool, as Bravo’s Andy Cohen might say.

So there you have it: lesbian reporters, long-lost dads and zombie cheerleaders. It’s that kind of brilliant diversity that makes Hellcats a show you need to watch.

(Image and videos courtesy of the CW)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.