comedy & parody

[TV Review] Z Nation Season 1 (2014) ★★★☆☆

Garnett, Addy, Cassandra, Murphy, Warren, Doc and Mack in Z Nation season 2

Z Nation delivers a hilarious over the top campy fun zombie road trip.


Z Nation is a science fiction fantasy zombie Syfy series. Z Nation is in for a lot of laughs, funny predicaments, all kinds of creative crazy zombies, zombie-bashings and great characters you’ll soon come to love. A few serious scenes keep it real, but it certainly aims for campy over the top fun with zombies in a post-apocalyptic America. Expect no in-depth themes or many serious social issues. This series is fantasy based and knows how to play with its Z’s in every which way possible. 

This first season consists of 13 episodes each with a duration of 43 minutes. It’s a road trip series full of zombies, but evolves in much bigger storylines and slowly the stakes are getting higher. 


Plot

Three years after a zombie outbreak America is left with only a few survivors and a lot of zombies. A group of survivors must take a prisoner Murphy from New York state to a CDC lab in LA, for he might be the key to a cure. So Roberta Warren, Addy, Doc, 10K, Cassandra, Mack and Garnett take Murphy on a dangerous journey through zombie world. 

On the road they meet good people, bad people and a lot of zombies. But transmitting from a NSA basis Northern Lights on the Arctic is Citizen Z, keeping track of them and helping them where he can. It’s going to be a hell of a journey.


Why you should watch it

Although a few serious scenes are unavoidable due to the egotistical and evil-minded people who take advantage of the situation, it’s all about the zombie madness. The serious scenes help prevent the series getting a bit too campy and keeps it more balanced. 

It’s a highly imaginative series, that makes excellent use of everything you can do or create with a zombie. A zombie dog, a zombaby, zombie slaves, the Liberty Bell killing zombies, a zombie soldier, a zombie tornado, a zombie tsunami, and much more. The people they encounter are evenly weird, a cannibalistic cult, a normal cult, religious madness, a group of salesmen/women, an all-female commune, drugdealers and much more.

While these people and zombies bring in the fun, action and thrills, the Westward-Bound Survivor group is the heart of the series. Although Garnet is the original leader due to horrible circumstances, Warren quickly becomes the leader, due to her former job in the military. She’s strong, smart and a great leader who isn’t afraid of making big decisions but cares for everyone in her group, even Murphy. Addy is her second in command. With her Z-Wacker she bashes and clubs zombies to death. She’s strong, determined and brave. Mack is her boyfriend she met three years ago when all hell broke loose. 

Doc is a former psychologist, who loves a good joint and mostly uses tools, hammers or axes for weapons. Doc has some dry humor, and brings in a lot of fun, finding himself in multiple perilous situations, but always manages to make it out alive. 10K is the youngest member of the group. His name refers to the number of zombies he’s aiming to kill with his sniper rifle. He has a special bond with Doc. They find Cassandra on the way and rescue her from an enslaved life. And finally Murphy the most important member of the group and also the grumpy, antisocial one, a real Grouchy. 

Citizen Z is all by himself keeping an eye out for the group but soon gets company from a dog, whom he calls Pup. Citizen Z is the eyes and ears, who still has acces to the internet, radio, and satellites so he can give them all the information he can get. 

Each episode brings in some new fun and highly creative events, which the group has to anticipate to. There is never a dull moment and when you think it can’t get any crazier, well it certainly can. The structure of the series is rather simple, going from north to south, across America, but what they encounter along the way is what makes it a brilliantly fun series.

Although not every episode is as fun or good or creative, the overall season is great. Some episodes stand out and are well-made, sometimes even addressing a more serious matter, but it never forgets the fun. There’s also room for some development for each character giving them more background, mixing playfulness with more heavy situations. 

But it’s not just a crazy trip from north to south, a bigger storyline is developing underway as well. Ending with a big revelation and a huge cliffhanger.


My favorite part

You gotta love Doc, he’s endearing and the eccentric lovable uncle everyone wants to have. He’s kind, smart, relaxed and his relationship with 10K is wonderful and gives the series an even bigger heart. What makes him extra fun and an indispensable asset to the series are his personal predicaments he seems to get himself into. While he finds himself in the most bizarre messed-up situations he always finds a creative way out. 

But some episodes stand out as well. The special episode with Citizen Z and the cosmonaut is a great one. The Liberty Bel rolling down the street knocking down some zombies like bowling skittles is hilarious.

And Doc trapped in an airshaft hanging by some cables is too much, fun but gets even funnier when he is trapped with a zombie whom he calms down and prevents the zombie from biting him by smoking a joint together, which gets the zombie totally mellow. It’s that kind of fun and it doesn’t stop there. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Gore factor: ★★★☆☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★★☆


Read more about Z Nation:


Cast and crew

Z Nation is created by Karl Schaefer and Craig Engler. It stars Kellita Smith (Roberta Warren), Russell Hodgkinson (Doc), Keith Allan (Murphy), Nat Zang (10K), Anastasia Baranova (Addy), DJ Qualls (Citizen Z), Pisay Pao (Cassandra), Michael Welch (Mack) and Tom Everett Scott (Garnet).

Music: Jason Gallagher. Cinematography: Alexander Yellen. Production companies: The Asylum, Go2 Digital Media. Original network: Syfy.


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