Thursday, 21 July 2016

'Z NATION' SERIES 1 & 2 REVIEWED ****

Season 1: 13 episodes  Season 2: 15 episodes


Origin: USA Created by: Karl Schaefer and Craig Engler



This TV series is a Horror/Comedy show set a few years into a zombie apocalypse. Murphy was a prison inmate before the zombie apocalypse and once it broke out was used, along with others, to test vaccines for the outbreak. Just as he was injected the lab was over run by zombies and he was bitten several times but remained seemingly unchanged. This makes him a potential walking cure for the virus which means he is incredibly sort after. The main plot of both series is to get Murphy to the CDC in New York to create a vaccine.
He starts out with a group of soldiers escorting him but when we meet them he is down to just one soldier, Hammond, with him and as the episodes play out and progress he ends up with a small group of survivors from different walks of life trying to help get him to the CDC. With the help of a guy calling himself Citizen Z (a former computer hacker taken on by the NSA and based in the Arctic) , the sole survivor after the outbreak at the Northern Lights listening post he runs a radio broadcast out of the doomed outpost, with access to satellite cameras all over the states he can see the carnage caused by the ZA as it unfolds and with little radio contact tries to guide the intrepid group to their destination. This all sounds pretty serious and it is a genius idea and setting but the characters and the many ridiculous zombie frequented situations are absolutely hilarious!! Where shows like The Walking Dead have you immersed, deeply involved and perched on the edge of your seat, watching as well known characters meet their demise you’d be lucky to finish a cup of tea watching it. Z Nation is a definite take away pizza, 6 pack, put your feet up and laugh your arse off kind of show. Not a show to be taken too seriously but as it develops you find yourself getting more attached to these people. The writers Karl Schaefer (Eerie Indiana & Eureka) and Craig Engler (Zombie Apocalypse & Rage of the Yeti) set about creating this series with a deliberate over the top, truly bat shit crazy look at a zombie apocalypse featuring everything that The Walking Dead would not even dream of. They claim that The Walking Dead is just a bit too serious and have proved that even though their take on the ZA is ridiculous it is just as endearing. In the first few episodes of series 1 you get a really angry and fast zombie baby and a bus load of zombie children. In other episodes you encounter zombie bears, Amish zombies, giant zombie infested cheese wheels, stoned zombies, a phenomenon known as a Zunami and my all time favourite thing ever a ZOMBIENADO (Yes people it finally happened and I truly believe we need more of them!!), nuclear zombies and even half zombie half plant symbiosis. In the second series we are introduced to Z weed, oh and in one truly bizarre episode they end up in Roswell and find what they think are zombie aliens!! All kinds of types of zombies are in there from the super fast to the slow more decayed ones.


The characters are fantastic and really well acted. Murphy, played by Keith Allan (Rise of the Zombies), is supposed to be unlikeable. He is sleazy, under handed and only thinks of himself but as the series progress you can’t help but have a soft spot for him. As he gets bitten early on in the first episode but doesn’t turn, due to the vaccine he was given, he doesn’t really stay human but becomes a kind of half zombie with hilarious consequences. Some of the other characters are Lt. Roberta Warren (Kellita Smith) and Charles Garnett (Tom Everett Scott), ex National Guard soldiers who join the quest to get Murphy to the CDC after their original camp is over run but eventually end up as the leaders. Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) is a happy go lucky psychiatrist and recovering drug addict, the elder of the group but seems to get into the most trouble. Addy ( Anastasia Baranova) is probably my favourite character; she has her own vulnerabilities and past experiences but is a total badass when it comes to fighting zombies. Her weapon of choice is a metal baseball bat with spikes in it, this has now become my number one option if/when the ZA happens. Mack, played by Michael Welch (who was apparently in the Twilight films?!), is Addy’s boyfriend quite moody but very protective of his girl and a dab hand at killing zombies. Then we meet a guy who at first starts out as just being known as The Kid (Nat Zang) , he is a very talented shooter and is trying to hit ten thousand zombie kills so is then called 10K (we do find out his real name eventually!). As great a marksman as he is he has a naivety about him that is kind of odd but annoyingly really attractive. Finally there is Cassandra (Pisay Pao) a loner they rescue from being eaten who then nearly gets them all killed. In the second series we meet a bounty hunter called Vasquez (Matt Cedeno) who joins the team and has an agenda all of his own. And of course we have Citizen Z (DJ Qualls off of Road Trip), he appears throughout most of the episodes in series 1 and has a few episodes dedicated to his character so we can make up our minds if he is really loosing it out there all on his own. Over the series there are guest appearances from the likes of Bill Moseley, Harold Perrineau, George RR Martin and Missi Pyle.


I personally feel this is a truly brilliant series that keeps your interest throughout and leaves you wanting more, whether it is even more crazy zombies or actually finding out the characters stories and following their journey. There are some sad times and even some of the more permanent characters don’t make it but they always seem to keep it fairly light on the emotion so you don’t become too attached I guess. The budget is no where near on the same scale as The Walking Dead but they have done brilliant things with what they have. The zombie make up and special effects are done in the 80’s kind of style of zombie, mostly blue and green with a truck load of fake blood which I really approve of. I have raved about this series ever since the first episode and advised all other zombie fans or The Walking Dead fans to watch it and some of them did but to be honest they don’t seem as excited about it as I am. Even though I have said not to compare it to The Walking Dead some of them have and really don’t like it but I consider myself a fan of both and believe it is possible to enjoy both series as they are so different from each other. If you are a fan of zombie flicks and having a laugh you will love it. The second series has just finished and I know a third series is on the cards and with a bit of luck many more to come.

Review by Sarah Budd






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