TV Terrors: Z NATION – Series 1 – 5

Z NATION **** USA 2014 – 2018 Writers/Creators: Craig Engler and Karl Schaefer. Directors: Abram Cox plus numerous others. Duration: 5 series (68 episodes) (approx. 40 mins per episode)

Stand out episodes: “Puppies & Kittens” ep. 1 s.1, “Full Metal Zombie” ep..4 s.1 & “Batch 47” ep. 4 s. 2

This fantastic take on the ZomPoc is a must see for all zombie fanatics. It’s hilarious zombie antics and great characters are nothing short of genius. Set 3 years after a zombie virus has broken out, the main story follows a group of soldiers and survivors who are trying to get a very selfish and unwilling former prisoner to the CDC in California as his blood could be the cure to the zombie virus. However, this is not as easy as they first thought due to the sheer number of zombies (known as puppies and kittens) plus the bad humans taking advantage of the chaos.

Series 1-3 follow the team on a long traumatic journey to the CDC where they very often get split up, thwart villains and defeat zombie bears, gigantic cheese wheels, Z Weed and hordes upon hordes of the undead.

Series 4-5 takes a slightly different direction taking on a more political stance as humanity tries to rebuild itself and the zombie virus goes through an evolutionary change. All the while the reluctant hero, Murphy goes through numerous changes himself as his body tries to control the virus inside him. This is primarily a comedy so expect a lot of stupidity, ridiculous storylines and some great and inventive zombies/hybrids with a reasonable amount of brains and goo!! The FX are a mixture of CGI and practical with some really great zombie make up and prosthetics, awesome weapons and sexy costumes!

Not surprising really to hear that this is a product of The Asylum film company who are also responsible for the SHARKNADO movies as well as other fabulous SyFy channel releases. Script and character wise this has all the best bits you would expect from a great B-movie production. It’s cheesy as hell yet has fantastic character development with some really cool and likeable characters. The main cast features Russell Hodgkinson, Keith Allan, Nat Zang, Kelita Smith, Anastasia Baranova, Michael Welch and DJ Qualls with a whole host of others. It also has some great guest appearances from actors such as Bill Moseley, Henry Rollins and Michael Berryman. The principal cast have great chemistry both on and off screen by the sounds of things and it looks like it was so much fun to be a part of. Kelita Smith’s character Lieutenant Roberta Warren made her own guest appearance in SHARKNADO 3 and Russell Hodgkinson’s Doc was in SHARKNADO 5 so they also did their fair share of show swapping.

Z Nation is what it is, nothing more, it leaves the serious stuff up to The Walking Dead but still has some great tributes to said show and some other popular zombie movies, yet manages to hold its own almost all of the way through. As with a lot of shows that make it past series 3 it does start to show weaknesses in its storyline and series 4 is by far the worst. If I’m totally honest I very almost gave up on the show as it got too ridiculous and far fetched at times even for me but it managed to redeem itself in series 5.

As is the way Z Nation will not be everyone’s cup of tea, those of you that like the serious stuff might be better off avoiding this one but those that love the old 80’s zombie comedies will certainly appreciate this show. It’s a shame it had to end at series 5 but given that series 4 wasn’t much cop it probably was for the best. I really enjoyed this show and it is one I’m sure I will revisit many a time. If you missed it the first time around it is available on DVD and currently showing all series on Netflix so make sure you check it out.

Review by Sarah Budd

 

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