Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Team Z

So during one of those desperate OH MY GOD THERE IS NOTHING TO WATCH moments where I was looking for something fun and different and interesting I happened upon a show I’d never heard of on Netflix. “Z Nation,” which on its surface is basically just “The Walking Dead” for the Syfy channel. Make no mistake, this is a show about a zombie apocalypse and a group of gritty survivors who try to stay alive amid the ruins. There is gore and grimness and a lot of grime. The similarities are inevitable. But this is also a show that has become a most delightful bait-and-switch.

[Spoiler Alert: I am going to discuss the entire first season including major plot points and major deaths. So, um, you’ve been warned.]

The first thing you’ll notice about this show is it has a sense of humor. I stopped watching “The Walking Dead” when it became more of an interpersonal drama filled with human politics than a show about zombies. So something like “Z Nation” that doesn’t take itself too seriously which is nice. It’s zombies, yo. They stumble around and want to eat our brains. Don’t overthink it, m’kay.

The second thing you’ll notice is that the show’s biggest stars - Harold Perrineau and Tom Everett Scott as Garnett – die pretty damn quickly. Like, Harold’s character dies in the first episode. Boom, gone. And Tom’s character – who appeared to be the de facto Rick of the group – dies midway through the season.

So what you have left is Kellita Smith as Roberta Warren. From the start Roberta has been the second in command on the show. And from the start she been a welcome addition to the strong, interesting female character pantheon – and she is also a woman of color, which is even more welcome. So now, she is the leader and that’s unfortunately still pretty unusual to have on out teevees. To put what has happened on this show it in terms we all understand, it’s if like if Firefly killed off Mal half way through the season and let Zoe run the ship.

“Z Nation” has been unsparing in its willingness to kill off the obvious heroes. The recognizable star. The predictable white male lead. And now we’re left in rarified air for a series where a woman of color is leading an action-adventure, sci-fi series.

Granted, I have absolutely no idea if she’ll live on into the second season. The first season ended on a major cliffhanger that has the potential to kill off pretty much everyone. So, we shall see what this show does with its second season and if it delivers on is promise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just found this show too. I watched the whole season and am looking forward to season 2. It's quite a bit lighter than wd and therefore less traumatic to watch.