Friday, September 11, 2015

The Horror Of...Z Nation Season 1, In Short

(An addendum to this post has been posted.)

With the second season of Z Nation getting ready to rampage across our TV's and computers, let's take a look at the first season, and the series in general. A series that has tried to remember that it wants viewers to get some thrills and fun when they watch a show.

So let's pick at the oozing brain of Z Nation, and see what it is all about.

Now let's address the skeleton in the room, hogging the La-Z Boy. Yes, this is a show made by the Asylum. As in Sharknado and Mega Shark Versus Mecha Shark.

And this show is largely in the vein of Asylum's movies. Zombies are popular, and they want to get on the bandwagon. And like with their films, their is no guarantee as to whether this is a good or bad idea. Sorry, it's fun to joke about Asylum, but some of what they produce is legitimately fun and enjoyable. Granted, some of it is also plain awful.

Z Nation is a fun show. It takes some conventions of zombie lore and tales and runs with them, and also tries to veer off into some fun and unusual areas. It gives us all something different from the standard fare.

When the show was announced, one criticism was that the zombie niche was filled. The Walking Dead. As if there can only be one show with zombies. Most concepts can be addressed over multiple series. It's just a question of interested people are. It's also why you can have iZombie (which I need to get around to reviewing). Likewise, you can have multiple Vampire, Superhero, Cop, Doctor, and Lawyer shows.

:Thanks, Obama..." jokes are really getting old
It's been created by Craig Engler, who had previous made the Asylum movie Zombie Apocalypse, and Karl Schaefer, who helped create Eerie, Indiana (and helped produce The Dead ZoneEureka, and Ghost Whisperers)

The show jumps into the post-Zombie uprising dilapidation. Washington, L.A., etc, are gone. We really don't see the rest of the world, but it can be assumed it's in the same state as the United States.

Thanks, Sullenburger.

We are in the year 2 A.Z., which means After Zombie. (Makes for a nice way to not declare the time.) So in the two years since zombies hit it big, most every nations has collapsed. But some of the military is still operative. A Delta Force team in at one facility being overrun. They are trying to keep the site safe for at least a little more time.

Working with the team is the NSA. Or what's left of it. At an isolated polar outpost different sites are being coordinated. Military. Medical. Not much is left, but they are trying to pull it all together.

They want a solution to the zombie threat.

And to accomplish this, they are relying on one Dr. Merch. She's attempting to create a vaccine to create and immunity to the factors that turn humans into zombies.

And to do this, they need to guinea pigs. Rather, humans. No time for protocols, rights?

And the humans chosen are convicted criminals, No volunteering. No questions. Just likely death. (But humanity is dying out anyway.)

Three convicts are placed in a room, and each is inoculated. And they start dying, and turning.

As the last one is stuck, the place is overrun. The doctor and last of Delta Force run, leaving the last convict.

And he gets jumped by zombies, who tear into him.

The Delta Force lieutenant, Mark Hammond, gets Dr. Merch on a helicopter, and off to hopeful safety. Hammond stays behind.

At the NSA outpost, Northern Light, the site is being evacuated (Though I'm not sure why. It is rather secure.). A private is running ops, and ends up missing the flight out.

But it may be for the best, as he watches the plane lift off, and then crash a mile away. He is completely alone, and isolated.

At a riverside on the east coast, a pair watch a boat approach. These two are Garnett and Warren, former National Guard members. They are natural leaders, who end up taking charge of the group to come.

The boat has Lt. Hammond on it, and Murphy. Murphy was the last convict inoculated. And while he was repeatedly bitten, he didn't die or change. He doesn't feel great, but he lives...I think.

Hammond went back to check, and brought Murphy as a source of a successful vaccine against zombie attacks.

We also see elsewhere Doc. He isn't a doctor. He knows drugs. He makes meth. And he watched ER a lot. That's as close as most get to a doctor anymore.

Also, theirs Mack and Addy. Our young lovers who have been together for sometime, post zombie boom. Addy is getting herself a new weapon when we meet her, a Z Wacker. Who wouldn't want one.

The meet Cassandra during their trip. She was trapped for some reason, but is happy to join up, and do her part as they go along.

We also get to meet 10K. He's a long range shooter. He took the name 10K as an aspirational goal, to kill at least 10,000 zombies. During the season he gets to somewhere past 2,000.

We also have  Citizen Z. He's the private left behind at Northern Light. He's keyed into the remaining satellites. To watch things, and to communicate. He has the skills and tools to hack into any remaining tech. Phones, cameras, electronic signs, etc. Should all of these things still have power? Do you really want to overthink a show you're trying to enjoy?

So, with Murphy being a potential source of humanity's salvation, they need to find a way to put him in the hands of scientist that can draw and synthesize a vaccine to spread. Trouble though. The lab they need to get to are on the other side of the United States. That's a lot of miles, and a lot of zombies.

So the show begins its fun. There are sort of zombie problems to have.

Zombie debris from running them down. (Hint: They are still hungry.)

Zombies on fire.

End of Level Boss Zombie. (Now with a steel plate in head to make it hard to shoot.)

Firefighter zombies.

Zombie Tornado! Yeah, they go there. And it worked, for me. It doesn't last long, it only throws in a handful of zombies, and some of them end up getting killed by other debris in the tornado.

This is a key question about watching the show, are you able to have things that are somewhat silly happen? Are you up for over the top events, occasional melodrama, and ridiculous moments? Not every show is watching people live in an abandoned prison for a year, and that's fine.

Radioactive zombies.

Zunami! Millions of zombies in a herd racing across the Midwest, miles long, killing and expanding as it goes.

Along with getting to know what zombies can get up to, and the depth humans can sink to, we get to see what the vaccine has done to Murphy.

The zombies, don't see him as food. Some may snarl, but they back off. Heck, some stare at him in confusion, and others follow him.

"What are you looking at, Ugly," said the zombie.

And when he bites (which he sometimes feels a compunction to do) or just trades spit (which no one willingly does), he does two things. He gives immunity to becoming a zombie (We see someone killed after he's bitten them, and not turn.) and also he gets some control over living people (it starts with a little motor control and moves on to actually pushing people to harm themselves).

As the season ends, we are introduced who may be the creator of the zombie onslaught. A scientist who traveled the world in the years leading up to the event, taking human samples from people dying from a series of drugs, diseases, bioweapons, and other blights.

And now, he wants Murphy.

Citizen figures out he's Dr. Kurian. And I can't help but think that this is a play on Dr. Curien from the House of the Dead game. Curien, like Kurian creates a zombie plight.

As the season ended, Murphy fled Kurian, and then begins shedding, and changing.

And escaping a military lab, they trip a fail safe. It results in a tactile nuke being launched at them.

This also caused a dead man counterstrike against US assets by other countries. This includes Citizen Z's location.

So with Season 2, who lives, who dies, and who turns? What else can they throw at these surviors? What else can be done with zombies? Wait and see.

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