Z NATION: TV Review

An interesting review of the latest new zombie (aargh!) series in the Hollywood Reporter. We like it cuz the reviewer actually addresses the writing. Too bad there’s nothing better to say about it. (Yeppers, kids, to paraphrase Stan the Man, “With great public exposure comes the chance for great humiliation.”) Oh, well, at least the article doesn’t come out and tell us the guilty writer’s name cuz writing about writing is one thing but writing about a writer? Nah!”

Is this what writers really look like?

Is this what writers really look like?

by Tim Goodman

The best thing that could ever happen to The Walking Dead is the arrival of Z Nation on Syfy on Friday. The super-popular but critically underappreciated Walking Dead may be seen more favorably for its writing, acting, visual acumen and storytelling capabilities now that Z Nation proves you can’t just put hungry zombies on the screen and have something worth writing home about.

On the other hand, if all you want to see are zombies, zombies, zombies — meaning it’s all about the gory and not about the story, then Z Nation may be your thing. In fact, as a B-level entry it’s at least entertaining, and if some of the sillier aspects of the pilot can be improved on could be one of those mindless entertainment options we all need now and again.

But as a top-notch drama — nope.

Z Nation has the normal zombie premise — there was a zombie virus and the world as we know it was overrun by crazed flesh eating dead people. (At least in Z Nation, like the film 28 Days Later, the zombies can run instead of stumble along which heightens the action quite a bit — some of the running dead are pretty damned fast.).

The series picks up three years after the virus has cut most communication, destabilized the government and any working order and left every man and woman to fend for themselves. Except that Lt. Mark Hammond (Harrold Perrineau), a surviving Delta Force member, is still trying to carry out his orders, which is to take Murphy (Keith Allan), the only known human to survive a vicious zombie attack, from the East Coast to California and the last functioning viral lab where they will try to make a cure from his antibodies.

Simple enough — as most zombie stories are. Getting from one coast to the next is also a nice bit, since it will take forever and mean lots and lots of action.

Along the way, Hammond meets up with a ragtag group that will assemble almost against their will to see the mission through. They are Charles Garnett (Tom Everett Scott), an active member in the National Guard; Roberta Warren (Kellita Smith), another National Guard member; Pvt. First Class Simon Cruller/Citizen Z (DJ Qualls), who is stationed/abandoned in the Arctic as part of the NSA listening base; Mack and Addy (Michael Welch and Anastasia Baranova), two college kids learning how to fight for themselves; Doc (Russell Hodgkinson), who’s not a real doctor but does sell illegal meds; Cassandra (Pisay Pao) a quiet but strong survivor they found who also looks fantastic in limited clothing; 10K (Nat Zang), a military sniper who doesn’t talk much but also doesn’t miss much – his goal is 10,000 zombie kills.

The trouble with Z Nation is in the writing, which in turn makes some of the acting seem off.

WTF does that last sentence mean? Find out – or not by reading it all