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Z Nation Premiere Review: Back To Basics

Marshall Lemon | 14 Sep 2014 12:00
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Z Nation isn't very deep or original, but if you like zombies and mindless action, it's worth a watch.

Zombies have been the pop culture phenomenon of choice for over a decade, and they aren't about to go away anytime soon. We were oversaturated with undead media five years ago, and we still consume zombie movies, comic books, and TV shows while making casual observations about foolproof zombie plans. And that's great! Zombies are the monsters of our modern age, and there's nothing wrong with enjoying them as much as any other fictional creature.

But from a creative perspective, everything about zombies has pretty much been done. We have slow zombies, fast zombies, historical zombies, sci-fi zombies, talking zombies, and zombies with superpowers. The Walking Dead made them the backdrop for human drama. The Zombie Survival Guide used them to parody survivalist culture. Hell, In The Flesh treated zombies as a metaphor for closeted homosexuality. There is practically no new direction to take zombies that someone else hasn't already covered.

The Asylum knows that. But it made Z Nation anyway, a TV series about the spectacle of plucky survivors facing massive undead hordes. If you're looking for a deep, character-driven show that says something about the human condition, Z Nation isn't the best example. (One character unironically states that he hates "moral dilemmas".) But it's exactly the kind of low-budget, grindhouse-fare television The Asylum was made for. If Sharknado and Titantic II were about bringing insane concepts to screen, Z Nation is the popcorn-fare zombie show you switch your brain off for: Nothing groundbreaking, but just enough action sequences and memorable moments to enjoy the first episode.

Miss the first episode? You can watch it on SyFy or iTunes.

Z Nation is set three years after an initial zombie outbreak. America's government has collapsed, and human society seems to consist of scattered outposts managed by former police and National Guard officials. (Including a prison run by an ex-cop... subtle reference!) It is here that we meet Lt. Hammond, a Delta Force operative hoping to complete his final mission: Deliver Murphy, a man immune to zombie bites, to a medical facility in California. While success is unlikely, and no one knows whether the facility still exists, it inspires a group of survivors from New York State to take up his cause and journey across the zombie-infested country.

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