So the first episode of Z Natione, titled “Puppies and Kittens” has now aired, and we’ve had a chance to see what the show is all about.
If you’re like me, you probably have a alert set up, or maybe have read a review or two. To make it short and sweet, I liked it. Quite a bit actually.
If you’re familiar with SyFy’s other TV Shows and movies, the effects aren’t always the best. A TV series just simply doesn’t have the budget of a big screen movie, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m willing to forgive quite a bit along those lines, and being a fan of Eureka and Warehouse 13, I was expecting the effects to be a bit off.
That being said, I thought it was pretty well done. I only had a few problems with the episode, and I’ll elaborate on that after the spoiler warning.
I’m going to discuss specifics about the first episode below. If you haven’t seen the episode, you’re going to spoil it for yourself. You’ve been warned!
The Walking Dead Vs. Z Nation
Many of the reviews that I’ve been reading are making it out like Z Nation in in a competition with The Walking Dead. OK, they are the same genre, but is there really only room on TV for one show about Zombies? Of course not. If a genre is popular, there can be all sorts of shows, look at crime or medical dramas these days, how many of those are on TV?
Yes, the popularity of The Walking Dead most definitely paved the way for more Zombie shows, but Zombie media has been around for a very long time, and although it hasn’t been in the mainstream, it’s had it’s following.
Let’s judge the show for it’s own merits and shortcomings. Personally, I welcome anything that brings more Zombies onto the TV.
Craig Engler, a co-creator / writer / co-executive producer for Z Nation did a “Ask me Anything” on reddit, and he was asked about the rules for his Zombies.
We’ve only seen this one episode, and right now the zombies all seem pretty darn fast. Like “28 days later” fast. Craig said that the rule is that the fresher a zombie is, the faster they are. After a Zombie has been around for awhile, they slow down.
This is kind of a foreign concept for some, but it’s zombie behavior that I’ve started noticing in some books, and I whole heartedly approve.
In most of the popular zombie works, the cause of the dead rising is a virus. The virus based theories follow the premise that the body is being reanimated, and controlled by a virus which solely wants to replicate to other hosts, driving the zombies to hunger flesh (or brains).
If a virus is reanimating the body, you would think that the body would be most capable right after death. Once things start rotting, and tightening up, the zombie would slow down.
This one threw some for a loop too, in the scene, some survivors come upon some “dead” bodies floating in the lake. We are then shown more of the lake, and it’s just chock full of floaters, all appear to be dead.
Then one zombie opens it’s eye’s, and that’s all she wrote. All of the zombies get up and give chase, killing everyone, and overrunning the survivor camp.
If memory serves me correctly, I believe that Max Brook’s “World War Z” (the book, not the movie) was the first place I saw this behavior. The zombies are perpetually in a state of search and destroy. They travel around until they find something they want to pursue and eat. Once they catch it, they keep searching.
However, if a zombie becomes trapped, or some other way immobilized, say buried, or locked in a closet, they go into a sleep state. It conserves energy, and doesn’t move. Once there’s some stimulus that the zombie notices, it goes back to its normal behavior.
In this case, maybe the zombies get tossed into the lake somehow. They aren’t coordinated enough to swim, they don’t sink enough to walk on the bottom, eventually they figure out that they can’t do anything, so they just go to sleep.
Me no likey baby zombie. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with a baby becoming a zombie,, my problem is a baby becoming a super zombie. Suddenly, a baby that can’t walk is able to run all over the place willy nilly. A small human who is still working on soft mushy foods can suddenly rip into human flesh. Sorry, I couldn’t suspend my disbelief that much.
Even if I didn’t like the first episode, I would still be watching, at least for a couple of more episodes. As it turns out, I really did like it, and I’m looking forward to seeing more. I’m not planning on writing a review of each and every episode, but I thought I should at least write my impressions of the first one. We’ll see about the rest.
All photos courtesy of SYFY’s Z Nation Web site Give it a visit, they have lots more!