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Photo Credit: Syfy

B-List Delights: Z Nation

The slightly satirical Z Nation (2014), created by Karl Schaefer, is one of my favorite zombie TV shows. It has the right amount of seriousness and comedic breaks weaved into the somewhat complicated storyline. A few years after the zombie outbreak began, a group of strangers  embarks on an adventure from New York to California, meeting some interesting characters like clowns, cannibals, and a zombie bear.

In a desperate hope to cure the zombie virus, a doctor uses prison inmates to test out vaccinations. The lab is overrun by Z’s, or puppies and kittens as they are nicknamed, forcing the crew to evacuate. Murphy, who is played by Keith Allen, is one of the inmates who was given the vaccine and is bitten by multiple zombies. Somehow Murphy manages to survive and the group is given the task of transporting him across the US to the last known functioning zombie virus lab. The shenanigans that the group encounters left me confused and somehow delighted. The silly little things that would happen, like a huge wheel of cheese that rolls over Z’s, formed it to be the hilarious and captivating show it is.

Constantly, I see Z Nation being compared to The Walking Dead, but they are completely different. The only similarities they really have is the fact that they are zombie shows and have a group dynamic. The similarities really end there because TWD stretches out their issues and they seem to complain about the lack of supplies, leaving a gloomy ambiance. Z Nation is the type of quick moving show where they do not really complain about their minimal supplies and manage to make a joke out of every situation. Of course Z Nation has some awfully sad moments, but every episode is not a dreary issue.

Each character has their own personality and traits. My three favorite characters out of the entire group would have to be Lieutenant Roberta Warren, played by Kellita Smith, and Ten Thousand, played by Nat Zang. Warren is a strong woman of color, who seems to be the glue that holds the group together. With a strong and clear head, she tries to help the group and make the best decisions for them. Ten Thousand, nicknamed 10K, is a quiet yet hilarious character. He does not have very many lines in each episode, but when he does they are pretty amusing. 10K’s character is slightly mysterious, but throughout his character development, his backstory is revealed and he becomes a more lovable character. His name, Ten Thousand, was something he gave himself and the number of zombies he hopes to kill. During a conversation with Doc, played by Russell Hodgkinson, 10K divulges his real name and why he decided to rename himself. My other favorite character would be Citizen Z, played by DJ Qualls, who is stranded in the Arctic, working as a hacker for the NSA. His only friend becomes a sled dog who he names Pup. He works with the group to help them on their journey, creating a radio broadcast for other survivors of the apocalypse.

Z Nation is definitely a lower budget show, airing on the SYFY network. The show is not known as well and people normally would choose The Walking Dead because of its popularity. Alexander Yellen is the lead cinematographer and is able to have each episode flow smoothly. Costume designer, Ashley Russell, creates wonderful outfits that really matches the style of postapocalyptic theme. The dark and dusty colors mix well with the ripped clothing, somehow still looking fashionable.

Z Nation currently has four seasons and is renewed for a fifth, which will air sometime in September 2018. This B-list is a five out of five skulls because of its random yet entertaining storyline. It is a great show to watch if you need some binge-worthy material, but it definitely is not for everyone.

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