Have you ever been at a loss as to what to watch? Too many shows to pick from? We’re here to give you our opinions on what we feel is worth watching. Check it out and then let us know in the comments below what you’re choosing for tonight!
Early this morning, Netflix launched the 8-episode first season of the new Z Nation prequel series, Black Summer. The exciting and intense series is set during the early days of the zombie apocalypse. People are just starting to turn into zombies, and the military is trying to contain things by evacuating cities and towns and then bombing them. Everyone is panicked as they discover that in this new world, those who die wake up as fast-walking, blood-thirsty monsters.
As the series opens, we focus on one small town that is being evacuated. Everyone is pushing and shoving their way to get onto a military transport to the evacuation site. Order quickly breaks down, and the military abandons the remaining people, who now find themselves under attack from the zombies. Rose’s (Jaime King, Hart of Dixie) daughter made it onto one of the evacuation trucks without her, and so she is now on a desperate mission to get to the evacuation zone at the stadium to be reunited with her daughter. She finds herself joining up with some of the other survivors to make it there on foot – army solider Spears (Justin Chu Cary, We Are Fathers), a mute named Ryan (Mustafa Alabssi), and 20-something frat guy Lance (Kelsey Flower, My Imaginary Ex-Girlfriend). Meanwhile, another group of survivors is also trying to make their way to the stadium, but they have a mini-van – driver William Velez (Sal Velez Jr., Mayans M.C.), a young Korean woman named Sun who doesn’t speak English, and scared but trusting grandmother Barbara (Gwynyth Walsh, The Man in the High Castle).
The dangers they face aren’t just the zombies but each other as well. There is little trust between strangers in this new world, and just because you have supplies or a mode of transportation now, that doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t already watching you and plotting a way to obtain your resources. Over the course of the season, these survivors will find themselves face-to-face with new dangers, and not everyone will survive. And new folks will join these groups as others leave. These ordinary folks will need to do unimaginable things they didn’t know they were capable of if they are going to make it to the stadium alive. And even if they do make it to the stadium, what awaits them there? (We already know things aren’t going to get fixed anytime soon, based on Z Nation!)
While Black Summer is a prequel to Z Nation, set in the same world of freaky, fast-walking, and adaptive zombies, this series has a very different tone. The episodes are so tense, feeling more like a horror series and without the comedic tones the original series had. My heart was pounding during much of the first half of the season. The stakes feel more real in this series – no character feels truly safe. This is the kind of show I had hoped Fear the Walking Dead would be…exploring human nature and what it resorts to as civilization starts breaking down and everyone starts to panic in the wake of a cataclysmic event.
Much of the series is filmed using steady-cam, with the camera making long flowing shots that weave around the locations and in and out of the action, making you feel like you are right there in the thick of things. The show also makes nice use of the surround sound to creep you out with zombie roars or to make you feel the boom of the roaring jets as they fly overhead. Each episode is broken down into many short scenes, each with its own title card. This is used to break up the action, allow for time jumps, or to switch the focus of which characters we are following. The episodes also run the gambit of lengths, ranging anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes.
I really enjoyed this show – I received screeners of the first 7 episodes and couldn’t help but binge all the way through once I started. Each episode flows nicely right into the next, making the episodes feel more like a long film. I look forward to seeing how the season comes to an end now that the full season has gone live on Netflix!
I’ll also be watching/recording Grey’s Anatomy, Fam, Superstore, A.P. Bio, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Abby’s, The Orville, In the Dark, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, and Tacoma FD.
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