Z Nation Introduction
Syfy (USA) premiered 12th September 2014
Set three years after a zombie virus outbreak has devastated the entire world, Z Nation, follows a group of survivors as they attempt to bring Murphy, the world’s only known survivor of zombie bites, from New York to California. When the zombie apocalypse first struck, society as the world once knew it was decimated by the living undead in a period known as “Black Summer”.
Scientists and a Vaccine
During this time, a group of Portsmouth Naval Prison research scientists frantically attempted to create a cure for the virus by injecting inmates with experimental vaccines. Murphy was the sole survivor of this experiment; withstanding eight zombie bites without contracting the zombie virus.
Escape to California
At the point where viewers enter the Z Nation universe, Murphy and a rag-tag group of fellow survivors are striving to reach California where they hope that the world’s last fully functioning research laboratory in existence can extract the vaccine within Murphy’s blood and create a cure to end the zombie apocalypse.
Season 1 consisted of 13 episodes that aired between 12th September 2014 and 5th December 2014. Z Nation was renewed for a second season with 15 episodes planned to air on Syfy from 11th September 2015.
Series 1 List Of Episodes:
“Puppies and Kittens” | “Fracking Zombies” | “Philly Feast” | “Full Metal Zombie” | “Home Sweet Zombie” | “Resurrection Z” | “Welcome To The Fu-Bar” | “Zunami” | “Die Zombie Die…Again” | “Going Nuclear” | “Sisters of Mercy” | “Murphy’s Law” | “Doctor of the Dead”
Due to its post-apocalyptic zombie infested setting, Z Nation features many graphic violent scenes featuring the living undead. From light explosions and blood splatters to more gory instances which show rabid zombies feasting on both dead and alive victims, if you are in any way squeamish then you will find yourself watching most of Z Nation through the gaps in your fingers!
Although Z Nation received a fair amount of criticism upon release for its similarities to The Walking Dead, this Syfy original series has developed a loyal fan base as well as critical acclaim throughout its first season run.
AV Club review
“To the casual observer, it could appear to be a direct rip-off, but Z Nation is able to stand separate from whatever influence that other series might have on it. Z Nation even tips its hat to the AMC show, with Mark Hammond (Harold Perrineau) mentioning how he heard talk of ‘an ex-cop and some others taking refuge in a prison.’ While survival has always been The Walking Dead’s main thrust, saving the world and looking good doing it is Z Nation’s immediate goal“
In fact, Z Nation averaged a respectable 1.42 million viewers over the course of its first season’s 13 episode run. During this time, the show received positive endorsements from Chris Carabott of IGN.
“[Z Nation] continues to set itself apart in campy and inventive ways”, from Forbes magazine who reported that it had; “high entertainment value”, and from Cinemablend who described how; “Z Nation’s biggest strengths are its momentum and pacing, along with stopping short of taking itself too seriously.“
The pilot episode of Z Nation premiered on 12th September 2014 and attracted approximately 1.6 million viewers; making it the most watched cable show in its 10pm time slot. It was also the second most watched show amongst the key demographic of 18-49 year olds and averaged 480,000 18-49 year old viewers per episode throughout its freshman season.
In addition to a myriad of zombies that come in all shapes and sizes, as well as a handful of recurring cast and guest stars who attempt to fend off hordes of the living undead, listed below are the main characters who make up the core group of Z Nation survivors:
Also referred to as “Patient Zero”, Alvin Murphy was incarcerated in Portsmouth Naval Prison for postal fraud when the initial zombie virus outbreak occurred. During the events of “Black Summer”, Murphy was injected with an experimental vaccine for the zombie virus against his will.
He later survived multiple bites from the living undead. Portrayed by Keith Allan, Murphy is intelligent and cunning but also selfish, unreliable and untrustworthy; traits which make him a highly contentious member of the Westward-bound survival group!
Lieutenant Mark Hammond
Portrayed by Harold Perrineau, Lieutenant Mark Hammond was a highly respected member of the US Army’s Delta Force elite team before the catastrophic zombie apocalypse struck. Hammond is the leader of the Westward-bound survival group. His mission is to execute Operation Bite-Mark which entails transporting Murphy to the Mount Wilson Station in the San Gabriel Mountains.
This research laboratory, located amidst the Los Angeles National Forest in California, is the only remaining CDC (Centre for Disease Control) facility in the world. Their plan is to use the vaccine in Murphy’s blood to create a cure for the zombie virus.
Portrayed by Kellita Smith, Roberta Warren is an ex-member of the National Guard who lost her entire family in the initial zombie virus outbreak.
Despite her tough and abrasive demeanour, Roberta is a natural leader who agrees to help Mark and Murphy reach their military convoy. Before joining the Westward-bound survivor group on their mission to take Murphy to California, Roberta was a member of the Upstate New York survivor group at Camp Blue Sky.
First Sergeant Charles Garnett
Before the zombie apocalypse struck, First Sergeant Charles Garnett, portrayed by Tom Everett Scott, was a member of the National Guard in Georgia.
When Z Nation begins we find Garnett living at Camp Blue Sky as a member of the Upstate New York survivor group. After meeting Hammond and Murphy, Garnett joins the Westward-bound survival group and serves as Hammond’s second-in-command.
Steven “Doc” Beck
Although his only medical experience consists of basic first aid techniques and procedures that he has seen performed on the TV show ER, Steven Beck has a handy supply of medicine at his disposal and is known amongst his fellow Westward-bound survivor group members as “Doc”.
Portrayed by Russell Hodgkinson, Doc is a drug dealer, former long haul truck driver and ex-drug addict who is loyal to his fellow survivors and who possesses a strong constitution for zombie guts and gore!
Portrayed by Nat Zang, 10K is another member of the Westward-bound survival group. He is a quiet yet observant and intelligent individual who is extremely proficient with sniper rifles and knives.
Not much is known about 10K’s real identity except for the fact that he likes killing zombies, that he is incredibly skilled with firearms and that his self-imposed nickname refers to his goal to kill 10,000 zombies.
Before joining the Westward-bound survivor group Cassandra was the sole surviving member of the Philadelphia cannibal survivor group. Portrayed by Pisay Pao, Cassandra is extremely strong and remarkably quick for her short stature. With a quiet nature and mysterious past, Cassandra travels with the Westward-bound survivor group as they venture towards California.
Addison “Addy” Grace Carver
Before the advent of the zombie apocalypse, Addy Carver was a quiet and sensitive girl. However, the death of her family at the hands of the living undead unearthed Addy’s keen survival instinct, resourceful nature and gutsy qualities. Portrayed by Anastasia Baranova, Addy and her boyfriend Mack met after the initial zombie virus outbreak and have now become members of the Westward-bound survival group.
Portrayed by Michael Welch, Mack Thompson is Addy’s boyfriend and another member of the Westward-bound survival group. Despite his quick temper, Mack is proficient with firearms and is fiercely protective of Addy whom he strives to keep safe at all costs.
Private First Class Simon Cruller, or “Citizen Z” as he is broadly known, is portrayed by DJ Qualls. After the rest of his group evacuated, Citizen Z is the only remaining soldier at the NSA’s Northern Light listening post. From this Arctic Circle location, Citizen Z utilises a network of surveillance cameras,
listening equipment and radio transmissions to witness the events of the zombie apocalypse and to guide the Westward-bound survivor group as they travels towards California. Citizen Z is highly intelligent, adept with computers and imparts uplifting, optimistic and often life-saving messages to the Westward-bound survival group when needed.
Z Nation Verdict
As soon as you watch a horde of zombies rapidly swarm at their victims you know this is going to be a different type of zombie program. Gone are the slow roaming living undead with low groans and instead you are thrown into a post apocalyptic reality full to bursting with a diverse array of chilling and hilarious zombies.
Zombie Dogs and Zombie Babies
From rampaging zombie dogs and lightning fast meth zombies to creepy zombie babies and even zombie tornados.
Which is hardly surprising, given that the show is produced by Asylum, the same company that brought you the hilariously infamous Sharknado franchise! At the core of its being, Z Nation offers a tongue in cheek spin on conventional zombie dramas.
From its eclectic mix of the zombie breeds to the ingenious manner in which they are either adeptly or unbelievably killed with a selection of weapons and combat techniques that include; slingshots, golf balls and even the Liberty Bell in one instance!
Zombies should be fun
After all, as show creators Karl Schaefer and Craig Engler themselves have stated, Z Nation was created as an attempt to “put the fun back into zombies” and to move away from the serious and harrowing plotlines that are covered in shows such as The Walking Dead.
Humour meets Horror
Consequently, if you have been looking for a weird, wacky and wonderful new zombie show that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat in one instance and rolling on the floor laughing merely seconds later then Z Nation could quickly become your new favourite TV show!
Read more about Z Nation:
Z Nation Season 1 Review