After five seasons, Z Nation, the post-atomic saga between horror and splatter, is going to end. The many fans can however remain in the same imaginative universe thanks to the spin-off prequel, Black Summer, which we are ready to bet, maybe as if we had some casino promo codes, will also be a success.
The popularity of this series was really surprising: produced by Asylum, a company specialising in low-cost TV movies (you know the cult legacy of Sharknado, right?), Z Nation and his zombies had all it took to disappoint the demanding horror audience. Instead, the series surprised with its ability to play with genres even with means and economic availability far inferior to productions such as The Walking Dead. Starting from the most trivial premise: to take the Murphy convict, on whom a vaccine had been tested, to a laboratory so that his blood could be used to synthesise the treatment, Z Nation has turned into something else.
In these sixty-nine episodes, Murphy has transformed from a simple compatriot, thanks also and above all to the excellent work of the actor Keith Allan, in a cynical, funny, all-round character. At his side, in this human circus that tries to survive in extreme situations and even after an atomic war, we find excellent compatriots. Lieutenant Warren (Kellita Smith), despite the zombie apocalypse, still has many ideals in her head as well as being maternal but also rich in resources. The psychotherapist Doc (Steven Beck), instead, is definitely at ease with drugs and synthetic substances while the young 10 k (Nat Zang) has a virtually unfailing aim, a talent that is particularly important in a situation where the rest of humanity is involved.
Over the course of five years, the series has completely overturned the narrative premises, transforming itself from a simple “quest” (a rescue mission by a small group of heroes) into a vast and articulated fresco of a post-apocalyptic world. Along the way, group leader Roberta Warren and her companions came across situations and creatures that more than four decades of literature and cinema about zombies had never proposed, mocking the rules imposed by the genre. The show has given the public real pearls of the horror genre, offering original and always fantastic species of zombies declined in the most absurd ways (zombie bears, baby zombies, wise kings zombies, zombie plants, and this only in the first episodes) and creative solutions to kill them. The narrative is not cyclical (as in the first seasons of the aforementioned The Walking Dead) and never repeats, based on the irrepressible need of humanity to survive.
Horror and splatter a go-go but also fun, thanks to solid and well-edited scripts by the showrunners Karl Schaefer and Craig Engler. The latter on his Twitter account commented on the end of the series as follows: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. Thanks to all the fans for five years of love and support”. No specific reason for the cancellation of the series, then. Why does Z Nation end after five seasons? Perhaps, as the somewhat melancholic but wise words from Engler suggest, after five years it’s just time to move on…