‘Z Nation,’ Just A Ripoff Of ‘The Walking Dead,’ Or Something More?

television-tv-news-and-talkLast night Syfy’s latest TV series, Z Nation, debuted for the fall season. There is no doubt they are trying to cash in on the popularity AMC’s The Walking Dead series. This series has The Asylum written all over it. For those that don’t know they are, The Asylum is the production company for the series, but they are also the ones behind many of the Syfy channel’s numerous corny Saturday night movies like Mega Shark, Sharknado and too many others to list.

They are also responsible for the many knockoff movies of blockbuster movies like, Atlantic Rim (Pacific Rim), Battle of Los Angeles (Battle: Los Angeles), Almighty Thor (Thor) and others. So to see them doing this series isn’t quite a surprise.

The premise for Z Nation even sounds familiar.

Z Nation starts three years after the zombie virus has gutted the country, when a team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Although the antibodies he carries are the world’s last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all. With humankind’s survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of rusted-out post-apocalyptic America.

Sound like one of the recent story lines in The Walking Dead? Where Abraham Ford and crew need to get Eugene Porter to Washington D.C. because he has the answer to the outbreak. There was even a line of dialogue that is either trying to establish a connection to The Walking Dead, or just a nod to the series. The line was in response to Harold Perrineau‘s (Lost) character Lt. Mark Hammond being asked how he found a location, his response was, “an ex-cop and some others taking shelter in a prison up the road.

The best scene in the first episode, “Puppies and Kittens,” involves a baby. I don’t want to reveal too much about it, but it is pretty damn funny. It looks like they are going to be building off of scenes like this throughout the series. Which might be its only redeeming factor since it is so heavily borrowing from The Walking Dead.

As far as the cast goes, the only others that I recognize in Z Nation are Tom Everett Scott and DJ Qualls. I don’t think either will be winning any Academy Awards here either, Tom Everett Scott so far, is way overacting his scenes, but strangely enough it totally works here. As for DJ Qualls, the guy is too goofy to take serious, he is a military computer technician and the lone survivor at a military base.

Is this series worth your time? If you don’t mind a great deal of “cheese factor” in your TV viewing, then this might be a fun campy ride, which is what I think Syfy (and Asylum) are banking on. Considering this time of the year many channels start showing tons of horror movies — from classics to the immensely corny — so Z Nation probably has a place among them. I’ll probably watch the series to see where it goes, or just for the comedic moments. Plus I love me some “cheese factor” when I know what to expect.

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