Archive for the ‘Z Nation’ Category

How many?

How many?

The last month and a half has been a particularly busy one for me, and as a result, I’ve fallen behind in my reviews of all the shows I’ve been covering, save for The Walking Dead. This happens about three times a year (the nature of teaching at a semester-based college – is there any other kind?), and while I’ve usually been able to catch up, some semesters take longer than others (in fact, as I was going through my notes this morning, I realized that I haven’t actually written up a review for one episode of Game of Thrones from last season – talk about overdue!). The good news (for me) is that I’ve been mostly keeping up on the viewing – it’s just the actual writing that needs to be done.

Just a few notes to help me catch up...

Just a few notes to help me catch up…

Over the next month or so, I’m going to be doing my best to catch up on my reviews, one show at a time, until I’m back up-to-date on all counts. This will mean that there will be “new” reviews being posted that are actually of old shows. You’re welcome to read them, but I understand if you don’t – they’re there more or less because I want to have complete seasons posted for when, eventually, I begin to archive posts on this blog.

So please bear with me for a bit longer – I will be catching up on all the shows I review. I’ll be beginning with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is having a strong second season so far; doing Z Nation next, which is a show I love to hate; following that with Forever which, while not as strong as Agents, is still a fun little procedural with a twist; moving on to Gotham, which has been getting progressively better as it grows; and finishing off with old reviews from the summer that I simply never got to (for The Leftovers and The Last Ship). I’ve also been taking notes on Constantine, as I had high hopes for it – unfortunately, it’s never quite lived up to those hopes, and looks as though it might be cancelled shortly – I may or may not get to those notes last.

And as always: thanks for reading!

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Episode: 105
Airdate: October 10, 2014
Directed by: Luis Prieto
Showrunner: Karl Schaefer
Written by: Dan Merchant

What do you do when you’re a production company with a relatively small budget in the zombie wars, and you’re known better for shows specializing in cheese, sharks, and tornadoes? You add cheese and tornadoes, of course. Sharks might help this show as well, but for now, we’ll take two out of three – but unlike what Meatloaf told us years ago, sometimes two out of three is still kind of bad. Click through for my full review.

<<Spoiler Alert: This review will discuss S01E05 of Z Nation, “Home Sweet Zombie,” including direct references to plot points and events in the episode.>>
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Episode: 104
Airdate: October 3, 2014
Directed by: Michael Robison
Showrunner: Karl Schaefer
Written by: Eric Bernt

After two decently average episodes over the last two weeks, Z Nation took a decided step backwards into inanity with tonight’s fourth outing, which somehow manages to be even worse than the pilot episode. “Full Metal Jacket” would, based on my handwritten notes made during my viewing of the show, better be called “Full Stupid Something I Can’t Say in Polite Company”. And sadly, it isn’t even fun stupid. Click through after the break to read my full review.

<<Spoiler Alert: This review will discuss S01E04 of Z Nation, “Full Metal Zombie,” including direct references to plot points and events in the episode.>>
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Episode: 103
Airdate: September 26, 2014
Directed by: Michael Robison
Showrunner: Karl Schaefer
Written by: Eric Bernt, Craig Engler

While this could definitely have been a slice of “Philly Cheese Steak” based on how things have gone so far in the opening run of Z Nation, tonight’s episode may finally be showing hints of that thing the show has been lacking: a team-building episode that combines forgiveness, understanding, and a certain degree of kick-assedness that has, frankly, been missing so far. Is the show a contender with The Walking Dead? No, nor will it become one – but it might become something worth watching on its own merits, if the hints of promise here pan out. Click through for my full review.

<<Spoiler Alert: This review will discuss S01E03 of Z Nation, “Philly Feast,” including direct references to plot points and events in the episode.>>
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Episode: 102
Airdate: September 19, 2014
Directed by: John Hyams
Showrunner: Karl Schaefer
Written by: Michael Cassutt, Jennifer Derwingson (executive story editor)

Z Nation did not impress me in its debut last week on Syfy. I gave it a generous grade of “D” with the caveat that, if things didn’t improve dramatically in the next week, I wouldn’t be reviewing it past the second episode. So here I am, having just watched this week’s follow-up, and the question is: will I be reviewing this one still in week three? Click through after the break to find out.

<<Spoiler Alert: This review will discuss S01E02 of Z Nation, “Fracking Zombies,” including direct references to events in the episode.>>
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Episode: 101
Airdate: September 12, 2014
Directed by: John Hyams
Showrunner: Karl Schaefer
Written by: Jennifer Derwingson (executive story editor), Karl Schaefer

Last night marked the debut of Syfy’s attempt to horn in on AMC’s solid choke-hold on the television zombie oeuvre. Airing the show a month to the day before the Season 5 premiere of The Walking Dead is obviously a strategic move by Syfy’s program schedulers: take advantage of the anticipation felt by fans of TWD, and hopefully hook them on a second zombie themed show before the AMC series begins. The thing is, in order to get people interested, Syfy needs to do more than show the program earlier on the calendar; they also need to put together a quality production with at least decent writing and serviceable acting. Unfortunately, Z Nation receives poor grades in all three areas. Click through after the break to read my full review.

<<Spoiler Alert: This review will discuss S01E01 of Z Nation, “Puppies and Kittens,” including direct references to events in the episode.>>
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At A Glance:


Title: Z Nation
Premiere: September 12, 2014
Channel: Syfy (Space in Canada)
Production Company: The Asylum
Showrunner: Karl Schaefer
Producers: Michael Cassutt (co-executive producer 12 episodes, 2014), Karl Schaefer (executive producer 12 episodes, 2014), Craig Engler (co-executive producer 9 episodes, 2014), Dan Merchant (consulting producer 1 episode)
Writers: Eric Bernt (1 episode), Michael Cassutt (3 episodes), Jennifer Derwingson (4 episodes), Craig Engler (2 episodes), Dan Merchant (2 episodes), Karl Schaefer (3 episodes), Eric Wallace (1 episode)
Starring: Harold Perrineau, Tom Everett Scott, DJ Qualls, Michael Welch and Kellita Smith

(Note: I realize the show aired last night, but I’m putting this preview up prior to sitting down to watch the episode and writing up my review! The show will be re-airing several times over the weekend, so you still have a chance to catch it if you missed it.)

Last night marked the debut of a new Syfy original series, a zombie-centered drama strategically beginning several weeks before the much-anticipated return of the fifth season of The Walking Dead. This is a smart move – first, fans of TWD are champing at the bit, eagerly anticipating the October 12th premiere date, so they might be willing to try out another zombie-themed show in the interim; and second, it is coming out with a clearly delineated end-game, a clear goal-oriented season which may potentially lead to a sense of purpose and cohesion that, to be honest, sometimes hampers the narrative flow on the AMC show. This is not to say that I believe this will be a superior production; The Asylum is, after all, the same production company that has recently graces us with such classics as Sharknado and Sharknado 2 – but they’re also the company behind the campy-yet-enjoyable SF series Eureka. So can they move beyond the camp?
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