No.3 DJ Qualls
Speaking of Citizen Z, who hasn’t loved DJ Qualls since him since Road Trip or The New Guy? He’s definitely quirky and there couldn’t have been a better casting choice for Citizen Z than he. He’s able to pull off genuine concern, humor, and technical details with geek proficiency. He’s definitely not a tough guy, so if his Northern Light outpost ever gets overrun, it’ll be sad episode… then again, he could pull off a sneaky survival trick. Qualls also excels at the isolation stuff and his ramblings, especially now that he has a dog, are charming while being indicative of his possibly slipping into some sort of madness. A lot of Z Nation‘s humor is delivered through Citizen Z as the show has made a hallmark of each episode closing with some sort of commentary from him.
No.2 The Show’s Pace Is Faster
Z Nation gets the point and deals with it within the span of an episode, unlike TWD in which a whole season is dedicated to dealing with a problem. See, in Z Nation the overriding purpose is to get Murphy, the only known person to have been exposed to the virus and survived, to California so that a cure can hopefully be found. That was established in the first episode, in which Lt. Hammond (LOST’s Harold Perrineau) leads the mission and dies in the process. Once he dies, his duty turns over to Garnett (Tom Everett Scott) and the rest of the small band of survivors. In the second episode they search for fuel and in the third episode they encounter a cult of cannibals.
Being episodic is one reason for the show’s quick pace, but the fact that it also almost views like agame cutscene is a factor as well. This lead me to believe that the showrunners are looking to grab a younger demographic. Yes, I know the average gamer’s age is 30 something, but since TWD audience is largely late-20s to 50-something, it makes sense to give the kids something they can pay attention to. Another point about the video game culture they’re trying to grab is the character who goes by the moniker 10k; he tallies up his zombie kills and when he reaches 10,000 he’ll change his name. The way I see it, there are three outcomes to this figure: Either he’s going to die before he gets to 10,000 he’s going to drop a bomb or something equally destructive, or the show plans on being around for a long while.
No.1 The Kills Are Graphic
There are basically two reasons why we all love zombie apocalypse: fantasy that plays into our “what would I do if…” sensibilities and zombie kills! Not to discredit Greg Nicotero and all the wonderful work he and his team have done on TWD, but sometimes that show forgets it’s a zombie show. And in all honesty, the make-up on Z Nation pales in comparison, but at least on Z Nation we’ve already seen a baby zombie (nod to Zack Snyder?), a zombie stuck in a truck’s wheel well, and some great headshots, but let’s just give you the big, awesome, and creative kill scene in the third episode: Our band of survivors enter Philidelphia and find the Liberty Bell on the back of a flatbed truck. As they race through the city streets and come to a screeching halt, the bell dislodges and flies down the street, stopping the undead in their tracks, sometimes with their lower legs still firmly planted on the ground. Yes, it was ridiculous, but it was awesome!
Z Nation airs Fridays, at 10/9C on Syfy.
Rock Hard \m/