The zombie trend jumped the proverbial shark a long time ago, but that hasn’t stopped Syfy from ordering 13 episodes of a new zombie series, Z Nation, set to debut this fall. The show is being produced by infamous “mockbuster” studio The Asylum, who recently had a massive hit for the network with Sharknado.
All involved say—apparently with a completely straight face—that Z Nation will offer a fresh take on the lifeless, quickly decaying zombie formula. Chris Regina, Senior VP of Programming for Syfy, calls the show “a unique new journey into the long established zombie genre…In producing their first ever weekly series, our longtime partners The Asylum have created a different way of telling an iconic story."
Z Nation begins three years after the zombie apocalypse and centers on a “team of everyday heroes” that must take the only known survivor of the plague to the last remaining viral lab in California in hopes of creating a vaccine. Much like an unnamed TV series that may or may not rhyme with “Stalking Bread,” Z Nation will gradually shift its focus from neat gore effects to character backstory in order to bring a human dimension to the show (i.e., save money) . The fact that Z Nation also sounds like a show that might have run on Fuse in the late ’90s certainly doesn’t help it feel any fresher.
The one potentially redeeming aspect of Z Nation is the presence of Karl Schaefer, co-creator of Eerie, Indiana and executive producer of Eureka, who will serve as showrunner. Neither of those shows ever really took off, but both have their fans, and neither ever came close to a disaster of Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus proportions. It’ll be interesting to see whether Z Nation represents a new high for The Asylum, or a new low for Schaefer.