AMC’s The Walking Dead has taken the cable TV ratings by storm after four seasons and the SyFy channel would like a piece of that undead pie. A trailer for Z Nation was released Tuesday that takes a slightly different view of surviving the zombie apocalypse.
Z Nation is produced by The Asylum, according to Variety. This is the same production company that brought us the purposefully schlocky Sharnado and Sharknado 2. The zombie drama is overseen by former Eureka producer Karl Schaefer and follows a group of survivors trying to find a cure for the zombie outbreak. In fact, one of them just may hold a cure for the outbreak after being bitten by a zombie and not turning.
The series stars Harold Perrineau, Tom Everett Scott, DJ Qualls, Michael Welch and Kellita Smith as part of the small band of survivors trying to make their way across a post-apocalyptic America to save everyone.
Here is the official plot for the 13-episode series from SyFy.
Z Nation starts three years after the zombie virus has gutted the country, 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.
As The Hollywood Reporter points out, it’s hard not to spot the similarities between Z Nation and The Walking Dead – Both are currently trying to get to a lab, both have conflicted heroes (just look at Scott’s face in the trailer and tell me he isn’t conflicted), and both go for shock value with zombie gore plus a zombie child (or baby in the case of Z Nation).
Season five of The Walking Dead does not start until Sunday, October 12. SyFy is attempting to get a slice of the 16 million that watch the season four finale to tune into Z Nation a month earlier at 10 p.m. on Friday, September 12.
The timeslot choice is interesting as the late Friday slot is not typically one where new TV shows typically thrive. SyFy must be shooting for DVR users or the 18-25 year old late night hangout crowd with this one.
Z Nation won’t be the first attempt at grabbing hold of part of The Walking Dead audience and it certainly won’t be the last. Amazon produced a pilot that adapted Zombieland from movie to TV series in 2013 as part of its Amazon Studios program. However, it never made it past the initial episode.
Meanwhile, the CW is currently producing iZombie, which is loosely based on the comic book series of the same name from DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. It is about a not quite undead heroine who works in a Seattle coroner’s office so that she can feast on brains while keeping a normal life outside her job.
What do you think? Is The Walking Dead a stand-alone juggernaut or will shows manage to grab part of its audience? Let us know in the comments below.