The Syfy channel has officially decided to renew zombie-apocalypse series Z Nation for its third season.
The quirky and fast-paced action opus about flesh eaters, which one fan site describes as a horror comedy, is currently nine episodes into its 15-episode, Season 2 run, which began on September 11, 2015.
Based on past practice, the 15 new episodes of Z Nation (i.e., zombie nation) Season 3 will likely commence in September 2016 in its current time slot, Friday night at 10 p.m. Eastern.
“Syfy has picked up a third season of scripted drama series Z Nation for premiere in 2016. Currently in the midst of Season 2, Z Nation is averaging 1.5 million total viewers per episode (Live +7), and ranks as Syfy’s most social original series in total social engagements, according to the network,” Deadline Hollywood reported.
“The series, which takes place three years after a zombie virus has gutted the country, hails from executive producer Karl Schaefer (Eureka). Z Nation is produced by The Asylum and sold internationally by Dynamic Television,” The Hollywood Reporter explained.
The Asylum is also the prime mover behind the campy Sharknado franchise.
Filmed in the Spokane, Washington, area, the premise of Z Nation, which has somewhat of a Mad Max road trip vibe (but is produced on a far smaller budget than AMC’s The Walking Dead) revolves around a core group of survivors attempting to transport Murphy, an opportunistic ex-con slacker, to a CDC lab in California so researchers there can develop a vaccine for the zombie virus from his blood, thereby saving the world, what’s left of it.
Murphy, aka The Murphy, is the only known human who has withstood a zombie bite.
The reluctant/uncooperative savior Murphy has also somehow become a zombie whisperer, with the ability to psychically control the undead, who in Z Nation are generally more peppy and aggressive than in The Walking Dead.
With that in mind, in addition to quirky and dangerous human characters that show up in each episode, including cult leaders, outlaws, and drug cartel killers, Z Nation has also featured zombies on Viagra, zombie pole dancers, the iconic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia pulverizing zombies, a giant zombie-killing cheese wheel, the birth of a zombie-human hybrid zombaby, plus characters toking on a “Z-weed” recreational hallucinogenic. The crew even paid a visit to Roswell.
“I give you mercy” is Z Nation’s signature catchphrase when one of the principals puts an about-to-turn victim out of his or her misery.
Along with extensive amounts of mayhem (see clip below), Z Nation offers a more irreverent and often comedic take on the zombie apocalypse genre than The Walking Dead, the latter with its mostly dour characters. Another difference: While Z Nation is also consumed by a continuing narrative, each episode typically contains a stand-alone storyline.
The juxtaposition of slapstick humor and ever-present zombie violence can sometimes be uneven if not jarring, however.
Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, for example, made a cameo appearance as his fictional zombified self in a recent episode. According to Episode 8, Martin suffered a zombie bite at Comic Con. A “collector” subsequently chained him up in a celebrity zombie exhibit, where he was doomed via muscle memory to autograph A Song of Ice and Fire books in perpetuity in his undead condition. This same collector endeavored to add Murphy to the museum. Although the collector received frontier justice in the episode, Martin’s fate was left undetermined.
“Syfy’s Z Nation is an inexplicably entertaining series. It’s a bunch of post-apocalyptic nonsense pulled together on a budget that’s probably less than craft services on your average indie film, yet somehow it works,” the A.V. Club website commented.
[Photo by Sasha Steinbach/Getty Images]