Tuesday, June 25, 2019

TV Review: Black Summer (2019)

Black Summer (2019) created by John Hyams and Karl Schaefer

The zombie apocalypse is just getting started and people from the suburbs are being evacuated. One mother (Jaime King) is separated from her daughter. The plan is to get to the nearby city where the military is staging an evacuation. A bunch of other people are also fleeing from the suburbs to anywhere that is not overrun by the high-speed zombies. The show follows seven or eight characters. The number keeps shifting as new people are added and old people are offed. A handful of people make it from the first episode to the final episode.

The story is fairly simple and the show is basically a string of set pieces where the group faces various challenges. In one episode, they find a school that seems to be abandoned but really isn't. Another has five survivors trapped in a diner with two zombies outside ready to eat them. Enough thought and creativity is put into the episodes to make them engaging. Characters do make both bad and dumb choices, though often they are stuck with little time to decide what to do. Panic is not a good guide. The show is shot in long takes with hand-held cameras for the most part. I don't usually like the "shaky cam" look but it fits very well with a "fleeing the apocalypse" story.

The ending isn't entirely satisfying. Some loose ends are left though it isn't really clear that they are planning a sequel series either (which is typical with loose ends). The show is set in the Z Nation tv show universe, which I haven't watched. My impression is that Z Nation is more of a comedy zombie action show, which Black Summer clearly is not. This show is more of a standard "people surviving the apocalypse" drama.

Slightly recommended--this is an average zombie show--nothing especially great and nothing especially bad about it.

Streaming on Netflix as I write this review (June 2019).

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