A couple of weeks ago, Netflix quietly dropped a new ‘Netflix original’ series called Black Summer that has everything you need to fill that zombie void until The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead returns.
The series (apparently set within the same world as Z Nation – which I am yet to watch), all bleak and depressing in its stark blue wash, kicks off in the American suburbs only a few short weeks after the onset of a deadly outbreak where people are striving to make it to ‘the arena’, a military zoned rescue point. This is where we first meet our series heroine Rose (Jamie King) as she, her husband and daughter attempt to make it to the evacuation jeeps. But things don’t go to plan and it’s not long before Rose is flying solo, trying to get to her final destination.
The series introduces several other key figures along the way including *possible* criminal on the run Spears (Justin Chu Cary), Kyungsun (Christine Lee) a non-English speaking Korean woman and Lance (Kelsey Flower) who may possibly be the one character to offer a glaringly realistic view of just how an everyday Joe may go about trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse.
And this zombie apocalypse is different to the world in which we’re used to seeing. The zombie’s aren’t your slow-assed Sunday stroll zombies either. These buggers can run. Like fast. And turning them doesn’t take hours after death. It’s literally instantaneously as introduced in the opening episode.
While Black Summer makes for an engaging edge-of-your-seat show, there are a few misses scattered among the many hits that makes the show so great. The eight episodes are all scattered in length making some feel like they ended a little too quickly while others, a little too long. The pilot episode runs for just on 44 minutes allowing for character introduction and a decent look at the world they’re living in while the finale wraps up in a short 20 minute outing forcing the story line to jolt to a somewhat open ended finale.
And don’t be too worried if you feel like your’e missing an episode between 5 and 6. Episode five (Diner) is set entirely within an abandoned diner where the characters bicker and fight while Episode six (Heist) finds the same characters partaking in an extremely detailed heist on an underground warehouse. It’s a situation that is some cause of confusion considering the importance the heist plays on the rest of the season.
In the end, Black Summer is a series that is always on the go, even in the quietest of moments, there’s a sense of urgency, a sense of needing to keep moving as enemies both dead and alive are right around the corner. And its this constant tension that not only sets Black Summer apart from other zombie apocalypse shows but also makes for entertaining viewing.
Black Summer season one is not available to stream on Netflix.