The complete first season of Z Nation, a low-budget show about a zombie apocalypse, starts with a bang, only to lose steam halfway through and never really recover. The entire season of 13 episodes reportedly cost a third of what most cable shows cost nowadays, with each episode coming in under a million dollars. And that's the best and worst thing about the first season of Z Nation: its low budget forces the writers to do the best with what they got, creating stories that don't require a huge cast or multiple locations, and what the writers come up with is occasionally impressive. But trying to do the best with what you got is a very challenging task if what you got is very little, and that's the case here. As by the second half of the season it's clear that the writers are panting for breath, trying to outrun the limitations of their budget, with stories becoming repetitive and the action slowing down considerably.
What saves the show is a likable cast, led by the charismatic Kellita Smith and the quirky Keith Allan. The season finale tries its best to be exciting and suspenseful, and it succeeds to some extent. But one can't help but wonder how the show can improve if the budget doesn't. Time will tell.
Text © Ahmed Khalifa. 2016.