Over the last few years, Syfy has become a repository of reality shows, professional wrestling, and half-assed monster-of-the-week creature features. That’s about to change in a big way, as they’re finally getting back into the habit of producing original science fiction content instead of just spewing out mediocre nonsense. One of their upcoming projects, the undead drama Z Nation, has just added a trio of new actors to the cast list. The Z, of course, stands for zombies.
Harold Perrineau (Lost), DJ Qualls (Hustle and Flos), and Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do) have signed on to the show, which is currently in production in Spokane, Washington, and join Michael Welch (Twilight) and Kellita Smith (Roll Bounce). The Asylum, yes, the people responsible for such cinematic treasures like Sharknado and Titanic 2, is behind this series, their first foray into television. Which gives many of us pause, and rightly so.
Set three years after a virus—it’s always a virus these days—has ravaged the world, leaving an undead-infested wasteland in its wake. The action follows a team that must transport the only human known to have resisted the plague all the way across the country to the last functioning research lab. The hope is that his antibodies can be used to create a vaccine, but the problem is that they’re on opposite sides of the country. Uh oh. He also happens to harbor a “dark secret” that could threaten everyone.
Perrineau will reportedly play a man named Hammond, the leader of the group; his second in command is Garnett, played by Scott; and Qualls will be a hacker named Citizen Z. So in theory, there must still be some level of infrastructure in place, or why the hell would you need a crack-skinny computer expert to help you navigate? Smith and Welch will be Addy and Mack, two random stragglers who join the group for some reason.
A zombie show is one of many kinds of shows that Syfy is working on, and their slate of projects in development reads like a checklist of popular types. For instance, they have a space opera in the works (Ascension), a clone drama (Robert Kirkman’s aptly titled Clone), and some time travel (A 12 Monkeys reboot). Network execs have gone out of their way to attempt to differentiate Z Nation from its chief competition, AMC’s The Walking Dead, claiming this show will take a much more hopeful, less oppressively bleak approach to the subject matter. That’s good, we’ve already got all the desolate negativity that we can handle, and it’ll be nice to see a little ray of sunshine inserted into our post-zombie apocalypse.