Netflix unleashes the first trailer for Black Summer, the prequel series to SYFY’s recently canceled zombie series Z Nation. The original series aired on the genre-focused cable network for five seasons, until it ended (unceremoniously) in 2018. This new series looks to follow the route laid out by AMC’s The Walking Dead spinoff (which is also a prequel) Fear the Walking Dead, by showing the early days of the apocalypse from the perspective of an entirely new group of characters coming to grips with the unthinkable happening.
It’s easy to see why Netflix would be interested in a prequel series to the cultish popularity of Z Nation, though from the looks of the trailer, Black Summer is something of a departure tone-wise. That may be okay, as often the best parts of zombie movies and TV shows aren’t the efforts by the survivors of the apocalypse to rebuild society or find a cure for the zombie plague that’s ruined things on Earth. Instead, it’s how the stories capitalize on the slow build up of tension that is the early days of a zombie outbreak, before all hell breaks loose and suburbanites are taking to the streets armed like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando.
As far as trailers go, this first look at Black Summer has plenty of both. There’s a lot of confusion and panic as the show’s characters slowly begin to realize just how bad the situation actually is, and to make matters worse, the show’s ostensible lead, Rose (Jaime King), is separated from her daughter and has to fight her way through the undead (and other obstacles, to be sure) in an effort to be reunited. Check out the first trailer for Black Summer below:
The tone of the trailer is quite dark, painting a stark picture of what sort of series Black Summer is going to be, and, apparently, how much it will differ from the series it’s meant to be the progenitor of. Part of setting the tone of the zombie apocalypse includes going all-in with regard to the horror angle (at least in terms of what’s seen in the trailer), in particular the moment when a zombie is chasing a young man through an air duct. It’s a claustrophobic sequence that looks like Black Summer is going to make good use of the lack of restrictions on Netflix.
From the washed-out color palette to the rag-tag group of survivors to the speedy zombies chasing them, Black Summer looks as though it has borrowed a great deal of its aesthetic from Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. That will likely be enough to get some viewers excited about this latest addition to the zombie genre, but the question still remains if casual fans will tune in for yet another tale of the undead bringing the world to its knees.
Black Summer premieres Thursday, April 11 on Netflix.