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Z Nation: Syfy’s New Zombie Show Seeks Walking Dead Audience

Harold Perrineau Z nationSyfy (the silly name the SciFi Channel adopted a few years ago) has a new zombie show called Z Nation in the works. There’s a lot of walk about whether it can rival the Walking Dead.

Well, it probably can’t. But I don’t think that’s the point. The point is we’re about to get a second zombie show on basic cable, and that’s pretty legit.

The series stars Harold Perrineau, Tom Everett Scott, DJ Qualls, Michael Welch, Kellita Smith, Anastasia Baranova, Russell Hodgkinson, and Keith Allan. It’s set to premier Friday, Sept. 12 at 10 p.m. Friday, a.k.a. TV’s big night other than Sunday (a.k.a. the Walking Dead night).

The show starts three years after a virus has turned the country into zombies. A group of survivors is escorting a guy who survived a zombie bite from New York to California, where a lab of epidemiologists is waiting to test his blood. The official description states: “Although the antibodies he carries are the world’s last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all.With humankind’s survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of rusted-out post-apocalyptic America.”

From the look of the trailer, it’s not the same high quality stuff as The Walking Dead, and might even focus a little more on horror. In the zombie genre, horror is becoming something of a novelty, with the focus generally being on shotguns and crossbows. So that could definitely be a fresh angle, particularly on TV.

As long as the quality is at least passable – which the trailer reveals it to be – it should bring some much-needed numbers for Syfy. The zombie genre is low-hanging fruit right now. People are hungry for more, and anything decent is bound to scoop up some ratings. The Walking Dead owns Sunday nights, averaging 15.6 million viewers. The second rated show Sunday night is Talking Dead – a show where people talk about the number one show – which brings in 7.3 million viewers. I’m sure Syfy would be thrilled with even a quarter of that average.