By Sorenya Miller
Zombie shows are very hit or miss, and Black Summer was not close to being a hit. The show follows a group of strangers trying to escape a zombie apocalypse, which is basically the premise for all zombie shows. However, what makes a zombie show or movie memorable is its characters, like Tallahassee from Zombieland, gut-wrenching scenes like in Resident Evil, and gruesome killings—all of which Black Summer is lacking. The show is bland, lacks variety and the directors clearly cannot stick to a storyline. The show moves from zombies to serial killer kids to diner chronicles, and secret erotic parties.
In the first episode we are presented with the five main characters: Rose, Ryan, Barbara, Lance, and Spears. The show introduces each of them by displaying their name on the screen and then proceeding to show where they are in the current timeline. Rose is a mother who unexpectedly gets separated from her daughter, while heading to the “Stadium.” The Stadium, which is supposedly a safe zone, is where all the remaining survivors want to get to. Interestingly, that is the only thing that connects the characters.
Next, we come across Ryan, who cannot seem to grasp that he is in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. His fight or flight instincts do not kick in and his shocked face is the only humor the show provides. Afterwards Barbara appears on screen, a middle-aged woman that does not understand the concept of “every man for himself.” Finally, Lance and Spears turn up. Lance, unlike Barbara, gets the gist and leaves his girlfriend to die when she gets run over by a car. Worth mentioning though, humans are turned into zombies when they are killed or bitten. Yeah, you read that right, when Lance’s girlfriend got run over, she turned into a zombie. This left me puzzled, and by the end of the show I was still confused. At last, Spears emerges as a convict being escorted by army officials to a house to receive his punishment for his crimes.
Following the introduction of the main characters, we only see three of them in the second episode, which starts the inconsistent pattern of the show. Not only that, but the episodes also kept getting shorter and more monotonous. Then out of nowhere, we come across serial killer kids. In a small high school, kids lurk in the halls, waiting for survivors to enter and entice them into a game of cat and mouse. Spears and Rose, along with other survivors, happen to enter this school looking for supplies and end up in a Saw movie. They get taunted and hunted down and barely make it out alive.
There’s a switch to another story, because that is what the show at this point does best. It goes back and forth between the characters in different locations and shows the predicament they are in. In this instance, survivors lock themselves in a diner from zombies roaming outside. The show then proceeds to bore us with lacklustre dialogues for almost two full episodes. In fact, the diner scenes add nothing to the show. Although the characters bicker back and forth about who should be bait while they try to escape, it does nothing for my moral compass. The acting at this point makes you consider why you are still watching.
Eventually the timeline converges, and all the remaining main characters assemble for another elaborate storyline. This time some army personnel enter the chat with a secret underground sex trafficking and party ring. It is basically the end of the world, and some people are still concerned with having a good time and indulging in erotic and eccentric behavior instead of trying to survive. Well, I guess they want to make the best of their time on Earth before their potential demise, which does not last very long. Even with the appearance of the cavalry, we still do not get any answers and the show cannot redeem itself.
The show eventually picks up at the end and we finally get to see the survival of the fittest. A full-blown action scene happens, and the zombies are finally on a full rampage by chasing and killing humans relentlessly. Earlier in the series, we barely saw zombie encounters, which is very uncommon for a show primarily based on zombies. In the end, Rose and Spears make it inside the stadium and they are left just as clueless as the viewers. All in all, Black Summer proves that a show can get worse with each succeeding episode, and there are a lot of unknowns until the end of the series. There are no explanations about how the apocalypse started, or why the characters were placed in certain locations. This show really wastes your time and your summer.