Z Nation

Last updated

Z Nation
Z nation title.png
Created by
ComposerJason Gallagher
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes68 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Paul Bales
  • David Michael Latt
  • David Rimawi
  • Karl Schaefer
ProducerKarl Schaefer
Production locations Spokane, Washington
Eastern Washington
Fort Casey-Coupeville, Washington
Bremerton, Washington
Cinematography Alexander Yellen
  • Anders Hoffmann
  • Fred Beahm
  • Erik C. Andersen
Running time41–85 minutes
Production companies
DistributorDynamic Television (international)
Original network Syfy
Picture format 1080i (HDTV 16:9)
Audio format Dolby Surround 5.1
Original releaseSeptember 10, 2014 (2014-09-10) 
December 28, 2018 (2018-12-28)
External links
Official website

Z Nation is an American action/horror/comedy-drama/post-apocalyptic television series that aired on Syfy, created by Karl Schaefer and Craig Engler, and produced by The Asylum. The first season of 13 episodes premiered on September 12, 2014. [1] Z Nation was filmed in the Spokane, Washington area.


On June 16, 2016, Syfy announced that Z Nation's third season would be preceded by a TV movie, set prior to the climax of season 2 and introducing central characters for the third season. [2] However, the movie was instead presented as the first two episodes of the season, the two-part "No Mercy".

On December 15, 2017, Syfy renewed the series for a fifth season, which premiered on October 5, 2018. [3] [4] On December 22, 2018, Syfy cancelled the series after five seasons. The 68th and final episode aired on December 28, 2018, concluding the five-season series. [5]


Z Nation begins three years into a zombie apocalypse caused by a virus that has already killed most humans. In the days just before society fell apart, Murphy was one of three inmates at Portsmouth Naval Prison in Kittery, Maine, who were unwilling participants in a government-approved experiment. Each inmate was given a different test vaccine. Murphy was the only one to survive the vaccine injection. He is the only known survivor of a zombie bite who did not turn into a zombie, and his blood contains antibodies that are mankind's last and best hope for a vaccine. However, he seems to be mutating into some form of hybrid between zombie and human—his skin is shedding and his body turning blue, and he seems to be able to control and even mesmerize certain types of zombies he encounters. Yet he has not turned into a full zombie and still maintains control of himself. The series revolves around his travels with a small group of survivors being led through the apocalypse by Simon "Citizen Z" Cruller, who watches the world from his multiple computers. The group is looking to use him to solve the zombie pandemic.

The group must transport Murphy from New York to the world's last known functioning Centers for Disease Control research lab in California. However, Murphy harbors a dark secret about his condition that threatens them all. [6]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 13September 12, 2014 (2014-09-12)December 5, 2014 (2014-12-05)
2 15September 11, 2015 (2015-09-11)December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
3 14September 16, 2016 (2016-09-16)December 16, 2016 (2016-12-16)
4 13September 29, 2017 (2017-09-29)December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15)
5 13October 5, 2018 (2018-10-05) [7] December 28, 2018 (2018-12-28)

Cast and characters


Z Nation is produced by Go2 Digital Media for The Asylum. [8] On June 29, 2014, it was announced that the filming of 13 episodes for the first season of the series was underway. [9] [10] On October 12, 2014, Syfy announced that it had ordered a second season of Z Nation. [11] [12] Schaefer and Engler have described Z Nation as an attempt to "put the fun back into zombies", criticizing shows like The Walking Dead for being too serious. [13] Z Nation's first season had a budget of less than $700,000 per episode. [14]


Z Nation is distributed internationally by Dynamic Television. [8] The series premiered on Syfy in Australia on April 1, 2015, [15] and was watched by 26,000 viewers. [16] The United Kingdom premiere aired on Freeview channel Pick on July 21, 2015. [17]

Home release

Season 1 was released on DVD on February 10, 2015, by Syfy in association with Universal Home Entertainment. [18] [19] It was also issued on iTunes, with episodes running approximately 41–43 minutes each. [20]

The show is now on Netflix around the globe. [21] [22]


The first season of Z Nation received mixed reviews from professional television critics. Its aggregate score on Metacritic is 48 out of 100 based on reviews from 11 critics. [23] [24] Rotten Tomatoes gave the show a rating of 45%, based on reviews from 20 critics, with the site's consensus stating "Although it's hampered by an overcrowded narrative, Z Nation manages to muster up some fun scares without taking itself too seriously." [25]

Chris Carabott of IGN noted that the show "continues to set itself apart in campy and inventive ways." [26] Brian Moylan of The Guardian called Z Nation scary "in the same vague way as that talking green blob is in the Mucinex commercials" and concluded that viewers would hate all the characters, but that "Citizen Z (DJ Qualls) is especially horrible." [27] Merrill Barr of Forbes magazine said the show had a high entertainment value. [28]

In its first season, Z Nation averaged 1.42 million viewers per episode, including a .48 rating in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic. [29]

Connection to the Sharknado film series

The film Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! , released in July 2015, featured a cameo appearance by Smith as Sgt. Warren. [30] In a first-season episode of Z Nation, "Home Sweet Zombie" (2014), upon viewing a tornado carrying and tossing zombies, Warren remarks, "They ain't sharks!"

The 2017 film Sharknado 5: Global Swarming featured a cameo appearance by Hodgkinson as Doc. [31]

Companion prequel series

On July 19, 2018, it was reported that Netflix had given an eight-episode straight-to-series order for Black Summer, a prequel series set within the Z Nation universe. Actress Jaime King was set to star in the series, created by Schaefer and John Hyams. [32] At the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, Schaefer noted that "Black Summer is before the apocalypse got weird and was just scary." He also said that the drama series is not intended to be the funny version of The Walking Dead that Z Nation is, but instead would be a more traditional take on zombie lore. [33] In November 2019, Netflix renewed the series for a second eight-episode season.

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