All roads lead to Spokane
As season four of “Z Nation” approaches, let’s take a look back at what makes it tick. After all, this isn’t your typical blood-and-guts zombie TV show. What’s sets the SyFy network’s undead offering apart from the rest of the horde is the comedy. And unlike other zombie shows such as AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” the laughter is totally intentional.
At its heart, “Z Nation” is about a ragtag group of survivors taking a road trip across the country (and parts of Mexico) in the hopes of finding a cure.
All of this is filmed in and around Spokane, which is dressed to look like just about anywhere. From Albany to Zona, Spokane is a stand-in for the rest of the country including the former site of Expo ’74 – the city of Spokane itself.
But back to the funny. “Z Nation” is know for taking a unique approach to dispatching zombies. Here’s a list of some of the best:
Weaponized Liberty Bell
Season 1, “Philly Feast.” While in Philadelphia, the gang finds the Liberty Bell strapped (poorly, as it turns out) onto a flatbed truck. They reasoned that after the apocalypse someone wanted to save a bit of history.
For whatever reason the 2,000-pound bell breaks free during a high-speed chase. It rolls down the street killing zombies, ringing all the way.
As Doc says, “I’d pay money to see that again.”
Cheese Wheel of Death
Season two, “Zombaby!” While moving through the remains of a cheese celebration parade, the gang comes across “The World’s Biggest Wheel of Cheese.” According to its label it’s an “Udderly Huge” wheel of “Wisconsin’s Best Cheddar.”
Our survivors take this opportunity to roll the wheel down a street that’s chock full of zombies. The wheel picks up the undead, leaving a trail of blood and guts, arms and legs sticking out of the cheese as it rolls – seemingly forever – down the hill until it’s out of sight.
As Murphy would say, “It’s the apocalypse baby, roll with it.”
Where is it now: The cheese wheel has been spotted at Spokane’s Northwest Museum Arts and Culture in the “Z Nation” exhibit this summer.
Horde of Abraham Lincoln Zombies
Season two, “Zombie Baby Daddy.” If you ever find yourself in Springfield, Illinois, you have a good chance of being awakened by the sounds of Lincoln re-enactors gorging themselves at the breakfast bar in the lobby of a Best Western.
That’s why a busload of Lincoln zombies is both the most funny and most believable zombie encounter in “Z Nation.” Period.
I wish I could tell you the survivors dressed as John Wilkes Booth shot each one in the back of the head, but no. I assume the show’s producers didn’t want to cross the boundaries of good taste.
UFO Takes Out Zombie
Season two, “RoZwell.” A woman is seen running away from a zombie down a desert road at night. A beam of blue light from a flying saucer stops the zombie in his tracks. The woman turns around to see the glowing beam dismember her pursuer. The beam now focuses on her, as she looks up the blue light turns white.
If the government had alien technology in a secret underground facility, now would be the time to use it. Spoiler alert: It’s not aliens – or is it?
Get a Big Hole, Add Zombies
Season two, “We Were Nowhere Near the Grand Canyon.” While on the way to Flagstaff our survivors divert a mega horde of zombies into the Grand Canyon. This is a “no-brainer.” You have a giant hole? Fill it with zombies.
Great Balls of Zombies
Season three, “A New Mission.” The third season of “Z Nation” is also the most straightlaced. Perhaps one of the most goofy gags in the series is a rolling ball of starving zombies feeding on each other.
Zombies eating zombies. The world is running out of humans to eat, so it’s come to this. The CGI animation is a little wonky, but the show seems to have fixed the problem in season four. As seen in the teaser trailer, the ball has grown twice in size.
If you have a problem, just add zombies.
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