Quite a lot of zombie stories have made their way into today's television landscape, telling tales of how humans act in the most apocalyptic of circumstances. Black Summer, which is now available to stream on Netflix, strikes a unique aesthetic and narrative balance within the zombie TV genre, while simultaneously serving as a prequel series to SYFY's Z Nation.
The first season of Black Summer follows a group of refugees in the very early days of the zombie apocalypse as they must all make tough decisions in a world no longer governed by civilized rules. Among those characters is Rose (Jaime King), a mother who is separated from her daughter in the series' opening minutes. ComicBook.com got a chance to chat with King ahead of Black Summer's premiere, and she spoke about what ties the show has to Z Nation. As King revealed, the series wasn't initially pitched to her as a Z Nation prequel, but the small number of connections between the two shows have been a pleasant surprise.
"It's interesting because it was never presented to me as a prequel," King explained. "I had no idea about that at all. I have lots of friends that love Z Nation, but it was never mentioned in the script, and was never brought to me that it was a prequel. So, when I started seeing that, I was like, 'Oh, OK.' But it wasn't presented that was when I read it or when I did it. But, I think they said 'black summer' or something in Z Nation."
"But as far as I'm concerned, anybody that loves anything like this, will love this," King continued. "I'm happy for anybody that's excited and passionate about this. It wasn't set up for me as the actor and when I came on the project, it wasn't like, 'This as a prequel to Z Nation.' That was never talked about to me. So, when I heard that it was sort of like an interesting surprise."
For Z Nation fans, the arrival of Black Summer probably brings an array of emotions, as the older series was canceled by SYFY late last year. While some fans have rallied for Netflix to revive the show in some way, it sounds like Black Summer will bring its fair share of zombie storytelling in the meantime -- and it already has a multi-season plan in store.
"What I can tease is that whatever you think is gonna happen, will not happen," King said of what fans can expect in Season One and beyond. "It will always keep you on your toes. That that would keep people alive for, and that would keep people their seemingly downfall, really comes back to like very real human traits. Like, is the person egotistical? Do they have some kind of ulterior motive, right? What is in each character's base psychology? That's what's so cool about it, is that it really becomes metaphorical to what life is like. Every time I read the script, I just never expected to read what I was going to read."
"The elasticity and flexibility on set was so amazing," King added, "because [co-creator] John [Hyams] and I are so incredibly close, that there would be moments where Rose is supposed to do something and we'd be like, 'Nope, done.' And that would completely change the direction at where she was supposed to go. It's great to have that allowance, to be so clear in our vision as a filmmaker. And together, when we were working on producing it and for me as the actor and having that intimacy to immediately know, in that moment, that what we thought was gonna happen two months before has to hit right then and there. And that's a really fun part about it. So, the audience will be going on the journey with us. It's literally going to go on the same journey that we went through. And for Season Two... you'll see it when you get to episode eight."
The first season of Black Summer is now available to stream on Netflix.