Spoiler-Free Review of “Black Summer” on Netflix: More than a Prequel to “Z Nation”

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“You can’t be immortal if you ain’t alive.”  A valid point for sure, but how is one actually defined as a member of the undead these days?  While we are all used to the slow moving walkers in The Walking Dead universe, the infected we see in Black Summer sort of have a 28 Days Later vibe, as they move much quicker, which may have you contemplating your own cardio workout to stay prepared.

So are they actually zombies or are they something else?  Either way, if you are craving some zombie apocalypse fun, you’re in the right place.  Black Summer has been advertised as a prequel to Z Nation, but the show actually can stand on its own and that’s how I plan on reviewing it.

The show currently features 8 episodes, all streaming on Netflix as of April 11th 2019.  It stars Jaime King, Justin Chu Cary, Christine Lee, Sal Velez Jr. and Kelsey Flower.  We follow these survivors and witness what occurs after the zombie apocalypse first takes place, as they all desperately try to make it to the stadium to find missing loved ones and some kind of sanctuary.

However, the threats keep coming, as our characters are tested again and again while the undead continues to threaten their survival.  But we also find that these characters have to watch out for each other as well, as it’s difficult to earn one’s trust during the zombie apocalypse.

The Pros:

Black Summer Sun
Image courtesy of Netflix

The episodes are the perfect length. 

The beginning episodes start out at about 40-45 minutes and as we move through the show, they actually shorten to 30 minutes and even 20 minutes, which makes binge-watching this show very feasible.  I watched the first episode on Thursday night and I finished up the show the following night with very little effort.

The transitions between characters are clever and well done.

Another viewer mentioned to me that these transitions sort of reminded them of Pulp Fiction and I tend to agree.  Credit on that goes to @NerdswithFriend on Twitter.  We have seen so many shows and movies that feature a zombie apocalypse and it’s difficult to stand out and truly make a story unique.  However, the clever fade-ins and transitions allow us to easily see things from different perspectives and it also helps quicken the pace of the show.

Some of the characters are absolutely fantastic.

While I was annoyed by some characters on the show, there are some standout performances.  Christine Lee as Sun is truly amazing and you will root for her even more than the main billed cast.  You may find yourself trying to determine who is going to make it and who will bite the dust, so to speak, but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised that so many of the characters did not just mold themselves into the stereotypical roles we sometimes see. 

Some characters that you assume will make it, don’t, and others that seem so incompetent actually manage to scrape by, but I think that makes the show that much more entertaining.

Bone-chilling and terrifying moments.

There are some genuinely scary moments on this show and I found myself on the edge of my seat, not knowing what to expect.  Sometimes the moments come out of nowhere, but I think that makes them even more brilliant.  Maybe you will see some of the moments coming, but I think that they deliver and I still have been replaying some of them in my mind, as I have just created a whole new set of nightmares for myself.

The Cons:

Black Summer
Image courtesy of Netflix

The moments following the zombies around.

So I appreciate that the show is doing something different with these zombies, as they sprint after you as soon as they are turned, grunting and moaning.  However, the noises are kind of jarring and distracting, as I found myself actually laughing several times when we followed around a zombie who was looking for their kill.

The show is meant to be serious so I know that this was not intended, but I just couldn’t take some of these zombies seriously.  I don’t know if it was the acting or if was the amount of time we spent actually following them, which made me focus on this so much more, but it was slightly underwhelming and it took away from some of the initial scares.

The fluff in between the terrifying moments.

I’m all for character development and I’m not saying that the show needs to be jam-packed with zombies attacking, but I often found myself bored in between these moments.  Some episodes are much better than others, but I think that the lack of background music during these moments really made this worse.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought that the lack of background music was brilliant during the moments where the characters were under attack, but how long do we need to follow someone walking in silence?

There are major plot holes.

I know that this a prequel, but I found several plot holes throughout the show and I was hoping to get some answers, but I realized that this was not going to happen once I got to episode 6, which was slightly disappointing.

So am I in or out? 

Black summer 6
Image courtesy of Netflix

I was initially very excited to watch this show because I absolutely love anything with zombies.  However, after watching the first episode, I was slightly disappointed.  Fear not, as I give all shows three episodes to start making a real assessment and the show did get better with each episode.  However, I think that the show had a lot of potential to be absolutely brilliant, but it decided to settle comfortably as a standard zombie apocalypse show instead. 

I’m not really sure if this show truly separated itself or provided us with anything new about the apocalypse, but it definitely had some terrifying and compelling moments. 

If you love shows about zombies, I definitely recommend it and even if you don’t, you may find yourself intrigued for a quick binge-watch.  However, I wouldn’t say that you need to move it to the top of your watch list, but the show had a lot of redeeming qualities and captured enough of my attention to make it an entertaining watch for sure.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Black Summer in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice Feb 2019

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Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl


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5 Spoiler Free Reasons why you should watch “The Haunting of Hill House” on Netflix: A Worthy Horror Series filled with Bone-Chilling Moments

“I am home.”  But what if you share your home with ghosts and spirits?  I’m not talking about Casper here, but potentially dangerous and manipulative spirits that can haunt you for the rest of your life.  The Netflix series is based on the book by Shirley Jackson, which was also the inspiration for the film, The Haunting.  There were two versions of the film in 1963 and in 1999 as well.  The Netflix series follows a family who grew up at Hill House and flashes between the past and the present, unraveling the mysteries there.  Each member of the Crain family encounters something different, but they are all connected to the house in one way or another.  They desperately try to overcome their terrifying and traumatic past, as new obstacles and threats continue to surface in their present.

The show features 10 episodes and they are all currently streaming on Netflix as of October 12th 2018.  After watching all of the episodes in one weekend, I can tell you that the series was a pleasant surprise.  There were absolutely terrifying moments that will have you going to sleep with the lights on for weeks to come and other moments that were so incredibly heartwarming and unpredictable.  The show somehow successfully blends family drama in with genuine horror, giving me almost a Brothers and Sisters vibe, while continuing to provide me with frightening moments.  The acting is absolutely incredible and the writing and dialogue is somehow poetic, luring you in to Hill House completely.  Please note that major spoilers have been left out for your convenience.  My top 5 reasons to check out The Haunting of Hill House are: 


This show is genuinely scary. 

I’m not talking about the typical jump scares that almost seem unnecessary and essentially become predictable, as you can almost count down to the next moment that is meant to make you pop out of your seat.  The scares on this show are not forced and they seamlessly connect with the rest of the plot, which make them that much more terrifying in my opinion.  You may have nightmares about “The Bent-Neck Lady” like me, but the show will continue to provide you with worthy bone-chilling moments up until the very end.  I found myself needing to watch the show with all the lights on, even during the day.  It’s seriously that scary and even if you don’t scare easily, you will appreciate the way these terrifying moments emerge.


Something different.

While some fans have been apprehensive about the series following a different plot, this works to the show’s advantage.  It allows us to be presented with an entirely unique mystery in familiar territory and branches out further to form its own identity, separate from the novel and the films.  If you are looking for just another remake of the films, this is not the show for you, but I would encourage you to give it a try anyway because it is well worth the watch.


Episodes 3, 5, and 9.

While all of the episodes were brilliantly done, these three were absolutely incredible.  I will not spoil anything for you, but I would definitely recommend giving these three episodes your undivided attention.  While important plot points are learned during these three episodes, there is something so incredibly magnetic about them.  I found myself completely lost in the story during these three episodes in particular, unaware of anything else going on around me.  That’s how good they are.  Make sure you have your popcorn ready in advance!


The cast.

I was initially overwhelmed by the large size of the Crain Family.  We meet Hugh and Olivia Crain, played by Timothy Hutton and Carla Gugino, and their children:  Steven, Shirley, Theo, Luke, and Nell.  The show flashes back between past and present quite frequently and everyone in the cast was absolutely terrific.  I give standout performances to Carla Gugino, Kate Siegel (older Theo), and Elizabeth Reaser (older Shirley), but truly everyone was amazing.  You really believed that they were all family and found yourself connected to each and every one of them as the episodes continued.


The family drama works.

Part of what made me enjoy this show so much was the fact that I was completely connected to the characters.  I wasn’t willing to part with any character and I found myself rooting for them more than I normally would when watching a horror film.  The show does an excellent job of combining the terrifying and unexplained moments with the horror we deal with in everyday life.  I’m talking about unspeakable crimes that are committed, grief that we need to endure, addiction, and guilt that will eat us up from the inside if we let it.  The show seamlessly blends the supernatural horrors with these very real ones, connecting us that much more to the characters and the story.  While I initially thought that perhaps the show might have been better suited as a film, I quickly realized that this is not the case.  You would lose out on the connection to these characters and the mystery unravels in perfect tempo, leading up to a satisfying crescendo at the end.  While the series is not your average horror movie, it elevates to something more powerful and resonating.  You won’t be disappointed.  Ready to watch?

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own theories and thoughts on The Haunting of Hill House in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I would love it if you would take a moment to check out my Whizbuzz Book page via the link below for everything you need to know about my new book, The Search for Alice, including my author bio page and links to my website and social media sites!  Thank you!

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Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl


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If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

Want to read more?  You can click the link directly below for a free preview.  Thanks for your support!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice Cover