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The Life and Mind of DamnBlackHeart
This is to help me stay actively writing. So expect to see rants, tips on writing, thoughts on subjects, me complaining of boredom, reviews, anime, movies, video games, conventions, tv shows and whatever life throws at me.
Review: Netflix’s Black Summer
Black Summer is an American web television zombie apocalypse drama series, created by Karl Schaefer and John Hyams. The first season, consisting of 8 episodes, was released on Netflix on April 11, 2019.

Set in the dark, early days of a zombie apocalypse, Rose is separated from her daughter and embarks upon a harrowing journey to find her. Thrust alongside a small group of American refugees, these complete strangers must find the strength they need to fight their way back to loved ones. But in order for Rose and the others to brave this hostile new world, they will need to make brutal decisions to contend with zombies – and each other.


~~~~*~~~~


Oh, boy! Anything with zombies automatically peaks my interest so of course when Netflix announced Black Summer I kept an eye out for it. First things first, this post will have some SPOILERS. I want to explain what I didn’t like, what they could’ve done better and I can’t do that without revealing a little bit of it.

What I did like…

The cast was diverse, which was fantastic to see. We get a black man, three Mexicans, a deaf Syrian refugee, a Korean woman and two white characters. They weren’t just throw in to fill a quota, but they actually felt believable in their roles.

Kyungson (goes with the name “Sun” instead because everyone was struggling to say her name) is desperate to find her mother. She only speaks Korean, but she does an excellent job in emoting emphatically to get her points across. However, that’s not to say she doesn’t know any English at all. She actually understands it well enough and knows a few words, even knows how to sing in it.

I didn’t have any English subtitles on, which made it feel immersive and realistic for me. I felt like I was a part of the group, not knowing what she was talking about but having a good idea of what she might be saying. We also experience this in a similar-but-different manner with Ryan, a deaf character.

Now, the type of zombies we get in this isn’t the slow and stupid variety. They’re actually fast-running and tenacious in their pursuit. They’re also smart enough to climb and duck under opened garage doors in search of survivors. However, they don’t seem to be smart enough to know how to opened doors (but I suppose they can figured it out if given the time to do so). As always, the virus is spread by being in contact with an infected fluids via bite or blood. And if a person dies (for whatever reason), they come back as a zombie instantaneously.

Headshots are instant kills, but for some reason it’s not done that often. I don’t understand why the characters are all so surprised and panic when they realize that body shots do nothing to stop them. It just seems like a lot of waste of bullets. This makes me wonder if the universe this take place in not have zombie fiction?

I get that not all survivors will be skilled with guns. As it’s very difficult to get headshots on moving targets, but how can you miss when they’re a few feet away and heading straight for you? Or why hasn’t anyone attempted to slow them down by shooting out the legs and than the head? I know I can be nitpicky, but I excused this aspect because it was only the beginning of the apocalypse. The characters haven’t had enough time or experience to become harden survivors yet.

And then there’s Lance. He’s stupidly lucky. Everything about him makes me go nuts and want to scream at the screen like…WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! OMG, HOW? WHY ARE YOU STILL ALIVE? He’s basically the kind of guy who somehow manages to survive despite the dumb decisions he makes. Which, now that I think about it, is kinda funny because he’s what most people typically think of to be the first ones to go in the apocalypse.

Maybe I’m nickpicking again, but what I didn’t like was in episode 5, titled “Diner” because I found all the characters to be acting very stupid. William and Sun were trapped in an abandoned diner with three other survivors from the truck (the same one that was tailing them in order to steal their gas, and eventually ran them off the road). Their first plan was to get someone to stay inside to keep the TWO zombies distracted while the others go out to kill them. However, that plan failed as they underestimated how difficult it would be to take them down. Did they not aim for the head? Or was it because their weapons were useless in causing any damage? I’m not sure…

Then Phil (one of the survivors from the truck) came up with the idea to sacrificed someone in the group to feed the zombies. While the zombies would be busy eating them, the rest would run away. He picked Sun purely because she couldn’t speak English, showing his racism. William is against the idea and Sun notices that the leader of the pack has a cut on his arm. She lets William know and he wonders out loud if Phil is infected. The group starts acting hysterically. The other two truck survivors make their decision by rounding on their leader and they all throw him outside.

The entire time I was watching that episode I was like WTF! Can’t you guys use your brain??? Why even resort to throwing another person out there? They would’ve been another potential zombie to deal with. Plus, who in their right mind even trust a dude who’s quick to make a plan that involves sacrificing another person? I was surprise to see that his companions didn’t even pause to think about it. If Sun wasn’t there, it could’ve easily been one of them instead.

What especially annoyed me about the episode was that they didn’t even try to use their brains. To me it was obvious of what they could’ve done next, but they just gave up after their first plan failed. They were dealing with TWO zombies and they could’ve easily out smart the damn zombies by baiting them inside the restaurant and trapping them in it. They just need to make sure to get all the food and water first. Once they did, lure the zombies to front entrance and trap them in the little entrance way. Then go out the back way and you’re free.

Or they can try to kill them again, but this time do it in a different way. Sure, it’ll be a bit more work and tricky to do, but it wouldn’t be impossible. They would need someone to distract the other zombie and lure the other one to the front. Then unitize the entrance way of the diner to get one inside and carefully secure and hold the door open. Just enough for the zombie to stick their head in and stab them with the big kitchen knife or another sharp object. Then repeat the process or keep the other trapped instead.

This episode could’ve been done better by being less annoying stupid. The other episodes didn’t bothered me as much as this one did (especially if you ignored Lance, because his character is suppose to represent that kind of people). Sometimes the other characters are a bit dumb too (like why didn’t you check if you’re really alone in the house or why didn’t you freaking close and lock the damn doors behind you), but that’s normal as not everyone is such a zombie or survivalist nerd as I am.

Black Summer isn’t THAT great compare to other shows, but there were some moments that stood out. Such as showing how dangerous and messed up humans can be. I remember a particular scene in which the characters were traveling by foot. They saw a car parked with a mother and her young daughter inside it. Rose was going to approach them to see if they needed help, but the mother lifted up her gun in warning to leave them alone. The group moved on.

Later on, in another episode they noticed the same car parked. They couldn’t see inside of it, but they cautiously walked closer. The car starts up and it slowly drives off, but before it does they were able to see inside of it. It’s occupants were three burly man and a young girl. Rose turns paled, wondering out loud where is the mother, as the girl was the same one from before.

That scene was executed very well. It was terribly sad and horrible. It basically implied that the mother was killed for her car (because finding one with gas was extremely valuable) and the daughter was kept to be abused.

In the end, would I recommend this? Hmmm, I guess? It’s not exactly that good, but it’s not that terrible either. It’s definitely something you can watch to kill boredom for a short while. Or just watch it for the characters like Christine Lee’s Kyungsun. I wouldn’t be surprise if she becomes a fan favorite. She’s certainly my favorite out of the entire bunch.

Honestly, other shows do a much better job at this. Go watch Netflix’s KINGDOM. It’s a South Korean historical period drama with zombies. It’s very GOOD.


DamnBlackHeart
Community Member
  • [07/10/19 02:45am]
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