Love it or hate it, Syfy's zombie dramedy Z Nation is here to stay. At the Syfy digital press tour, executives from the network shared the news that the series was getting a second season. Show stars Keith Allan and Michael Welch, along with executive producer Karl Schaefer, sat down and spoke about the success of the series, as well as sharing some of their favorite moments from the first season.
The fan reaction to the series has, for the most part, been overwhelming. "The fan reaction has been amazing," said Allan. "We just did a zombie conference in Atlanta and they're just digging the show. They love what we're doing with the genre mix and bringing back some of the humor into death and destruction and killing and brains and guts."
Schaefer admitted that going into the conference, they were a little wary, though. "There were 20,000 Walking Dead fans there and we didn't know how they would treat us. But they were very kind to us and they believed that there's room for two zombie shows in the universe."
Z Nation is known for its many outrageous over-the-top scenes, including a zombie tornado, a baby zombie and the Liberty Bell rolling down the streets of Philadelphia and taking down zombies in its path. But which scenes do those involved with the series like best? Schaefer says that the zombie baby was a big scene-stealer.
Allan stated that his favorite scene comes from last week's episode. "It's where Murphy really gets to bust out of who we think he is and he gets to sort of take control of what's happening to him to a degree, and it was a great scene for me to stretch my acting legs. I really got to be power Murphy in that scene and that was a blast for me."
Although Welch stated his favorite scenes for his character, Mack, are coming up soon, he also really liked the scene with Doc in the air shaft with the zombie. "One of the things I think Karl is trying to do here is show you a little bit of the different side of the zombies, something that you've never quite seen before. I just thought that was very interesting for Doc to be face-to-face with a zombie and have this intimate moment and find the humanity in this creature."
Allan added, "And who has ever seen a zombie get stoned before?"
Part of what sets Z Nation apart from The Walking Dead is its use of comedy. But there's a delicate balance in working that into the more dramatic scenes. "Murphy's got some great one-liners and he's got the snarky attitude and I get to have fun," Allan said. "But, to me, the meat of the show is those dramatic scenes when we get down to the poignancy of the relationships and the survival and what's really happening on a whole different level. I love that stuff."
The series definitely has its significant "unconventional" moments, especially when compared to The Walking Dead. "Tornado zombies, sure," said Schaefer. "Fire zombies, sure. Zombie bears, zombie gophers, if it works with the story we'll go with it."
Allan interrupted, "So what you're saying is that our zombies will kick their zombies' ass?"
Schaefer answered, "Yes. And if you think about who you want to go through the zombie apocalypse with, our guys are way more fun."
However, Z Nation has other, deeper differences from The Walking Dead. "We have a sense of mission, we have a sense of hope," Schaefer said. "Our guys aren't just waiting to die or just struggling to survive. They've got something to get up for that's driving them forward."