Here’s the thing about the zombie apocalypse, made even clearer to me after watching the brutal season five opener of The Walking Dead, sometimes – sometimes – I just want to be on the winning side, you know? And I think Z Nation has us meatsuits firmly, satisfyingly entrenched on the winning side.
We caught up with Craig Engler, the co-creator, writer, and co-executive producer of Z Nation, and series star, Tom Everett Scott, who plays Garnett, at New York Comic Con to discuss the show. The video interviews contain spoilers up through the fifth episode, Home Sweet Zombie, and it’s mostly my fault (sorry not sorry about that)!
If you’re not up for watching fifteen minutes of Craig Engler (you should be), here are some of the highlights from his interview:
- He was aware that working with The Asylum would bring up Sharknado questions and he says in no uncertain terms that “we weren’t making the Sharknado of tv.”
- It took three episodes before people realized that Z Nation and The Walking Dead were two very different shows and that he knew the comparisons would be inevitable regardless. He also says what all of us were thinking about The Walking Dead: “I maybe didn’t need to stay on the farm quite that long.” Because seriously, did any of us???
- Engler teases that, while everyone has stayed relatively safe so far, “not everyone is going to make this journey to California – one way or another.”
- Continuing to differentiate from The Walking Dead, he explains that Z Nation is more “about competent people who have survived a few years and are doing new stuff. The Walking Dead is very much in that survival mode.”
- And as far as working on basic cable with SyFy, Engler revealed that there’s not much they haven’t been able to do and show that they’ve wanted to.
Again, if you’re not going to watch the hilarity that is Tom Everett Scott, I’ve pulled out a few of the highlights. But really, you want to hear me talk about Sharknado and the sharknado handbook with him, I promise.
- When he was being pitched the show, his son overheard the prospects and was part of the driving force behind Scott accepting the role. He heard everything and had the only logical response, “You’re going to do that, right?”
- Scott talked about the golden age of television that we’re currently experiencing and how he loved The Wire and is really into Game of Thrones. He talked a little bit about how he was on Southland and a small part in Sons of Anarchy, as well as Z Nation of course. He deems it all fun.
- I asked the burning question of, “Why are we following Garnett and not Warren, who has demonstrated better leadership skills?” Because come on, you know she has. Scott feels that great leaders don’t go right out in front; they lead from behind and he insists that Warren and Garnett are a team. He thinks she’s the one looking to him and telling him that he is the leader. Garnett has hope and he likes the duality of the character having the leadership skills, but a bit of reluctance to step up.
- Tom Everett Scott hasn’t seen Sharknado. This is important. Mock him.
- We all learned that the boys at this roundtable interview were weenies because none of them would want to be zombie extras in Z Nation. Come on! Scott said that the behind the scenes were great, but he also doesn’t seem to get why the people of Spokane were jumping at the chance to be zombies and was surprised that the volunteers were people like town sheriffs and the weather guy on the radio.
- Based on his apocalypse survival hints – live on an island, have a lot of canned food, and practice your headshots – I’m pretty sure Tom Everett Scott wouldn’t survive the three years it’d take him to match up to Garnett, but we’ll cut the man some slack. He’s not a zombie apocalypse survivor, he only plays one on tv.
@kyleewho I think we both know you made the right choice
— Tom Everett Scott (@TomEScott) October 10, 2014
Unfortunately, I skipped out on the Z Nation panel at New York Comic Con in favor of hitting up Big Gay Ice Cream, but Tom Everett Scott agreed with the decision…
Z Nation airs Fridays at 10 PM on SyFy
(and you really should be watching it)