Jaime King isn't in Alabama anymore. On Apr. 11, the former Hart of Dixie star was enlisted in Black Summer, a new Netflix series that will surely satisfy anyone's craving for a zombie thriller now that The Walking Dead Season 9 has come to an end. But is Black Summer based on a comic like the AMC hit series? As it turns out, Black Summer serves as a prequel to Syfy's Z Nation.
If you know anything about the origins of Z Nation, you'll know that the series was created by Karl Schaefer and Craig Engler. They also spawned Black Summer, which is not to be mistaken for the superhero comic books of the same name. However, the new Netflix show enriches the Z Nation story by detailing the early days of the zombie apocalypse.
According to the official synopsis provided by Netflix, Black Summer follows "survivors of a cataclysmic event who contend with zombies — and each other — to reach a military evacuation site." In the show, King headlines the cast as Rose, a mother who is torn from her daughter at the start of the series. She then sets out on a journey in the hostile new world alongside a group of American refugees, and she will stop at nothing to find her daughter.
Although Black Summer is the prequel to Z Nation, the humor that the AMC show brought to the zombie genre may not be as apparent in Black Summer. At San Diego Comic Con, per Syfy, Schaefer revealed that the Netflix series is "before the apocalypse got weird and was just scary."
Jodi Binstock, who produced Z Nation, also explained that the setting changed how Black Summer was told in comparison to the flagship series.
"Really, the only similarity between Z Nation and Black Summer is that the Black Summer is the first summer that Z Nation took place in," Binstock told Syfy. "Z Nation, when it begins, is in year four of the zombie apocalypse. Black Summer is three months in; this is the first outbreak, this is when all the sh*t's hitting the fan. It's not tongue-in-cheek at all. It is as realistic as any television I've ever seen."
Speaking of realistic, Forbes reported that Black Summer tackles "heavy themes of loss and humanity," as the show was intentionally written to reflect the stories of children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
"When I asked [John] why he wrote [the show], he said, originally, it was a love letter to his wife," King told Forbes. "When he saw what was happening down there [at the border] and what was happening with the country, he was like, 'That’s it, I’m done. I have to tell this story' ... All of this is a metaphor and that’s what I love. It’s metaphorical, but it’s also fun and in your face and it’s also authentic and true."
From an outsider's perspective, Black Summer may look like your typical zombie thriller. However, much like its predecessor, the Netflix series turns the genre on its head and embarks on new territory that will hopefully resonate with audiences everywhere.
Black Summer is now streaming on Netflix.