Inspired by Charlie Brooker’s ‘Dead Set’, Netflix’s ‘Reality Z’ is a gleefully gory zombie series that attempts to set itself apart through its timely satire and cultural commentary. At its very onset, ‘Reality Z’ wastes no time in establishing the origins of its zombie apocalypse. It, instead, cuts to the chase by showing the threat that has taken the world by storm. With its high production value and brutal bloodshed, it very well satiates the needs of fans of the sub-genre. But unfortunately, there’s nothing more to it than that.
Nearing its second half, its satire surrounding metrosexual media and our relentless consumption of it starts to kick in. And as ingenious as this may initially seem, the chaotic narration of this satire eventually loses its charm. At its best, the hard-and-fast zombie action of ‘Reality Z’ is, for the most part, enough to keep you hooked. On the other hand, at its worst, its amoral portrayal of humanity implicit in hate is a bit too one-dimensional.
Reality Z Season 1 Recap
‘Reality Z’ begins with the depiction of a quirky Big Brother-esque reality show where contestants plot against one another in the confinements of their grand home known as the Olympus. In the meantime, a zombie apocalypse breaks loose in the world outside and it even reaches the studio that runs the show. While almost all the showrunners either become zombie food or turn into zombies themselves, the reality show contestants wake up after a whole night of partying.
That’s when one of the crew members of the show, Nina, rushes into Olympus to save herself from the ongoing apocalypse. At first, when she tells the contestants about the condition of the world outside, no one believes her. But when their curiosity gets the best of them and they decide to open the gates of Olympus to the world outside, shit hits the fan and their safe house turns into hell. The series also involves a secondary narrative that revolves around a mother and son duo who head over to the Olympus home after realizing that it could be a safe place for seeking shelter. But little do they realize that they’re digging their own grave.
Reality Z Review
What’s really interesting about ‘Reality Z’ is that it has several layers of conflicts. As I mentioned earlier, its first half has a two-fold narrative where the primary one is your archetypal zombie slasher with little to no depth to its overarching storyline. The other secondary narrative that highlights the relationship of a young man with his mother proves to be far more captivating than the shambling zombie advances shown in the main narrative. In its second half, ‘Reality Z’ ruthlessly eradicates almost all of its protagonist and takes the storyline in a whole new direction. And what started off a zombie apocalypse thriller soon turns into a conflict for power inside the house of Olympus.
But even with all the creative ideas that it brings to the fore in its second half, ‘Reality Z’ fails to execute them. It keeps adding new characters to its roster, which makes it hard for you to empathize with any of them. More so, you don’t even feel bad for them when they are brutally exterminated from the series. While I do appreciate its realistic approach towards the vulnerability of one’s life during an apocalypse, it’s this approach that gets in its way of establishing a deeper moral ground for its storyline. Not to mention, the subpar performances of some secondary cast members create more loose ends in its overall characterization.
All in all, ‘Reality Z’ offers a lot more to sink your teeth into than most other zombie shows and movies hash out. The creativity that it brings to the table with its satire is quite commendable. Moreover, I also appreciated its background music score that plays a crucial role in upping its fear factor and establishing a relevant atmosphere for its themes. But for all of its gore and pop-culture commentary, ‘Reality Z’ is very mundane in context with its narration and is devoid of any new ideas beyond its premise. The show’s forcefully inconclusive ending further confirms that its creators never had an end goal in mind. Still, I want to give it a passing grade for its fun zombie-centric action.
Read More: Best Zombie Shows on Netflix