There's a Reason Why Netflix's 'Black Summer' Feels Similar to 'Z Nation'

The post-apocalyptic worlds in 'Black Summer' and 'Z Nation' are quite similar, so how are the two shows and their universes connected?

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Jun. 22 2021, Published 11:54 a.m. ET

'Black Summer' Season 2 Cast
Source: Netflix

The gritty Netflix series Black Summer has a growing fan base. Not because it's a prequel to the former Syfy series Z Nation necessarily, but mostly because it presents a new kind of post-apocalyptic world of zombies and humans who still haven't all figured out that the head shot is key. Most fans might not even know the two are related, but those who watched Z Nation for its entire five-season run picked up on some similarities between the two series.

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And now that there have been two full seasons of Black Summer, fans are curious about how the two shows are connected. Even though one series is from a television network and the other is on a streaming platform, they do share a distinct link that is becoming harder to ignore. And while that connection may or may not play into the future of Black Summer, it's still worth exploring.

Rose in 'Black Summer'
Source: Netflix
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How are 'Black Summer' and 'Z Nation' connected?

The most important thing linking the two shows together is the fact that Black Summer is a prequel series to Z Nation. In the latter, a virus outbreak called NZ1 caused by a scientist spreads across the world at an alarming rate, taking over people and turning them into aggressive, flesh-eating zombies even before it becomes airborne.

In Black Summer, viewers see the onset of the same virus making its way through a neighborhood before it, too, spreads like wildfire.

While Z Nation takes place a few years after the outbreak occurs and in a new world, Black Summer starts off at the very beginning, thus making it a prequel.

But that's where most of the similarities end. It's possible that there will be more mentions of the science behind the virus in future seasons of Black Summer, further linking it to Z Nation and the mythos behind the cause. But Black Summer was always meant to be more of a standalone prequel.

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Karl Schaefer, who served as the showrunner for Z Nation, created Black Summer with Z Nation executive producer John Hyams, so he definitely knows the universe in which Black Summer takes place.

Karl explained to TV Insider following the Season 1 release that they wanted to show a world where people are on the run and searching for refuge from zombies, whom they are in constant danger of.

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"We wanted to see what it would be like to show Americans on the run like refugees and we wanted to drop you right in the middle of it," he said. "There's no exposition, there's no crawl at the beginning to tell you what's [happening], and nobody seems to know what's going on through most of it."

'Black Summer' Season 2
Source: Netflix
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Is there a cure in 'Black Summer'?

If Black Summer really is connected to Z Nation in terms of the shared virus in both shows, then there could be a cure at some point in Black Summer. In Z Nation, a vaccine is tested on prison inmates and it works on one of them, though the inmate's body decomposes while he is alive, even if he never truly changes into a zombie.

So far, there hasn't been any inklings of a cure for the virus in Black Summer, but some fans think the connection between the two shows might become clearer in the future. And if that happens, then the possibility of the cure explored in Z Nation could creep its way into Black Summer.

The Season 2 finale of Black Summer ends with Sun getting on the coveted plane and flying off into the sunset. but it might not be to the safe haven she expects.

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Sun in 'Black Summer'
Source: Netflix

In a YouTube video recapping Season 2, one fan theorized that the plane could be on its way to a place where scientists are experimenting on people in an effort to find a cure, or a vaccine, for ZN1, not unlike what happens in Z Nation.

It would certainly bring an even stronger connection between the shows and offer a new dynamic to Black Summer as a whole.

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