I haven't finished Z Nation yet, but it's streaming on Netflix now so I really have no excuse and hope to finish it up soon (I have 2 episodes left). I've heard it's been renewed, so that's exciting.
Look, straight up, Z Nation does not have the budget of TWD. The effects are cheesy and they definitely do a lot of self-aware gesturing toward their B-movie, low budget roots. But the thing about TWD is that it is so bleak and, at this point, so repetitive. Like, what is the point of watching that show any more? Z Nation is fun and manages to be about 10k times (ha, see what I did there?) more interesting than TWD.
The main cast is pretty diverse. They are not afraid to kill off their Important White Guys.
They go places and do things. I'm sorry but I find it hard to believe that in 2 years no one in TWD has thought, gee, what are people doing outside of fucking Georgia? Let's find out! I like what Citizen Z adds to Z Nation, and the whole mission gives the show some direction that TWD lacks.
Zombie-nado. Radioactive zombies. Zombie babies. Cannibals that are actually gross and frightening (compared to the relatively tame ones of TWD). Natural disasters. Manmade disasters due to neglect of infrastructure.
They have an interesting, pretty great way of handling the issue of rape that seems to pervade any apocalyptic setting in entertainment nowadays. There have been some reviewers that called the women and children only compound a "cult" but I think that is patently unfair. Sure, they feed dudes who hurt women to a zombie bear they keep in a shed, but it makes perfect sense to me that such a thing would seem like a good idea in the z-poc, and I absolutely love how badass Miss Helen is, even if she has a very scary, absolute sense of justice and is manipulative as hell.
10k is superior to Daryl Dixon. There. I said it. (And I love Daryl as much as the next guy.)
The scene in Kansas with Murphy and the mother and child with the zombie dad outside, when he is looking for water? That was bold. TWD would never be that bold.
I don't know, on the whole I just think that Z Nation does so much more with the concept, which is impressive given how much less than TWD they have to work with. Anyone else been watching?