Netflix review: “Black Summer”

Do you remember the show “The Walking Dead”? Well, whether you answered yes or no, it doesn’t matter, because Netflix’s “The Black Summer” is here to take over the zombie apocalypse category of entertainment.

“The Walking Dead” never interested me, as it came across as too predictable and unenjoyable, so when browsing through my recommended Netflix shows, I overlooked “The Black Summer” numerous times. I never really considered myself a horror enthusiast either, turning me even further away from this zombie infested series.

Being released April 11th, 2019, it only took me a few weeks to face my fear and hit play, a decision that I am proud of and regret at the same time, and here is why.

Overall, it probably took me two days to finish this 8-episode series, which proves that the show is binge-worthy. The first episode was the one that worried me the most, because as a viewer who is easily turned away from TV shows and films, this episode is the most crucial. Since I completed the series, it can be comprehended that the first episode, “Human Flow,” was a huge success. This part of the series allows the viewers to be introduced to each of the main characters, sharing their stories and how they have been personally affected by the zombie apocalypse, some stories being more connected than you would think. From a woman losing her daughter and husband to a deaf man making an alliance with a woman who can’t speak English, the first 44 minutes are filled with every twist and turn imaginable, starting off the show with a foot in the right direction. This foot keeps moving forward until the last episode, but that is for later.

The episodes following “Human Flow” each have unique characteristics that improve the series itself. “Summer School,” the third episode, is one to remember, as it shows the corruption and immaturity of the younger generation during a time of a crisis. A group of strangers join forces in hopes of survival early on on the series. By episode three, they enter a thought to be abandoned high school for shelter. Soon after entering, they realize that they aren’t alone. The team of four splits up into two groups of two to raid the school of supplies and to investigate their surroundings. The first day gives the group no problems, but when they awake from much needed rest, they try their best to escape from the trap they got themselves into. Kids, probably around the ages of 12-18, are found to be using the school to lure in survivors, which is their source of entertainment during these hard times. Out of the entire series, this episode gave me the most chills, with intense music and storylines throughout the whole episode. The kids even shoot down and kill the deaf survivor, not being able to put together his disability, which was one of those upsetting moments that stayed with me until the conclusion of season one.

The rest of the season is filled with running, hiding, and killing, but in a way that makes the show unpredictable, which in my opinion is the most important characteristic of a successful series. When things are easily determinable, a show becomes boring and tedious. On the other hand, adding the factor of unpredictability changes everything. For instance, the deaf man being shot by a 12 year old was something I was not expecting. Although it wasn’t what I wanted to happen, it let me know that the writer isn’t interested in making the audience happy, but instead interested in providing an unique storyline, which should always be predominant.

As survivors in this show, the main goal has been, from the start, to get to the stadium in the city, which serves as the main evacuation cite. It takes 8 episodes, with multiple casualties, to accomplish this goal, but during the last 20 minutes, the last episode, “The Stadium,” showcases their successes, along with numerous failures. If you have seen the show, you must know that three survivors make it to the stadium. When running through the entrance, they are expecting military, more survivors, and helicopters for the purpose of evacuation, but instead…nothing. Yet again, another unexpected moment, but what was even more unexpected was what happened next…nothing. The series ended right then and there, making me angry, but satisfied at the same time.

Yes, I was angry, because I was expecting a happy ending, but at the end, a happy ending is never a good thing, because it leaves no room for further plot development. There are so many unanswered questions, so many characters that are either alive or zombified, and so many ways the story can continue. I have no doubt that season two will be in the making, which is why such a sudden ending has filled me with such a sudden interest in this show.

“Black Summer” is a show worth investing time into. The twists and turns are like none I have experienced before and I can guarantee you that it will have a similar effect on you. Be careful though, if you think you know what is going on, odds are that you will have a rude awakening, as the storyline takes its course into the world of a zombie apocalypse.