Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Z Nation

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Z Nation TV Poster Image
Constant violence, gore in dark zombie drama.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Humanity is worth fighting brutally for, and women can fight as fiercely as men.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The show offers a diverse cast, and its sympathies lie with those who are fearless and protective.


Constant violence, including the sudden and gory deaths of characters you've grown to know. Characters are torn apart, bitten into with great gouts of blood, and shot point-blank in the face. Zombies vomit blood, rot away, and leave body parts behind them. There are many disturbing images, such as a school bus full of young zombies, and a lake full of hundreds of floating zombie bodies.


Occasional references to sex.


Some cursing: "What the hell are you doing?" and "What makes him so goddamned important?"

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters attempt to barter drugs for guns; Oxycontin and crystal meth are mentioned as possible bargaining chips.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Z Nation is an intense and gory drama with constant dread and menace, plus numerous zombie battles in every episode. During the battles, characters may be beheaded, eviscerated, torn apart, shot point-blank in the head, stabbed, or bludgeoned to death. Gore and blood flies everywhere, and there are numerous disturbing images such as a school bus full of child zombies. Characters whom viewers have gotten to know are suddenly and violently attacked. A baby transforms into a zombie. Characters attempt to trade drugs such as Oxycontin and crystal meth for guns. Zombies vomit blood and shed body parts. Doctors tie patients to gurneys against their will and experiment on them; the camera lingers on blood and needles. Uncountable numbers of dead bodies appear on-screen.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPoison_ivy February 4, 2016

Loved it!

I really like it. If you're like me and you've seen alllll of the walking dead this show is the next big thing! I love all the twists and turns I love... Continue reading
Adult Written byPeanuts123 February 8, 2016

Bad Critic

Just got through watching the whole series. It was an outstanding show. I have no idea who this critic is but my guess is she gets paid and there is no actual i... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBlack Jesus November 9, 2015

Extreme Gore and Some Extremely Disturbing Scenes

I do not recommend for ages 16 and under. The episodes in each season are VERY gory. Just in the first few episodes it shows how gory it can get. There are also... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byiichan April 20, 2016
I'm 15, and I've watched both seasons of Z nation and it hasn't really effected me at all. But maybe that's because I'm used to horrors... Continue reading

What's the story?

Three years ago, a zombie virus decimated the United States, turning it into a Z NATION overrun by the living dead. Only a few ragtag human survivors remain, crowded tightly in armed refugee camps or roaming the countryside, hiding when necessary and picking off zombies when they can. Through this perilous landscape, Lieutenant Mark Hammond (Harold Perrineau), the last surviving member of his Delta Force squad, is attempting to carry out the last order he was ever issued: Carry the only known human being to ever survive a zombie attack (Keith Allan) to California, where his blood just might be able to produce a vaccination. From a remote radio post, disaffected former military communications professional Citizen Z (DJ Qualls) watches and comments on the action as Hammond slowly makes his trek.

Is it any good?

It's not that zombies aren't cool or that the idea of a zombie show isn't a natural for the Syfy network. It's just that Z Nation is so trope-ish as to be laughable. You've got your zombie virus that destroyed Life As We Know It -- ho hum -- and then your survivors with a (pointless?) mission and your shambling zombies that break into the action approximately every 2.5 minutes, or twice between each commercial break, with a big meaningless battle royale at the end. Feh.

Even things that would be cool are rendered blah by the flat writing. Harold Perrineau, who was sadly underused on Lost (his main function was to shout, "Waaaaaaalt!"), is a terrific actor. Does he get meaty lines and heroic action? Sadly, no. DJ Qualls, a predictably quirky presence in film, is stuck playing Radar O'Reilly on a communications system, given little to do. It all comes off as a limp imitation of The Walking Dead, itself a rather predictable (if wildly popular) show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • The zombie genre appears to have heated up in recent years, with numerous TV shows and movies about the living dead. What shows and movies can you name? How does Z Nation distinguish itself from these other adaptations, if it does at all?

  • Are all on-screen zombies slow-moving, brainless kill-bots as they are in Z Nation? Can you name any other depictions of zombies that are different? How? Does this make them more or less scary?

  • Look up a few recipes for stage blood. Now that you know what's in it, does the blood in Z Nation look more or less realistic?

TV details

For kids who love zombies

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate