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 15+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 16 reviews

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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
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byChris3213 July 10, 2019

Good show appropriate for teens

The show has violence but not over the top. Every now and then there is a bad word. And there are few but some drug references.
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
Teen, 16 years old Written byAngelsWithoutWings August 23, 2020

Rating Systems Never Compliment Amazing Story Telling

This show has a special place in my heart. I've been watching the show ever since it was rated TV-14. recently because of complaints, it's been knocke... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byRiverdont123 May 20, 2020

It's a great show for preteens and teenagers!

I love Z Nation and it is great for kids 12+! I know none of you parents care about a teenagers review, but this cite sucks. My parents don't let me watch... 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love zombies

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