The Zone Zeroes in on Zoo

The Zone may have been gazumped by sister channel SoHo for Fear the Walking Dead but it’s snapped up another newcomer with bite, Zoo.

It will premiere next month on the sci-fi/fantasy channel, along with Killjoys, The Messengers and Ascension.

Zoo was the Under the Dome of 2015 for CBS, becoming “summer’s most-watched new scripted series”.

Based on the James Patterson best-seller, it’s being promoted as a “global thriller about a wave of animal attacks sweeping the planet”.

Quipped Entertainment Weekly: “Mutating Wild Kingdom into a subversive fun-time apoca-thriller, Zoo is a worthy small-screen complement to a Jurassic World summer.”

The Hollywood Reporter agreed it was “fun, escapist fare” while the New York Times said it was “expertly made and fits the current fascination with dystopian what-if scenarios, but it’s basic”.

Others thought it the equivalent of zoo doo: “groaningly obvious and B-movie earnest” (TV Guide); “laughably over-serious” (The Washington Post); “seems like a story that’s going to stretch out too far for its (and our) own good” (USA Today).

Zoo will screen 8.30 Wednesdays from September 23 and probably will get a Prime run as well at a later date.

Killjoys (8.30 Mondays from September 28) is a Syfy series about interplanetary bounty hunters that the NY Times said was “well cast and written and staged with a campy sense of humour” but which Variety dubbed “a tedious exercise in Blade Runner lite”.

The Book of Revelations-inspired The Messengers (8.30 Tuesdays from September 8) is either “an appealing and entertaining cross between Heroes and Supernatural” (The Wrap) or “trite, overblown and obvious” (San Francisco Chronicle).

The Zone hails another Syfy commission, Ascension, as a six-part “event series” about a murderer at large on a spaceship 51 years after it left Earth in 1963.

“The less revealed about the story the better,” TV Guide said of its December 2014 US premiere.

“Let’s just say that if you make it to the end of [the] introductory chapter, you’ll very likely feel compelled to see where else this unusual space/soap opera is heading.”

Concurred Variety: “Those who board the flight will likely be curious enough to want to see the trip through to its conclusion, but while there are strands of Battlestar Galactica in the project’s DNA, the idea never ascends to that level.”

Ascension (8.30 Sundays from September 13) stars Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Brian Van Holt (The Bridge), Brandon P Bell (Switched at Birth) and Gil Bellows (Ally McBeal).

Also new on The Zone next month will be season four of Eureka and a Friday Night Fights classic movie slot that will open with John Carpenter’s The Thing, The Amityville  Horror, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and the original Carrie.

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15 Responses to “The Zone Zeroes in on Zoo”

  1. YAY, that’s wonderful news about Ascension, I was hoping we will get to see it here 🙂

  2. I saw Ascension, on Netflix over the past few weeks. Great concept but loose ending looking like it was written for another season that wasn’t.

  3. Thanks, Paul. The Variety reviewer also thought it felt like a back-door pilot.

  4. Darn, they could at least give it a proper ending but still I’m looking forward to seeing it 🙂
    I wonder if The Zone will also be screening the new series of Twin Peaks next year, SO exciting 🙂

  5. Great — another CBS output deal show bound for Prime gets snatched by The Zone. No surprises The Messengers is off Prime’s radar as well. Why doesn’t Prime launch Prime 2 for all these shows that aren’t worthy for a place on its own schedule? I wish MediaWorks never let go of their output deal with CBS, at least the shows would have been available free to air and on demand.

  6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) is one of my all time favourites! Has the date been released?

  7. Yes, it’s fantastic, although the original remains the benchmark. It will air 9.30 September 18, after The Thing on the 4th and Amityville on the 11th, and ahead of Carrie on the 25th.

  8. Yes I discovered the original version as a kid when TVNZ did The Friday Frights hosted by Merv Smith! Loved the remake just as much!

  9. I have both the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the 1978 remake of this movie on Blu-ray bought from America. I love both of these movies.

  10. I have the remake on BD but not the original. How good is the transfer, Mark?

  11. Hi Philip. The transfer is very good and a marked improvement over the DVD version of this movie.

  12. Just found out Prime will air Zoo as part of its Q4 programming lineup along with Wayward Pines. It appears that more pay content is gradually making its way to Prime, just a shame the channel is still not in HD and worse won’t be HD for the World Cup.

  13. We watched the 1st episode of Zoo last night and we all agreed that it was very good. Looking forward to the rest of the season now.

  14. Thanks for the update, Mark. I have it sitting on the MySky+ (along with American Crime, Ordindary Lies and a bunch of SoHo must-sees), so will look forward to catching up with it …

  15. Yes, I have a lot of TV shows recording, mainly on The Zone and SoHo and will be adding Killjoys (on the Zone) and The Bastard Executioner (on SoHo) to my list of recorded programmes

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