Friday, November 17, 2017

Requiem: Zoo

Absolutely no-one who has been following our reviews will be even remotely surprised that we greeted the cancellation of Zoo with no great despair. Honestly I was split between quiet dread before a new season - or kind of looking forward to it just for the ridicule. Yes, I was watching this for snark.

The Good

the original concept: normal animals rising up is a terrifying concept. Never mind the lions and tigers; the fear is the common creatures all around us. The horror of family pets rising up against us. Of rats swarming from the sewers, of birds bombing us from the skies, how how different nations with their own wildlife have to react. Places which are surprisingly vulnerable to intelligent, malicious animals. How does this affect agriculture when meat farming effectively becomes near impossible? The implications are enormous and the first season did quite a good job of addressing that.

The Bad

The ridiculousness. The utter, nonsensical ridiculousness. I mean, as I said above, the original concept is terrifying. So why did we need electric ants and earthquake sloths? Even the plot lines twisted so bizarrely that it became almost impossible to follow: remember the Mother Cell? Reiden Global? The Victorian X-rays? And this is before the hybrids & sterility. Throw in the deeply implausible elements - like governments deciding to wipe out all animal life (like we could even do that - if we could rats and wasps and pigeons would no longer be a thing we had in our cities) or the US building a wall across the entire west coast (and not even trying to show the implications of that!). Then we had Jackson’s magic powers, Clem and the miracle baby, the whole Mr. Duncan/Mitch bizarreness and every week turned the whole thing into a confusing rambling Madlib. Did anyone even know what was happening at the end?

And if it’d owned it? I’d be right there. If it had gone full on Z-Nation fully aware of its own ridiculousness I would have jumped right on board, giggling along with it! Invisible giant snakes! Wooly Rhinos! Volcano sabretooths! But by all accounts it legitimately took itself seriously right up to the end. And, honestly, I am freaking impressed the actors kept a straight face managing that.

The Diversity

There’s a mixed bag here… it’s one of those shows where if you just looked at the cast pictures you can see women and racial minorities which definitely looks diverse. We still have no disabled people and only 2 dead lesbians from one episode over three seasons for LGBTQ representation. But women and racial minorities we seem to have… but looking at their roles and things are a little less clear cut. Firstly the most prominent, most important characters in this show are (arguably, admittedly with Jamie) Mitch and Jackson: the two straight white men. And it says something when you can look at a mixed cast and you KNOW the more important members will be the straight white men.

Chloe had the potential to be vastly involved and important - but she was killed off quite pointlessly. She was replaced by Dariela who never achieved the same prominence, in the third season was turned into a near universally shunned hate figure for most of the last season. While Jamie is definitely more prominent her role in this series is to make terribad mistakes and not learn from them - especially in the third season. Honestly in the last season Jaime provided a) her plane and b) problems. And Clem: well Clem is the womb of special wombness with wombiness of womb.

For POC we have Abe. And isn’t Abe wonderful? Abe is in many cases the only reason I’m happy watching this show. He’s kind. He’s caring. He’s wise. He’s more than capable of looking after himself, but violence is not his first resort. Abe is awesome. But he’s very much secondary - he’s the heart of the group, which mean’s he’s the support character. He’s not the lead. I mean he’s not a bad character - but the fact he is a support character does have to be noted

Most Ridiculous Animal!

I have to go with… the Earthquake Sloth! I mean the Sabre-toothed cat causing volcanoes was pretty big. The Freezing lizard - (was it a lizard? I think it was a lizard. I honestly don’t want to look through pages and pages of Zoo recaps, seeing electric ants the whole jellyfish thing (I don’t even remember the jellyfish thing: but I remember them trying to X-ray jellyfish) but the lizard was pretty out there. But no, the Sloth roaring and causing Earthquakes was just too perfectly ridiculous