Amongst this show’s greatest hits are: a Zambian protagonist who’s mother tongue is Swahili; a raging civil war with a marauding rebel army in a Southern African country which could be Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, or Nambia for all I know; and actual wild horses (the last horses thought to be wild were discovered to be feral instead). Okay, the wild horses part doesn’t really crack that top three list, but the other truly wild stuff is spoiler-tastic.
Intrigued yet? You should be, Zoo was so bad it made the turn into good. Not great, mind you, just good. So what is this show actually about? Based on the book of the same name by James Patterson. Zoo was billed as “a global thriller about a wave of violent animal attacks against humans sweeping the planet” by CBS, where it originally aired. I don’t know about it being a thriller but the madness was certainly thrilling on occasion.
Perhaps the best part of Zoo is the fact that, throughout it’s three seasons of ever-increasing WTF, the show seemed to take itself more and more seriously, instead of realising its key draw (being terri-good) and just going with it. Ironically, that makes the ride even better, because there’s nothing that says “we’re really trying to make sense here” like havoing rebel armies traipsing through parts of the world that haven’t been at war for literal decades.
Quite apart from that, our characters really grew into their rolls and improved as actors from season one through to three. The villains were convincing, the side characters compelling, and the main cast were… alright they were really hit and miss sometimes with which characters the showrunners clearly thought were compelling at any given moment. But that’s forgivable. The animals were revolting, after all!
Other than a bunch of fantastic nonsense, what can you really expect from Zoo?
Well, a not-insignifiant amount of white saviour-ism is coming your way. But if you can bear down on the pain and get through it, you’re in for quite the journey of… erm… discovery? The show has one of the best character arcs I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching (hint: it’s one of the women) and some remarkably consistent and wacky villains. It features a hero with limited charisma, who’s relevance to the plot is largely biological, supported by a stellar group of professionals (well… and Mitch). You definitely get the “so he’s the main character because the writers said so, huh?” feeling more than once. But fear not! Our whole ensemble get their moments in the sun.
Mood Rating: Stay hydrated through this one, kids, it’s gonna be weird.