Reviews, TV

Thoughts On Netflix’s “Black Summer”

I’d like to talk about Netflix’s latest zombie show, Black Summer. Here’s a quick plot summary:

Black Summer stars Jaime King (Hart of Dixie) as a mother who is torn from her daughter and embarks upon a harrowing journey, stopping at nothing to find her. Thrust alongside a small group of American refugees, she must brave a hostile new world and make brutal decisions during the most-deadly summer of a zombie apocalypse. 

via Hollywood Reporter

Here be spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.

From the very first episode, it was hard for me to get invested. Like with reading a book, I try to give a show a couple of episodes before I decide that I really don’t like it. I could barely make it out of episode one. (I did end up letting the show run in the background while I did other things.)

Right out of the gate, the interstitials (the black screen with white text) served to push me out of the narrative. Overall, after watching most of the episodes, these served no purpose. I think these were attempts at breaking each episode into vignettes. However, they served more to bluntly foreshadow what would happen next.

In other words, the show would have been better without them.

Here’s another, episode one, example of things that bothered me. In one of the vignettes, a man and woman are standing on the curb at a four-way street intersection. For absolutely no reason, the woman throws her arms in the air and blatantly steps of the curb, into the street.

The move couldn’t have telegraphed more what happens next. It screamed, “Random car, please come mow me down!” And guess what… That’s exactly what happened! There were no other cars on the road and very little noise, from what I could tell. I would assume the engine of a massive SUV speeding towards you would give some indication to move your ass.

Moving on. A pet peeve I have is weapons reload. Here’s some basic web searching to illustrate this pet peeve:

  1. The two pistols listed in this article are the standard issue for the United States Armed Forces. I’m assuming the fake soldier got his pistol from the real soldier he killed.
  2. Given this assumption, the Beretta M9 has a standard round capacity of 15. The Sig Sauer, depending on the model used, has a maximum round capacity of 21.

Given these facts, I counted at least 17 rounds fired by our fake soldier. No reloads. And, as far as I could tell, the fake soldier had no other clips to reload from. So how, throughout the next few episodes, is he still able to shoot at zombies?

Since we’re on pet peeves, here’s another. The survivors find themselves in an abandoned school building. It has multiple floors, and many, many windows. Yet, when the survivors find themselves trapped behind closed doors, do any of them try the windows?

No. Not once.

Why?!?!

Also in this episode, some of the survivors are drawn in by a boy’s voice that is, to me, very obviously a recording. Or, as we discover, coming from a jury-rigged speaker hidden in a room with one way in or out.

This is just illustrative of the survivor’s lack of common sense, planning, or survival instinct. I get that they are in a very scary and intense situation. I don’t understand how that overrides basic instincts for survival, though.

Not to mention the character who is written as a coward, and runs away from everything. If he’d just learn how to lock a door behind him, the zombies would leave him alone.

That’s all I have for now. I don’t really recommend watching this series, unless you go into it with complete awareness that there are some immense problems with the writing and character development.