Netflix’s Phenomenal ‘Black Summer’ Finds An Unexpected Champion


Netflix’s ‘Black Summer’ debuted back in early April, and to be honest, it didn’t get a lot of attention. There are only 14 reviews of the season on Rotten Tomatoes and two of them are mine, while even the NYTimes only got around to reviewing the first season two days ago (The Times, for the record, love it, singling out its pensive, dreamlike economy).

I’ve been trying to champion the show both here and elsewhere, and I’m a particular fan of how efficient the series is — to borrow a phrase from Thomas Hobbes, it is “nasty, brutish, and short,” and fans of the series are particularly pleased with how short it is. It was also, believe it or not, the most popular series on Netflix in the UK last month.

Probably the biggest reason that Black Summer has gotten any attention here in the States is because one man with a lot of influence when it comes to horror came out and raved about it on Twitter only a few days after it was released.

The series is an unofficial prequel to Z Nation, although watching Z Nation is absolutely not necessary (in fact, the shows share no characters, and the tone and sensibilities of the two series are very distinct). However, both Z Nation and Black Summer come from the same production company, Asylum, and if that sounds familiar, it should. It’s also the production company behind the Sharknado films, which might put some viewers off if they preferred their zombie horror free of unintentional comedy and Tara Reid.

Stephen King, of course, is someone I might expect to support a low-budget but phenomenal horror series like Black Summer. A man I would not expect to be praising Black Summer, however, is Adam F. Goldberg, the creator of the modest family sitcom The Goldbergs. I love The Goldbergs, but it’s about as family friendly as a network sitcom can be, and yet its creator — upon whose family the show is based — is a huge fan of Black Summer.

Huh. That’s unexpected. Slight less unexpected, however, is the fact that the lead singer of The Oneders from That Thing You Do! is also a fan:

I mean, if the King of Horror’s recommendation is not a big enough incentive, and the creator of one of the most popular sitcoms on network television doesn’t convince you to watch Black Summer, hopefully Guy Patterson can put you over the top.