Zoo-Series One. An American horror series based on the book of the same name by James Paterson and Malcolm Ledwidge. My Final Review. From Episode Five onwards until the end of Series One. Minor spoilers only. On Netflix in the UK. This Final Review follows on from My First Review on Episodes: One, Two, Three and Four of Zoo posted on 6th of September 2016.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Zoo-Series One.
“Netflix Description of Zoo:
“People have always been on top of the food chain, looking down on the animal kingdom. They’re about to get a new view”.
2015. Five stars.

Netflix-Further description of the series:
“When animal species all over the world begin attacking humans, the controversial Zoologist Jackson Oz tries to discover the cause of the sudden change”

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My Final Review

Later episode dialogue.
A Scientist:
“That’s suitably eerie!”

So you gotta love a series where they say things like that. Well I do.

I’m glad I stuck with Zoo because I was wavering at one point. Thinking that it was verging on too teachy-preachy, considering the flurry of box ticking and so on.

For example, the proliferation of women at every turn in position of authority. Yep. Very Scandinavian in flavour I felt that was. As in the Bridge series something or other.

This is not a coincidence. But then possibly I’m suffering from or at propaganda overload. You see these are positive female role models. Official female empowerment. And so on.

However there was a counterbalancing theme later luckily, I felt, to all this severe right-on-ness on the subject of animals. And the lesson-style prologue thankfully disappeared. Mostly.

Zoo is not exactly deep and meaningful as a drama although note that I just complained of that very thing above. A classic sort of save the world tale with a twist. A modern update if you like. Which manages not to be completely corny.

The drama’s strength centres around the characterisation and intersection of its main characters and their interactions with each other.

Abraham and Mitch, the two characters to whom the story first introduces us: are old friends already. In fact they consider each other brothers. We slowly learn. The rest of the main cast are then introduced one by one and meet each other by both chance and planned introduction.

Certainly the scene setting, including the opening credit scenes are stunningly dystopian and artistic to see.

For some reason the street scene with the giant Rhinoceros in the street at the beginning, set in a smoky mist reminded me of a row of colonnades (in Mussolini’s Italy) in the series Inspector De Luca.

I am not quite sure that the story itself lived up to the weightiness of its often dystopian artful setting. Sometimes the drama sagged a little in the middle.

This feeling may have been because of an ongoing inherent suspense attached to the urgency of the characters’ mission: being a tricky thing to maintain. In a drama of a good healthy thirteen or so episodes long. Which was interspersed with some slightly syrupy interludes.

However since the slushy stuff was mostly shouldered by the excellently acted, interesting and laconic Veterinary Pathologist: somehow these scenes survived mawkishness. Mostly.

However by the end or towards the end of Zoo we are fully invested in the characters. Whose own progression along the way is subtly evoked. In terms of their characterisations.

I liked how Mitch was evinced subtly to have become similar to someone we only see in video: right a the beginning. As he now films himself.

Abraham was a stolid and charismatic character as well as an enjoyable all action hero. Plus he plays an African character who for once actually has an African accent!

Chloe, who is at first distractingly beautiful, OK, she’s always going to be distractingly beautiful, is convincingly steely and brave. Right from the very beginning. But exhibits nerves of steel under eye popping pressure throughout and later- as Zoo morphs into another kind of madcap dystopian adventure and continues to surprise.

Especially when we are least expecting it and are thinking that our classical happy ending is all sewn up..
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Footnotes.

I am sticking to my original description of Jackson Oz as a Veterinary Pathologist: since this is what he calls himself in the beginning of the series.

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I could see Abraham’s back-story coming from a mile off.

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The officially evil hick American hunters from the beginning of the series are simply recycled later.

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As mentioned in the footnotes to my first review: series two of Zoo is currently showing on CBS channel in America.

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Posted by Clarissima at 16:24

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