I first learned about “Zoo” from a Netflix Philippines notification, informing me season one of the series was uploaded on the streaming platform.
I was extra tired at the time, so the idea of watching a mindless television show where animals attack humans and take over the world really appealed to me. As expected the show does feature plenty of animals killing humans. But it also offers more.
“Zoo” provides an equally intelligent and exciting look at an end of the world scenario where animals have evolved specifically to combat humans and their technology. Technology being, according to the show, the only reason why humans are at the top of the food chain.
This science-fiction drama thriller based on a novel of the same name by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge brings together an unlikely team:
American zoologist Jackson Oz (James Wolk), safari guide Abraham Kenyatta (Nonso Anozie), journalist Jamie Campbell (Kristen Connolly), veterinary pathologist Dr. Mitch Morgan (Billy Burke), and French intelligence investigator Chloue Tousignant (Nora Arnezeder).
Their goal is to find a solution to the animal problem. The sci-fi angle of the series comes from the fact that the problem could be traced to a biotechnology company behind the production of staple goods sold worldwide, from animal feeds to veterinary medicines. Hence, the inclusion of a journalist in the team.
“Zoo” is a very smart and entertaining television series. It begins with a series of animal attacks. I was expecting it to be “The Walking Dead,” but with animals instead of zombies. So far, that hasn’t happened yet.
Still, the rise of the animal kingdom happens quickly as humans struggle to adapt to the situation.
With so many animals in the world, I wondered how the show would feature them? Fortunately, they didn’t run down the list of scariest animals (imagine sharks, piranhas, anacondas gone wild) and the world’s armies retaliating.
Instead the show focuses on animals relevant to the characters and the places they visit in their search for a solution. For example, lions and leopards appear in Africa, where Jackson and Abraham host safari tours.
I also enjoyed how the focused on the mutations of particular animals during a few animal-of-the-week episodes in the middle of the series.
Rats, for example, evolved so they could reproduce asexually. This allowed them to increase in number much faster than they could be exterminated. They also developed a taste for human blood.
Cats, on the other hand, developed the ability to communicate long distances with their entire species. This unified, long-distance language ability enabled them to work in teams and plan attacks without congregating physically, among other things.
Bears developed extra strong carapaces to protect against bullets and tranquilizer darts. They also gained the ability to enter and exit hibernation at will.
Bats began swarming around and attacking devices emitting electronic signals. They also attacked cellular phones—take that you Pokemon Go players!—and plane turbines, blocked sunlight from reaching solar panels in Antarctica. True story.
The team made progress quickly. They narrowed their focus to finding a cure that would devolve the animals back to their regular state, and this search for the cure is what brings the show’s first season to an epic conclusion.
Sure, you can question the science and ethics behind “Zoo”. But as long as you don’t dig too deep. If you accept this show as the intelligent and thrilling fictional television entertainment it is, then you will definitely enjoy this visit to the zoo!