So I was browsing Hulu, and a TV show titled Zomboat! came up. Naturally, I thought, ‘oh, this must involve some zombies and likely some boats’, and I was right. Zomboat! is a British-made product, which is exactly what it sounds like. A zombie apocalypse hits Birmingham, and four strangers must escape it by boat, because “zombies can’t swim”.
It’s about as good as it sounds.
The first episode establishes who will most likely be following for the rest of the series. Zomboat! begins with Jo, the blonde one, having sex, and Kat, her sister, in the other room, in the heat of an intense gaming moment—where, in the chat, she sees people talking about the zombie apocalypse.
Jo spots a helicopter and goes in to warn her sister. Sometime post-coitus, her fwb dies, and resurrects as the undead, attacking the two. Rinse and repeat for Amar and Sunny, our other leads. Neither of them are having sex or gaming, but the accidentally stumble upon the apocalypse, which gets them attacked by zombies.
The first five episodes, in which the gang hijack a car, raid a leather shop, pick up one of Kat’s “gamer friends” that eventually betrays them, find Amar’s douchebag friends in their hotel and get trapped in a supermarket by a disgruntled employee, all while being chased by the world’s slowest zombies, takes place all in one day.
Big Stupid Idiots Fight Zombies
For Zomboat’s cast, we have sisters Kat and Jo, and brothers Sunny and Amar. Theirs is a chance meeting, after the brothers stow away on a boat that Jo and Kat hijacked from Jo’s ex-boyfriend.
Kat, the youngest of the two, is every older sister’s worst nightmare for a little sibling; she’s a devout gamer, and navigates through the end of the world using “epic gamer terminology”, like “power-ups” in referring to energy drinks, and “side-quests”, when they go out to save Amar’s friends (clearly, I’m not a gamer). She also possesses a strange, specific knowledge of narrowboats.
Jo, her older sister is a pretty, blonde thirty something, whose into drinking lots of tequila, and stalking her ex-boyfriend on tracking apps, while claiming adamantly that she’s “over him”. She’s a bit selfish, and extremely vain, but she isn’t stupid, though her incessant need to take a shower has almost killed the entire crew. Between Jo’s stubbornness and inability to quit, and Kat’s experience and knowledge about things literally no-one else on this planet can give a shit about, the two make an unlikely good team.
Amar is the eldest, a gym rat with a bad haircut, who puts a lot of effort into his skincare regimen and who thinks he knows how to Hotwire a car because he saw someone on CSI Miami do it. He drinks his ‘respect women juice’ by hiring a Burlesque dancer instead of a stripper, because he thought it was more empowering. Sunny, his brother, is a cynical bastard with a seemingly distasteful view of the world. He’s a drinker who doesn’t hold his booze all that well, lazy, and, in comparison to his brother and the sisters, doesn’t quite feel as fleshed out as the other three.
The First Episode Hump
The first episodes of things are always a hit or miss, and a lot of it was a miss. The ‘bumbling idiots try to navigate the end of the world’ has already been done to death (“Sean of the Dead”, anyone?) and in honesty, I wasn’t sold on this ensemble of characters. The jokes weren’t all that funny, like the overdone “I have to take a snapchat of these zombies eating a person but oh no the sound was on and they heard me” obligatory scene with Amar and Sunny, and the first zombie kill that takes fifteen years cause they just throw random things at it in terror.
I’ll give Zomboat this, though; the scenes where characters are screaming in terror and revving up the boat engine, only for the camera to cut back to this slow ass narrowboat going exactly three miles an hour is absolutely hilarious. It’s been done at least three times throughout the episodes, and I laugh out loud every time I see the zombies traveling faster than the boat.
I wasn’t huge on the first episode, but by the fifth one I was well won-over. I really have nothing bad to say about the characters and the crazy shit they get up to; between Kat’s inappropriate gamer analogies, and Amar’s unabashed love for skin exfoliation, I’m having a good time. The four are really the only thing carrying this show.
It’s goofy zombie antics and really nothing more than that, but I’m not looking for every single piece of media I watch to be the next American (or in this case, British) Classic. Isn’t it enough to watch four assholes out-walk the apocalypse in the world’s ugliest riverboat?
I’d like to see the direction they decide to take the show in during later episodes. Crossing my fingers that they don’t do me dirty and cancel this work of art like they did Crazyhead; yeah, Netflix, I haven’t forgotten.