Stephen King Throws High Praise At Netflix's Newest Horror Series Black Summer

jamie bell black summer netflix

(Image credit: netflix press)

Many people might assume that Stephen King gets all the horror entertainment he needs just by being Stephen King, but the prolific author is just as eager as the next person to settle down with the latest and greatest genre releases. The recent Netflix release Black Summer, a prequel of sorts to Syfy's Z Nation, is one that particularly caught his attention.

Stephen King shared his initial thoughts about Black Summer, which should be quite celebratory for creators John Hyams and Karl Schaefer, with the latter also being Z Nation's co-creator and former screenwriter. In King's words:

BLACK SUMMER (Netflix): Just when you think there's no more scare left in zombies, THIS comes along. Existential hell in the suburbs, stripped to the bone.

Though it follows a different storyline and different characters, Black Summer handles its approach to the early days of the zombie apocalypse in many of the same ways that Z Nation did. By that, I mean there's a pronounced lack of plot-dragging and boring character build-up, due to this franchise's reliance on action-thriller beats, as opposed to slow-burning dramatic stories.

Stephen King definitely isn't the only horror fan out there who's been having a blast binge-watching Black Summer, although critical views are split down the middle. The show currently has a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn't great, but the positive reviews link up with a lot of fans' opinions about the show being television's best zombified season since The Walking Dead's first year.

Speaking of The Walking Dead, Stephen King was seemingly taking some winking shots at the AMC drama's later and more criticized seasons in his second Twitter post about Black Summer.

BLACK SUMMER: No long, fraught discussions. No endless flashbacks, because there's no back story. No grouchy teens. Dialogue is spare. Much shot with a single handheld camera, very fluid. Showrunners could learn a lot from this. If they could work, that is.

While Stephen King obviously didn't draw upon any specific TV shows when making these comments about Black Summer, he certainly drew from comments that fans have made about The Walking Dead's later seasons. In particular, viewers take shots at TWD's lengthy dialogue scenes, as well as the abundance of annoying and plot-halting teen characters.

King's final comment is in reference to the recent troubles happening between the Writers Guild of America and some of Hollywood's biggest talent agencies. Many in the industry sent out public letters recently terminating their representatives in an alignment with the WGA after fee dispute conversations weren't resolved.

It's likely there are many viewers that hoped to find some connective tissue between Z Nation and Black Summer beyond just the central zombie outbreak that the characters are all facing. However, it was confirmed ahead of the release that no such character-based crossover plans were in the works. In part because the events seen in Black Summer take place many years before what happens in Z Nation. So while it's possible that Season 2 could somehow feature Harold Perrineau's Mark Hammond in a sequence, it's not set in stone.

Black Summer stars Jamie King as Rose, a mother who gets separated from her daughter six weeks after the zombie apocalypse ravages the world's population. Set within the deadliest months of the outbreak, Black Summer follows Rose and a group of survivors who are forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive.

The eight-episode first season of Black Summer is available to stream in full on Netflix, as are all five seasons of Z Nation.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.