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‘Z Nation’ Season Four: Follow the Black Rainbow

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Welcome back to that post-apocalyptic world of Z Nation still on-going with brand new and even revitalized former ways to screw up what’s left of the world! Spoilers will eat your flesh!

When we last left our dubious heroes, well never-mind that, the point is, Roberta Warren (Kellita Smith) just woke in a stark laboratory-like setup, to learn she’s been out for damn near two years, and it comes with costs. I actually like the white-blonde hair Warren sports throughout the entirety of Season Four, it makes her seem more affected by the end of the world.

So while Warren’s been cooling her heels in stasis, Murphy’s (Keith Allen) been hanging like a King in a Stepford Wives-like community called ZONA. While ZONA might seem idyllic, or at least be Murphy’s version of what he thinks is perfect, Dr. Teller (Frank Boyd) and the all-important Founder (Michael Berryman) of ZONA himself are hatching plans for the ultimate end-game, that giant action they call the Reset, which is exactly what it sounds like.

After figuring out that, y’know, perhaps ZONA isn’t actually a place they want to hang around, Warren takes her vision-besotted self and a reluctant Murphy, off to find the rest of the scattered team and figure out what the hell to do now! Some of the gang want to head to Numerica, that’s where Addie’s purported to be, along with perchance others who want to find out why and how ZONA’s forces are hunting them down, and a few want to follow Warren’s devastating visions of the black rainbow and the flesh eating rain, hopefully to try and stop it.

Meanwhile elsewhere, Kaya in the Sky-a (Ramona Young) has already had Citizen Z’s (DJ Qualls) son and of course named him JZ, cuz he’s Junior Z after all, and is trying to fight off ZONA stealth forces come to raid the base of Northern Light. What could evil world-changing ZONA want from Northern Light that is so important and pivotal to the Reset? It would have to be something vital, that was gathered before the apocalypse and managed to survive the zom-pocalypse too.

It’s from these worrisome thoughts and Warren’s scary visions, we get the brand new tone of Z Nation season four, all washed out and faded, raging fire forever in the distance but always edging closer, a very real sense that, holy shit, not only did the world already actually end when the dead rose, but that someone is now trying to Reset the world, once again. The very different light filters and faded colors when Z Nation had been known for exactly the opposite beforehand, is a bold risk but it actually seems to have paid off. Most of the season rather reminded me of the excellent zombie Horror flick 28 Days Later,  and that film is a damn legend at this point. (If you haven’t seen 28 Days Later already, do.)

The world of two-years-later and ZONA ascendant is a much more somber and quiet thing, here in Z Nation, and the tension mounts in every episode. Even the cheesy SyFy special effects used for Warren’s visions – it was so well acted on Warren’s part, we believed right along with her. That’s something Z Nation has surprisingly managed to do, across three seasons of goofy nonsense zombie trope wacky-world ‘Merica funnery, is make us believe, right along with the characters. It’s usually believing in Murphy, that beleaguered half-zombie half-hero Luthor wannabe, so Warren taking a turn at messiah-hood in Season Four is cool beans, man.

I did enjoy the addition of Henry Rollins as Lieutenant Mueller for several episodes, and of course he got a badass death at the hands of his overly-trained sergeant called inevitably Sarge, and y’know, also his daughter named Lilley (Gracie Gillam). The inevitable death of Lucy, Murphy’s blue zombie daughter, was at least set to a good purpose this season, and will likely serve as a goad for Murphy to pull off some other grand scheme in Season Five. Everyone’s favorite stoner Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) and 10K (Nat Zang) were rather overshadowed this season, though no-one is really surprised by this and 10K did get his own little storyline with a missing Red and 5K showing up to aid him in crisis time.

Z Nation is, of course, already approved for season five, and we can’t wait! What about the Man with the Plan, and why did his canister turn Murphy freaking red? By the way, this means Murphy has literally been red, white, and blue over the course of the show! Is it truly the reset-ted end of the world? Will the Black Rainbow and the delivery drones dispense death, or life, or both in some stupefying combination that only the wacky writers at ‘Z Nation’ could come up with! What will Warren, the ultimate soldier whose mission was perverted at the hands of ZONA, do now that she’s at least partially foiled their plans? Gird your loins, grab your modified highway-sign-turned-zombie-shield, have some of that z-weed, follow the signs to Numerica and keep score of zombie kills along the way, because we’re all in Z Nation now!

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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