Zoo Series Premiere Review: We Had It Coming

Zoo S01E01: "First Blood"

“Am I gonna get bit?” The words echoed through my head as I stared at a dog that was pissed off at me this one time. The latest show in CBS' summersploitation genre, Zoo actually resonates on a deeply personal level because I used to work as a dog-walker for the good people of Los Angeles. If I wanted my $9.50, I would have to sometimes get bit. That was the deal. No chomps, no cheese. So watching Zoo wasn't all that surprising to this writer, as I had more or less already lived it. Adapted from our generation's Charles Dickens, this James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge export begs the question "What would happen if one day animals got sick of humans and decided to bite us all to death?" The answer went something like this...

But let's back up a bit to the peaceful days before the beginning of the end. Our guide through the animal apocolapyse was none other than James Wolk embodying the character of "Jackson Oz." He was a human male who cared for the animals like a real good dude.


See? Chill. But sadly, this would be last of Oz's stubbled hunk grin we would see for a while, as just around the corner hiding in the brush of fate were some vengeful lions. For now though, Jackson ran a safari company with his best friend Abraham who you might recognize as the guy that tried to trick Daenerys in Game of Thrones but instead ended up locked in a vault. Here he spent his days getting his lazy bones business partner to go on safari.

Jackson's life in Botswana might seem pretty good, but he lived everyday in the shadow of his crazy father with crackpot theories about impending animal uprisings that may or may not play into the theme of this show.


The reason I liked Oz was because he protected wildlife in caddish ways. Like when some poachers showed up he and Abraham exchanged glances and then set into motion a scheme to play a radio that spooked the animals away from man's deadly grasp. 


The poacher dude was so mad because he paid $200,000 to kill some animals and couldn't. Note: if you got $200 large to play around with, you should spend it helping the planet and not murdering it. The good thing was that the poacher totally accepted this denial and was willing to let it go and not hold a grudge that could play out in bad ways for Oz later on in the episode. Phew! 

Next: When animals attack... Los Angeles!

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Jul 07, 2016
good premise, but the characters of the writer and the safari guide ? really suck, the characters are annoyances and should be mauled to death then turned into CHUM!
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Sep 28, 2015
Yeah, totally wigged out by my cat right now. He keeps sitting on top of things eyeballing me... I turn to do something, turn back and he's gone - only to pop back up someplace else a few seconds later. Creepy as fuck!
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Sep 28, 2015
"Note: if you got $200 large to play around with, you should spend it helping the planet..."

Actually, that's exactly what he's doing. If you've paid that much to kill a rhino, it's likely an older rhino, past its reproductive years that has been, as these older rhinos do, killing younger males. If the species is not endangered, the death of a male that is still in its reproductive years is sad, but just a part of nature. When the species is endangered, however, each animal capable of reproducing is precious, and the culling of problem animals is an essential practice, if you want the species to survive.

The question is, do you just have staff take the animal out, or do you sell the rights to a hunter and put that 200k (or more) back into the preservation of the refuge? There are some that argue that certain refuges and even certain species would not exist if not for hunters. That's a point that can be contested; however, on thing is certain: the issue is far mor complex than most people think, and this reinforcing of the "hunter as cruel villain" does more harm to the conservation cause than good.

Consider the fact that half of hunters interviewed by one African country would gladly pay a higher price to hunt an animal they knew needed to be put down anyway. If you honestly think that sending 10 bucks off to WWF, and bashing hunters on the Internet does more to save the planet than a 200k contribution to a refuge in exchange for a permit to put down a problem animal, well... you are entitled to that opinion. But keep in mind there's another side to the story, and accusing hunters of "murdering the planet" is unfair and inaccurate.

http://conservationmagazine.org/2014/01/can-trophy-hunting-reconciled-conservation/
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Aug 28, 2015
Non-predictable animals and Billy Burke.

That's enough to get it a 9.
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Jul 13, 2015
"The Birds" meets "Hatari". This turkey will never fly. If you thought the "Twilight" series were good movies, you're going to love this juvenile bit of melodramatic malarkey.

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Jul 08, 2015
Lions, tigers, and bears--oh, my! Well, only lions and kitty cats right now.
Another scraping off the dirty, gummy floor of the cutting room, this summer offering is really gawd-awful. The imaginary plot-line takes place in two jungles: one in Africa and one in a big city; and then the two jungles do not have any real connection to each other.
The protagonist of the story, the son of the alarmist scientist who foretold this apocalypse, manages to "believe" in less than 40 minutes. (It took Gotham's future Commissioner Gordon at least half a season before he changed his way of thinking and operation.) The femme fatale, a French woman, was shocked that her groom-to-be was having an affair. Come on! We know the stereotype Frenchman! Whom are the writers trying to kid? And then we have the (ahem) intrepid reporter with the stupid tattoo on her back (strike three) nosing around an escape of lions at a local zoo, nursing a grudge against some company that also supplies food to zoos around the country, actually getting interested in a animal pathologist with the personality of a door!
I cannot fault the writers of all of the Filipino novellas who are actually hamstrung by their superiors in being forbidden to write anything fresh. I did not realize until this year that American writers are purposely writing awful stories, plot-(cough)-lines, and characters that need more than scotch tape and wires to keep them propped up. So, what happened to the initiative and innovation that sparked a generation or two a long time ago?
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Jul 07, 2015
I'm rooting for the animals, all the way.
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Jul 06, 2015
I thought the Gorilla shown briefly at the zoo was eyeing the unsuspecting public like selecting his first victim.
Also, I was waiting for a squinting lion. Anybody as old as I know what I'm talking about?
Anyway, mindless fun, why not.
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Jul 05, 2015
Decent summer pilot. The Lion scene attacking our hero at the beginning was effectively done..The CGI/ special effects/ animal control teams on a show like this better be up to par. If I start rolling my eyes too much in the action scenes I'm probably gonna bail.

Grade for this episode=B I liked it..just don't bog it down with romance between the leads..
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Jul 04, 2015
Read the book
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Jul 04, 2015
Jajaja all the "Fuck you all" pics are really funny!! My favorite character was the guy who found the cats.
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Jul 04, 2015
Hey, its a new twist in a foreign country, thats cool enough, and this show is about subtle messages!
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Jul 04, 2015
I couldn't bring myself to watch the pilot right til the end. Even though I had fun laughing at the show (so not entirely time wasted) around about the point Kristen Connelly visited the zoo, I gave up and wandered off to spend quality time restacking my kitchen shelves. Glad that I could get the recap here. Ryan, your writing is so much better than the show itself.
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Jul 03, 2015
I'm not really sure. I feel like I have a tolerance level for silly summer shows and for good or for ill, UTD was there first. I think I will give it one more chance and use it as I did this week (despite having so much to watch on Thursdays, there is nothing on at 8). I have to call out CBS for pulling a NBC with the this season on Zoo, I think we are supposed to be worried about Abraham after the pilot, but he showed up all over the preview. As much as I complain about them, the people who do Teen Wolf's should give lessons - when you look back at them, they are totally deceptive. I also sort of thought before I saw some other animals doing this was if it were only the felines who had something up with them. That would be bad enough.
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Jul 03, 2015
I liked it, but I don't mind these slightly silly summer sci-fi shows. I think the show is going to be seriously funny, I am looking forward to seeing a hamster swarm and pigeon kamikaze attacks.
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Jul 03, 2015
It appears that this show is in fact a chilling vision of things to come... someone was mauled to death by a lion in South Africa this week in a wildlife park. Go figure...
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Jul 03, 2015
Love Billy Burke, so I had to watch.

This is one of those shows that is perfect for a MST3K running dialog in the background.

Didn't read the book...but I know what the book claimed was causing the animals to attack. It's going to be a hoot if they follow the book and use that.
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Jul 03, 2015
yes, I saw the huge spoiler in IMDB and I really hope that the conclusion will be changed...
Also - I'm rooting for the animals.
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Jul 03, 2015
I wasn't sure what Zoo was going to be about so I haven't watched it yet but after the description, I wouldn't want to. I love animals. I could watch a person die on tv or in a movie, but when they harm an animal, I can't watch. I really don't see it as a vision of things to come. The synopsis of the first episode with pics was funny, though. Thanks for that Ryan. ;)
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Jul 03, 2015
Hi...welll that's the thing in this series...nobody is hurting the animals...The animals are hurting the people, hunting them down...etc...pretty cool done
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Jul 03, 2015
This show is ztoopid.

But I guess I'll keep watching it, because I can't stop laughing at a good ol' "mankind made the planet angry" plot.
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Jul 02, 2015
G.D. auto correct, I typed "and" Lol.
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Jul 02, 2015
1st Ryan why does anyone in your mind deserve to be mauled to death just for peeing in a alleyway where refuse is supposed to go? 2ndly Ryan why did you not mention that the one black guy is nearly mauled to death? If we don't talk about it folks things will not change. I'm glad he's not dead, but by the looks of the previews that he wasn't in much of, he won't make it to the end of the season! 3rd Ryan to answer some of your funny questions. I am rooting for both sides to win, android I wouldn't mind being eaten by a dinosaur! T-rex of course because that would be awesome to see before hopefully a quick death!!! ;-)
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Jul 02, 2015
CBS summer dramas Extant - Under the Dome - Zoo are this summer best comedies non intentionally, but still.
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Jul 02, 2015
"– Is Zoo a chilling vision of things to come, or just animal slander?"
More likely an animal slasher with environmental dignity.

"– Do you agree with PETA about this show?
I don't agree with PETA about anything. They're evil in disguise.

"– Are you rooting for the humans or the animals?"
Animals of course. Who else?

"– Did this show make you side-eye your dog/cat?"
My cat's always planning her next move, learned a long time not to side-eye her. And my dog is well... a dog.

"– What animal attack do you wish to see most?"
Hippos running amok in LA, that'd be a sight for the sore eye.

"– What animal would you want to be eaten by the most?"
Sharks i guess. It'd be swift.
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Jul 02, 2015
Found it interesting and fresh! It had some good moments and some silly!

Overall, it was pretty entertaining!
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Jul 02, 2015
I can't wait to see some water fowl go...
(•_•)
( •_•)&⌐□-□
(⌐□_□)
duck wild.
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Jul 02, 2015

Wait, WHAT?! A lion ate Abe?! Nonso?! Did that actually happen? Cause he's in the cast for the whole season, and I will be uber-bummed if he's really dead. He needs to be on more tv immediately. Anyone got the scoops on that? Please?

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Jul 02, 2015
STUNT DOUBLE... LMAO!
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Jul 02, 2015
This show will be entertaining as long as they stay focused on animals like cats (big and small) where it's plausible. After all, it's been said that we get along with our pet cats because as prey, we humans are too big for them to take down.Cats tend to tolerate us more than they love us, and they do appreciate the benefits of our symbiotic relationship with them.

I grew up in a house with 8 cats. The strays always found a way to my house. Most of them were wonderful, but we did have one who stalked us and would attack without provocation. We still laugh today about that crazy cat and the crap he did to us. My younger brother was petrified of him and would run screaming through the house with the cat in hot pursuit. I have a scar for life, on my right arm where this cat lofted himself through the air and touch-downed with his teeth firmly sunken into my arm. I was merely standing two feet away from him conversing with my aunt. I wasn't even looking at him. I can only assume I said something he didn't like. :-)

He could be loving too when it suited him. He'd jump up on your lap and you'd pet him. He'd be purring happily and then BAM out of nowhere he'd rear up and start trying to slash you with his nails. He was batsh**t crazy. You can only imagine the terror of having that cat jump into bed with you at night while you were sleeping!

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Jul 02, 2015
When they were walking in the high grass did anybody else think velociraptor? On the up side at least Abe is still alive, or at least according to scenes for next week. That is one very determined lion to haul his big ass way up into that tree.
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Jul 02, 2015
This could be really awesome. Attacks by swarms of bees, rats sweeping through the city streets, a Godzilla sized hamster made out of hamsters, and so on.
But I have some doubt as to whether they have the budget to pull that off. Or the guts to show some truly apocalyptic pictures. Or if it even goes in that direction. So far it seems pretty tame.
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Jul 02, 2015
Pretty mindless but mildly entertaining summer fare. Okay to watch if you set your expectations accordingly, but certainly not a show to set your schedule around.
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Jul 02, 2015
I had the impression that this was some sort of series about a Zoo and completely tuned out. After glancing at this review I realize that it was a genre show.
The creators should have picked a better name... such as It's all happening at the Zoo
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Jul 02, 2015
Seems more likely than the plants turning on us like in The Happening, but both are pretty interesting. In any case, when I read the TV.com guide on upcoming summer series a while back I skipped over Zoo soon after I got the impression -- obviously incorrect -- that it was a bizarre reality show. I guess I wasn't reading very carefully, and was pleasantly surprised, because it is anything but. I think they can do interesting things with this show, and barring that at the very least they can do fun things.
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Jul 02, 2015
I thought the same as well that it was just some reality show.
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Jul 02, 2015
The1st episode didn't follow the book. I was a bit disappointed.
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Jul 02, 2015
I cant wait until all kind of animals attack - like cats and squirrels and mayve dolphin will come out of the water ( yes I know the Simpsons ) - lions are boring, I want ducks and hedgehogs to attack haha
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Jul 02, 2015
Well, Sharknado 3 is right around the corner, so there's that if this show doesn't go your way. LOL!
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Jul 03, 2015
Good 1! I absolutely forgot that was gonna be a thing, Lol.
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Jul 03, 2015
those movies are so crazy stupid but fuuun ;) and there are sooo many out there - but u know what I really want? PIGEONS go mad - cause lets be honest everyone treats them like shit - so i would go mental if I would be a pigeon! cant blame them
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Jul 03, 2015
That may be too close to a Hitchcock remake if they used pigeons. lol!
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Jul 02, 2015
It was a pretty suspense full episode for a pilot...loved the scene with the field..
Creepy idea, that the animals turn on the humans...but the way they are treated sometimes, it about time they take revenge :):)
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Jul 02, 2015
I think it's totally realistic that cats would be the first to turn on us. It would have been stupid had they started with dogs or elephants or turtles.

I like the idea of animals turning on us. Ep 1 has a lot of sillyness though. I think they should have made it a lot creepier.
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Jul 02, 2015
true cats would def be the first ones!
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Jul 02, 2015

8
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Jul 02, 2015
Not even gonna lie. Thought I'd skip this. I probably SHOULD skip this but your E1 review was so damn entertaining that not only will I be Hulu-ing it tomorrow, but will keep up with it for the reviews alone
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Jul 02, 2015
"his best friend Abraham who you might recognize as the guy that tried to trick Daenerys in Game of Thrones but instead ended up locked in a vault."

I must've blinked on that scene. Not everything on Game of Thrones is so memorable. Are you talking about the guy who was an entire season in Dracula?

"Naturally Bella's dad ("Mitch") showed her some dead lions and prattled on about science and biology and the call of the wild."

How can you even think of, ugh, Bella when Billy Burke was in the awesome Revolution. Now, THAT'S a reference to be remembered.

"– Is Zoo a chilling vision of things to come, or just animal slander?"
More specifically lion slander.

"– Do you agree with PETA about this show?"
I don't know what they say, but yes I agree.

"– Are you rooting for the humans or the animals?"
Animals of course. And now I want a show made by them telling their side of the story.

"– Did this show make you side-eye your dog/cat?"
No, we're on the same side.

"– What animal attack do you wish to see most?"
Dinosaurs.

"– What animal would you want to be eaten by the most?"
Hmmm. I hadn't considered that...
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Aug 28, 2015
"How can you even think of, ugh, Bella when Billy Burke was in the awesome Revolution. Now, THAT'S a reference to be remembered."

this....!
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Jul 03, 2015
He played Xaro Xhoan Daxos and he was a douche.

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Jul 03, 2015
Thanks. But there's no way I'd remember a name so full of Xs like Xaro Xhoan Xerox Daxos. Game of Thrones has something like 4000 characters and I don't remember half of them. The ones I remember, George RR martin keeps killing.

I remember Nonso Anoxie from the entire season of Dracula. He played Reinfield, and he was very good there.

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Jul 02, 2015
LOLOLOLOLOL....
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Jul 02, 2015
I wonder does anyone understand the importance of using FUCKING ADVERBS ANYMORE?
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Jul 02, 2015
Apparently not. Grammar is going the way of handwriting.

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Jul 03, 2015
Yeah, well we can reverse this problem with very quickly-- we will cut the fingers off and tongues out of those who do not use adverbs!!!!! See, then offenders of grammar will be no longer capable of offending the English Language any more!
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Jul 02, 2015
Man, EVERY TV show episode review should be a photo-recap. So much better. Price would approve.
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Jul 02, 2015
– Is Zoo a chilling vision of things to come, or just animal slander?

Mostly nonsense.

– Do you agree with PETA about this show?

I agree with PETA about almost nothing.

– Are you rooting for the humans or the animals?

The animals.

– Who was your favorite character, human or otherwise?

The dead "scientist."

– Did this show make you side-eye your dog/cat?

I don't have one. I'm safe.

– What animal attack do you wish to see most?

Baboons chewing the faces of everyone in PETA.

– What animal would you want to be eaten by the most?

The kind that kills you quickly first.


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Jul 02, 2015
I love it.
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Jul 02, 2015
I kept thinking, "Sharknado: The Series."
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Jul 01, 2015
Shows like this, The Walking Dead, The Leftovers and such. They always leave me wondering how far off the response to something like that would be in real life. Sadly I think it wouldn't be that far off. People would wander around in a stupor and likely fail.

The he one thing that bugged me was "deviant pupil" we're they trying to be intentionally ambiguous or just looking to make the main characters father look silly. Shouldn't it have been deviated pupil. You don't say deviant septum. Seemed odd, kind of bugged me. And how did the main guy lose his gun and how did they cover the rest of the mileage to camp hurt without running into further predators.
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Jul 02, 2015
It was defiant pupil, not deviant.
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Jul 02, 2015
You're right, thanks for the correction.
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Jul 02, 2015
I thought "defiant" as well, but now we have to find out exactly what a "defiant pupil" is. The same as the "evil eye"?
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Jul 02, 2015
I don't think of it as evil, just non-compliant. Like, you're not the boss of me and I'm gonna roll the way I want to roll-- which incidentally may translate into "I may eat you!", but that's not personal, that's just dinner.
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Jul 01, 2015
After watching the premiere of this show I've been eying my cats suspiciously.
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Jul 01, 2015
It was better than I expected. What would truly make It awesome is the show going in the direction of a full animal takeover of the world. Then it would become an apocalyptic show which is my preferred genre. Seriously it would be so fun. We had so many aliens take over the world show, why not animals.
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Jul 02, 2015
i would love to see that too. Im totally pulling for the animals
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Jul 01, 2015

Well I enjoyed it, not bad at all. Compelling cast of interesting characters, fast paced dialogue and the acting is above average. Not sure how long they expect this series to run... once they figure out what is wrong with the animals, won't the problem be solved? (And this is so sudden, like someone flipped a switch. Did it have something to do with the volcano? (Did not read the book.) But come on, you mean to tell me all these angry animals have that defective pupil?)

Anyway, it's pure summertime escapism and entertaining so far... James Wolk did a great job on Mad Men, hopefully he'll have some luck with this role.

I'll definitely keep watching as long as things don't get too far fetched.

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Jul 01, 2015
I like dumb, campy shows. So I'll probably like this one (I'm still watching Under the Dome). On the plus side, Louisiana makes a very convoncing Botswana. The CGI animals were pretty well done - thank you Pixar for Monsters, Inc., and getting fur dynamics right for the rest of the world. Of course, no good campy show is not without its fun to poke at issues, so I'll contribute to the list:
(1) Housecats go missing for a week (or more) but are not returning to their food source. Yes, it's LA. But still, why do they look so well fed and properly groomed? Perhaps a few pounds of cat food is the price of admission to the cat tree club.
(2) How much do you have to pay a French actress to pronounce Paris with a short "i" and an audible "s"? She should of fought that on principle, especially since in the earlier scene she was speaking French and, as is proper, acted like she couldn't understand English.
(3) Super-smart lions (I am accepting that whatever is causing them to attack humans is also making them smarter) for whatever reason decide to growl and announce their presence, before attacking. They even get close enough to let the main character see the "defiant pupil," which apparently will let the humans tell the more-dangerous animals from the safer animals. Perhaps the lions got just enough intelligence to learn how to monologue.
(4) The cats must have been begging for a cat tree for so long that they decided to take matters into their own hands. Seriously, however, cats go missing in the neighborhood and no one thinks to drive around and look!? It takes a stranger a few hours of driving around to find the tree full of cats. I don't know, maybe they were not on the tree the whole time, but still, it looks like no one even bothered to look.
(5) Lion vs radiator. Didn't see that one coming. Seriously, I didn't see where a lion hit the vehicle with enough force to break through the grille and muck up the cooling system. Perhaps it was just that fragile (should have bought the Volvo; I had a Volvo radiator demolish another car in an accident with unnoticeable damage to the Volvo). I guess it took the engine quite a while to heat up, because once that water pump kicked in they should have had steam (and that nasty anti-freeze smell) everywhere alerting them of the problem before the vehicle overheated.
That's all I have time for right now.
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Jul 02, 2015
I wondered about the radiator too. Was the lion smart enough to sabotage the jeep on purpose? Hmm...

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Jul 01, 2015
Sorry for the typos. Darn phone keyboard and screen.

Also, by compelling Botswana I should clarify that they picked a good location that didn't scream at me - California, or Pacific NW and I actually thought the got the budget to film on the other side of the Atlantic. Until I read it was filmed in Louisiana. However, it has more of the look and feel of Kenya than Botswana (I don't know why they picked Botswana, if they weren't even filming there, maybe it's in the book). Still, they picked an excellent location for filming something that looked like not-United-States-but-somewhere-in-Africa-probably-Botswana-because-I-can't-tell-the-difference-between-them-African-countries-anyway.
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