James Patterson’s Zoo: Nature 1 Man 0

For hundreds of years, even thousands, the world of man has inflicted its bloodlust on the animal kingdoms across the Americas,  Africa, Europe, Asia and even Antarctica. The world’s animals have suffered at the hands of mankind. We kill these creatures for food, but often for economic gain, such as the ivory in elephants tusks and through humanity’s ability to pull the trigger and not think many species have become endangered and some have been wiped out entirely. Violent animal attacks upon man have begun to crop up all over the globe. Jackson Oz (James Wolk) is an American zoologist who provides safaris for tourists in Africa. He begins to notice patterns and strange behaviour in animals and sees that the animals are organized, intelligent and are working together to turn the tide of power from human to the animals. His mission is find the reason why these attacks are happening before they become more dangerous and coordinated. The animals of planet earth are taking back their world from the humans that stole it.

For hundreds of years, humans have been the dominant species. As the main predator at the top of the food chain, we’ve domesticated our “less-evolved” kin by locking them up in cages that we’ve seen fit to call zoos and the kinder term, “enclosures” in addition to killing them for sport. Zoo tells the story of when animals finally think enough is enough and decide to fight back. Zoo begs the question,”Do we deserve it?” I wouldn’t say humans deserve to be killed, well not all of them. But we have built upon natural habitats with the building of tall scrapers, housing and transportation outlets. We have deforested trees across the world’s forests thus destroying many habitats along the way. Should we really be surprised if the animals are pissed?

And you thought the neighbour's cat shitting on your lawn was bad? Not so bad now, huh? (Zoo, CBS Television Studios)

And you thought the neighbour’s cat shitting on your lawn was bad? Not so bad now, huh?
(Zoo, CBS Television Studios)

Zoo is a new kind of television escapism. I would attempt to give a like for like analogy with another show but that’s impossible since there isn’t a show like Zoo on TV. It’s a common thought of idea but never have I heard of television show like this. It’s based off the novel by James Patterson, and it’s truly something special. The storylines are so far-flung and outrageous, that it’s not an outright impossibility that this could happen. Lately, film and television have begun telling stories that are so impossible that they could be true. Mr Robot is another show that is in this conglomerate of realism. Not all theories are conspiracies.

James Wolk (The Stanford Prison Experiment) plays Jackson Oz. He went to live in Africa to become a recluse from society and escape the ghost of his late father along with the crazy conspiracy theories that came with it. His father left old video clips of himself ranting about an era defining event in the animal kingdom, that in English would translate as the world ending with the common denominator being an Animal Apocalypse. After some time, he thinks his old man might have been on to something, and his theories weren’t just crazy delusions. This is only after lions assault a French safari outing leaving one survivor, the very good-looking  Chloe Tousignant (Nora Arnezeder).


Jackson Oz (James Wilk) & Chloe Tousignant (Nora Arnezeder)
(Zoo, CBS Television Studios)

This animal problem spans the world and there are characters like reporter Jaime Campbell who are out for themselves. Instead of wanting to help prevent the problem, she wants the inside scoop on the story for a career boost. Kristen Connolly (House Of Cards) is a perfect fit for the role. Her story seeks to talk about the odd behaviour of local zoo animals which she thinks can be sourced to their food’s manufacturer. Her drive is noticed by a public-phobic vet (Billy Burke), who helps her investigate a mysterious case of missing cats in Brentwood. We also have Nonso Anozie (Game Of Thrones) as Abraham Kenyatta. To be honest, he’s a bit of a badass despite being held captive by a pride of lions. See, they’re organized. Abraham is best friend to Jackson and he can track anything.

Zoo is not like these awful “Animal Attacking” B-movies. It’s more than that. It is a great show with a an awesome cast. It’s quite bloodless but what can you expect from CBS? It’s the outcast in terms of CBS’ roster of shows which includes The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, Supergirl, NCIS and Criminal Minds to name a few. It doesn’t really fit yet it’s based on an incredible novel. It’s really well-made but it doesn’t belong on CBS. It feels like it should be on FX or even NBC. Most of CBS’ line-up are mindless thrillers and the network has knack for cancelling shows after one or two seasons. Shows get axed without a second thought which is why I was surprised when Zoo got the go-ahead for season two.

Abraham Kenyatta (Nonso Anozie) (Zoo, CBS Television Studios)

Abraham Kenyatta (Nonso Anozie)
(Zoo, CBS Television Studios)

With CBS shows, it’s normally hit and miss, much alike a Cohen Brothers movie. James Patterson is a stellar author. The cast is amazing and has some heavy hitters despite being B-list TV stars. If you haven’t watched Zoo, get on it. It’s takes a couple of episodes to get going but once it gets going, it really gets going. The animals have had enough of humans ruling things and it’s time they had a crack at it. The show is a role reversal, to put it simply, it’s like slaves whipping the arses of masters.

The animal kingdom gives humanity a taste of its own medicine.