Night of the Zombie King has begun! This is a six-part series from the creators of Gold: The Series, and it looks good. Much like Gold, this web offering has great production values and a subtle but engaging opening sequence. For episodes ranging from 6–7 minutes, a 20-second introduction is a respectable dedication of screen time. The play of light with the elements on the table has you looking for anything hidden and makes you wonder if it’s meant to foreshadow events in the plotlines.
Part one, “From the Shadows,” reveals the cast of characters with few surprises. Playing off a similar vein from Gold, Night of the Zombie King focuses on the redemption of Jaz, who returns from the professional roleplaying circuit to complete a story left unfinished when he answered a call from the big leagues. This departure left some members resentful and others with possibly unrequited feelings. The gamemaster provides some very well delivered description in the cliffhanger end, demonstrating not only solid writing, proving the writers understand their audience, but a very authentic performance…
Part two, “When Black Roses Bloom,” begins with the game’s opening battle underway, and both the romantic and antagonistic tension between Jaz and the old guard escalate. The humor in this episode is great, though, and very natural—reinforcing the sincere vibe this series exudes. Even scenes between characters with obvious emotional history flow well, sidestepping the pitfalls of awkward interaction and serving as a counterpoint to the comical table chatter. In so many ways, it just feels genuine and showcases the chemistry of the cast.
The only quibble worth debating is a somewhat abrupt transition into the closing sequence. However, this might be an intentional attempt to leave the audience wondering whether or not Jax really made the connection he was seeking.
Overall, Night of the Zombie King is doing everything right. The characters offer a real sense of emotional depth and personality while avoiding caricatures. The professional production values, quality musical score, and wonderful, smooth dialogue are engaging and complementary. The plotline is dramatic in an almost everyday manner, yet it still draws in the viewer and keeps the material interesting.
You might show up for the gaming, looking to find a Zombie King, but you’ll stay for the whole package. This is one night you don’t want to miss.