Harold Perrineau Harold Perrineau

Who'd be nuts enough to compete with The Walking Dead by launching yet another series about a zombie apocalypse? Only the folks who brought us Sharknado! The new Syfy series Z Nation — set three years after the U.S. president and millions of others have been killed by zombies — stars Harold Perrineau (Lost), Tom Everett Scott (Southland), and DJ Qualls (Supernatural) as a group of funky heroes trying to transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab will test his blood and, hopefully, create a vaccine. Did we mention it's a laugh riot?

 "We're determined to put the fun back in zombies," says executive producer Karl Schaefer. "The Walking Dead is a fantastic show, but it has a very narrow, straight-forward vision of what it means to have a zombie problem. We take a much more M*A*S*H-like approach, using black humor as a great survival skill. Hey, if you're in a zombie apocalypse and can't see the humor, you might as well curl up and wait to die."

Where The Walking Dead zigs, Z Nation zags. "We have a much broader sense of zombies and what they're capable of," notes Schaefer. "We have fast zombies, slow zombies, underwater zombies, animal zombies, even baby zombies. And their behavior will evolve as the series does." Another notable difference: While the AMC hit is all about hunkering down in isolation and avoiding "walkers" at all costs, the Z Nation guerrillas actually seek them out.

"Our mission is to move forward every week, going from one pocket of humanity to another," Schaefer says. "Our characters are like, 'Let's go catch us some zombie ass!' Trust me, if there's ever a real apocalypse, you'll wanna be with our guys."

Z Nation premieres Friday, Sept. 12 at 10/9c on Syfy.

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!