Netflix’s Black Summer was likely akin to a breath of fresh air for zombie fans, which is interesting when you consider that it was created by The Asylum, a studio known primarily for knockoff shlock like Atlantic Rim (Pacific Rim), Operation Dunkirk (Dunkirk), Z Nation (The Walking Dead), Titanic II (Titanic) and the Sharknado movies.
That likely has more than a little to do with five of the eight episodes of Black Summer being helmed by John Hyams, who also executive produced the series. He’s directed a lot of television including episodes of the aforementioned Z Nation and feature films like Universal Soldier: Regeneration.
Beyond Hyams I’m not entirely sure why Black Summer works as well as it does though it doesn’t feel as precious as shows like The Walking Dead in the sense that unfamiliarity with the characters means that there’s always a questions as to whom’s going to survive from one episode to the next (Summer is a spinoff of Z Nation. I’ve barely seen on episode of that show though if you have your mileage may vary).
Then there’s the pace, which is less about contemplation and more geared to action than TWD, which means things are less likely to get bogged down on a farm somewhere.
I know it’s hard to judge in that Black Summer is only coming up on it’s second season, while the The Walking Dead is working on it’s tenth but in this instance familiarity may not exactly breed contempt, but it does make things a lot less interesting.