ZOS: Zone of SeparationComplications Ensue
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Friday, January 16, 2009

ZOS is a powerful, ambitious 8 x 1 hour series about a small city in former Yugoslavia divided between angry, bitter, scared Christians and angry, bitter, scared Muslims. There are men with artillery up in the hills. And between them, trying to keep them from massacring each other, are the UN observers.

Colm Meaney is a thuggish bar and brothel-keeper who's the Muslim strong man. Lolita Davidovich is the ruthless yet possibly fragile head of the Christian community. Michelle Nolden plays the UN observer captainwho's emotionally wounded by the conflict, and Rick Roberts the god-fearing martinet who's in charge of the Canadian peacekeepers. FLASHPOINT's Enrico Colantoni (pictured) disappears into the role of the flamboyant, romantic, possibly less insane than he lets on militia leader known as Speedo Boy.

The series tells hard stories about a place that has been Hell, and people who have been through Hell, and don't want to go back there. It demonstrates why pay cable TV is now the most interesting medium to create in. It creates a keenly observed and emotionally real world you've never been to, populates it with characters you want to know more about, and let them rip through stories that test the bounds of human relations. ZoS takes you a place you wouldn't want to go, but which your world could turn into, if all hell broke loose. It lets you live there for a while, safely and vicariously. If you're a fan of THE WIRE, then ZOS is a slamdunk.

I'm a writer, so file this paragraph under "I'd have written a slightly different show." The show is all about the interweaving, entangling story lines. I might have written a more episodic show. The series has the surprises of real life, where I might have tried to foreshadow more of the jeopardy. And you have to work at figuring out what some of the characters are thinking -- some of the most intriguing characters are as opaque as real people. But you know it all by the wild ending. What creator Malcolm MacRury and director Mario Azzopardi set out to do, they have done extremely well. The characters are so fully realized you wish the story played out over 13 episodes instead of only 8. It's must-watch TV.

So if you're in Canada, and haven't already signed up for Movie Central or The Movie Network, you might want to sign up now.

ZOS premieres Monday, January 19th at 9 pm PST on Movie Central, and at 10 pm EST on The Movie Network.



This show is absolutely nothing like the Wire. You can tell the producers thought it would play that way - but anyone who has spent more than 3 minutes watching the show can tell you there is no comparison. ZOS sucks.

By Blogger alan p, at 11:12 PM  

ZoS certainly doesn't suck because it doesn't play like The Wire. The robust characters and intense, interwoven drama in ZoS is a real first for Canadian TV. The interactive site (zostv.com), is possibly just as entertaining.

Definitely worth the watch.

By Blogger jaager187, at 11:54 PM  

I was responding to the initial article's comparison with the wire. I watched one episode and it didn't seem like it was of very high production value. I will give it another go.

By Blogger alan p, at 4:17 AM  

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