Contrary to popular belief, zombie media can fall under many different categories. There are narratives that solely concentrate on the survival of the main characters, like 28 Weeks Later (because we know some people have to be eaten for that sweet tension to arise). Some narratives concentrate on the morality of the people left behind given their dire situation, which would then turn into a view into the human condition, much like how they do in the Walking Dead. And there are those stories that focus on making badass zombie-killing moments happen such as Zombie Land.
There are a lot of other sub-categories but we figure that most zombie media falls under one of these, so where do we slot in Black Summer? Well, we think it has the most similarities with the high-paced, tension-driven narratives in the first category—but that's where the issues arise (much like the undead) for Black Summer. Now, we're not saying every piece of zombie media should fall neatly into one of these categories, which we made up on the spot; heck, one of our favorite zombie series, Kingdom, utilizes the distinct qualities found in three categories to its advantage.
Not utilizing these qualities to their fullest extent made watching Black Summer sometimes feel unbearably slow and, at times, exhaustingly fast because it was half-heartedly choosing themes it wanted to explore. [Minor SPOILERS ahead].
The first episode of the series starts off with giving us viewers multiple perspectives of the same "incident". And by incident, we mean people scrambling about in the middle of the street while being chased by one to three zombies at a time. It was interesting at first, seeing how the stories of the people on the street were sort of linked together by... fate? Proximity? Plot? We're not really sure. But after a while the gimmick was way too repetitive, way too fast.
We forgot to mention that every damn time they would cut off to explore another perspective, they would literally cut the action off by using a black title card. The first episodes used names of the characters (which we sadly forgot two minutes after they were shown to us) as the titles for the different perspectives, which would lead anyone to believe that this was going to be a character-driven narrative. But Black Summer never, and we mean never, explored any of the characters' back stories after their introduction.
The only thing we know about them is that most of them have shaky morals and have family waiting for them at this "stadium" they always seem to talk about. The series heavily relied on character tropes and racial stereotypes to make their characters seem more human. This lack of depth made us not care about 99% of them because we never got into their heads— they were always busy running away from zombies or having needless small talk.
All the actions the characters took seemed to be a very expected course of action one would take in that specific scenario, which isn't that bad on its own, because we rarely had the urge to scream at our phones because of the dumb things characters would do, but this made the series feel so dragging because there weren't really any surprises apart from a random group of zombies spotting a character/s then, again, chasing them.
There weren't any standout personalities that would really challenge the dynamics of each group of people, which made each person feel like a token characters put in just to diversify these glorified extras characters that were meant to either die or serve as a mini dose of dopamine when they finally reunite with their family.
In the end, Black Summer at best is The Running Dead minus all the melodrama and monologues. You can enjoy it if you stop asking questions and enjoy the damn series like regular, less pretentious people, but we can't. Black Summer isn't what we're looking for... so we're just going to wait for the second season of Kingdom, instead.