Zoo S01E01: "First Blood" "Am I gonna get bit?" The words echoed through my head as I stared at a dog that was pissed off at me this one time. The latest show in CBS' summersploitation genre, Zoo actually resonates on a deeply personal level because I used to work as a dog-walker for the good people of Los Angeles. If I wanted my $9.50, I would have to sometimes get bit. That was the deal. No chomps, no cheese. So watching Zoo wasn't all that surprising to this writer, as I had more or less already lived it. Adapted from our generation's Charles Dickens, this James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge export begs the question "What would happen if one day animals got sick of humans and decided to bite us all to death?" The answer went something like this… But let's back up a bit to the peaceful days before the beginning of the end. Our guide through the animal apocolapyse was none other than James Wolk embodying the character of "Jackson Oz." He was a human male who cared for the animals like a real good dude. See? Chill. But sadly, this would be last of Oz's stubbled hunk grin we would see for a while, as just around the corner hiding in the brush of fate were some vengeful lions. For now though, Jackson ran a safari company with his best friend Abraham who you might recognize as the guy that tried to trick Daenerys in Game of Thrones but instead ended up locked in a vault. Here he spent his days getting his lazy bones business partner to go on safari. Jackson's life in Botswana might seem pretty good, but he lived everyday in the shadow of his crazy father with crackpot theories about impending animal uprisings that may or may not play into the theme of this show. The reason I liked Oz was because he protected wildlife in caddish ways. Like when some poachers showed up he and Abraham exchanged glances and then set into motion a scheme to play a radio that spooked the animals away from man's deadly grasp. The poacher dude was so mad because he paid $200,000 to kill some animals and couldn't. Note: if you got $200 large to play around with, you should spend it helping the planet and not murdering it. The good thing was that the poacher totally accepted this denial and was willing to let it go and not hold a grudge that could play out in bad ways for Oz later on in the episode. Phew! Next: When animals attack… Los Angeles! (Continued from Page 1) Now off to a city that's a jungle in its own right except for the part where there are wild animals… There are however, party animals, like these two chill bros who both went looking for spots to piss in an alleyway and talk about relationship drama. Ha ha, no one does this! Our first confirmed kill! Got to say I was rooting for the lions on this one. I'm sure the world lost some wonderful advertising bankers/excellent quoters of Family Guy or what have you, but anyone who pisses in an alleyway deserves to be bitten to death by lions. Anyhoo, we're informed that these very same lions escaped from the City of Angels Zoo after killing their trainer. Off this scoop we landed in the hustle and bustle of the LA Telegraph, competitor to The Los Angeles Times, where ace reporter Jamie Campbell was chasing down scoops about suspicious animal food the zoo switched to. Unfortunately, this lady yelled at Jamie for those very same scoops as presented in Jamie's personal blog, which were highly critical of the company that owns their newspaper. Ha ha ha, so Jamie stood accused of running a blog under the pseudonym "The Girl with the Genie Tattoo," in which she blew whistles on Reiden Global, the same biotechnology company that sold cheap weird food to zoos AND happened to be owned by JDG International, which owns the LA Telegraph. Got that? Meanwhile back in the airspace above Botswana, Oz and Abraham had a nice heart-to-heart worthy of ABC's The Bachelor. Like any good one-on-one, they chatted about what life path would be best for Abraham's son Daniel, which naturally veered into Oz moping about his crazy dead father. The two traveled to Misisimko Safari Camp in order to deliver some radio parts to Abe's cousin Simon, but oddly enough no one was in the camp. Luckily, Oz found a clue in the form of a camera. Naturally, Oz and Abe were concerned because not only was everyone gone, there was lion dung in the area. I guess lions don't crap just anywhere. Surely something was UP. Next: Surprise! More animals attacking! (Continued from Page 2) Meanwhile the identity of the Girl with the Genie Tattoo was revealed: Turned out Jamie has a history of poking her nose where it didn't belong, and also a history of sleeping with coworker Dan from Veep. He hated her hunches almost more than her scoops. Having been fired from her job, Jamie had the day off, and her nose for news just couldn't help but sniff out another hunch in the form of Director of LA City Parks and Recreation Lawrence Fremer. He was sure to have a comment on the bad-food being sold to half the zoos in the country by Reiden, so she followed the hunch all the way to his backyard bbq like Mickey Mouse being beckoned by cartoon pie scent fingers. Then it was off to Brentwood, home of OJ Simpson and other notable monsters! But something wasn't right in the land of wealthy psychos, as subtly demonstrated by all the "Missing Cat" posters blanketing the neighborhood. There were primary-colored balloons which made me assume the Fremers were celebrating a child's birthday party, but for some reason Jamie told Fremer it was bad taste for him to have a party one day after some lion attacks. I don't know I think that's all the more reason to have a party. Anytime I celebrate it's usually at least in part because I have not been bitten to death yet. C'est la vie! Jamie yelled at him about Reiden being bad and instead Fremer suggested she focus her "dogged journalistic efforts" on discovering who had been abducting all the cats in the neighborhood. Then Jamie asked "Who would steal cats" and Fremer responded "I have no idea but when you find him let me know because I want to smash his face in." See, Brentwood is full of psychos! There was beginning to be too much crazy on this side of the planet, so then it was back to Africa where Abe and Oz chanced upon one of Abe's cousin's empty vehicles. Then Oz got attacked by a French Witch. You guessed it, a French Witch scrambled up to Oz and started cursing him in her native tongue. I was just thankful she didn't catch a rifle butt to the dome, given the heightened mood. Eventually she calmed her gibbering down to English and warned Oz that they needed to get the heck out of there. In that same moment, a lion devoured Abe. Oz and the French Witch scrambled to safety and reached the jeep just in the nick of time. Once the two had made a safe getaway, Oz forced the French Witch to down some Kentucky Bourbon which she did with gusto. I wonder what I would do in this situation, if I would want to distant myself from my senses or stay sober and sharp for the next assault. Either way it definitely loosened up the French Witch's tongue (whose name was Chloe) because when Oz asked her what happened she gave a way too detailed account of her own recent lion attack. Chloe then posited my favorite question of the episode and probably the TV season: Suffice to say things were not going well in Botswana. Next: Lions with their brains scooped out, seriously. (Continued from Page 3) Thankfully, half-way across the globe it was business as usual at the City of Angels Zoo where Jamie went to have some snoops and demand answers from Bella's dad during work hours. Jamie's main line of questioning concerned the mystery as to why these lions had killed their trainer and the men downtown. Naturally Bella's dad ("Mitch") showed her some dead lions and prattled on about science and biology and the call of the wild. Mitch was not what you'd call a people person, as Jamie correctly sussed out. In fact, he preferred animals, pizza, beer, torrential rain storms, and traffic to people (not jokes, actual dialogue). Who doesn't love a crotchety scientist? Despite his hatred of humanity, Mitch seemed to take a shine to Jamie and her theories about Reiden global's pesticide food and how more people die from hot dogs than lion attacks. Could this be why the animals were mad? Apparently the wildlife of Botswana did not get this hot dog memo as evidenced by Oz and Chloe still fleeing for their lives while partaking in some expository chit chat. Things were going about as good as they could go for this sort of post-massacre situation right up until Mr. Broken Radiator reared his ugly head. You see in the lion tussle, one of the lions had scratched apart the car parts, and AAA doesn't cover this sort of thing, leaving the two left to make their way on foot to a camp with a radio like two walking shish kebabs. I hate to have to be the one to say it, but the animal apocalypse does NOT seem like a fun time for anyone. It was here that Oz recalled his dad's rambling about "defiant pupils" and started to think that maybe his old man wasn't so crazy after all. Lions, being lions, couldn't give a care about human epiphanies and one of them took a swipe Oz. Finally the two chanced upon some good luck though, as Chloe and Oz arrived at at the safari camp from before where Oz got to divulge more on his father's theories. His dad was tragically driven mad by his inability to back up his zoological theories about why predators with the ability to rise up didn't. Like any lunatic, Papa Oz videotaped his manifestos and the tapes were back at the camp. Could these hold the key to defeating the animals? And so as the sun set on another vibrant Botswana day, so to did the star of Phoebes descend upon the Los Angeles news cycle. Jamie cleaned out her desk while Ethan tried winning her back with promises of trips to Ojai and the chance to work once more for LA Telegraph, on the condition she shut down her blog. Instead she chose self-respect and went looking for stray cats with a stranger. Even more terrifying was the reveal that the very elementary school where this tree lived was to play host to a summer day camp that. STARTS. TOMORROW. So not only are animals uprising, I guess they can also read calendars? Or just maybe a happy coincidence. To make matters even worse, the only other guy in the planet who suspected something was up (Jackson Oz) had his own problem pile grow a few inches when after offering some refreshing nighttime coffee to Chloe, the Botswani police arrested him for that little poaching-stopping stunt he pulled early on. And so the humans sealed their fate. So there you have it folks. Round 1 definitely went to the beasts of the world. And what of Zoo? It's a fun, strong, summery start to what looks to be a show just dumb enough to keep the dial untouched (the conceptual dial that is). Here's hoping we see some more animal attacks because come on that's what we signed on for, right? Okay, bye going to go mean mug the anteaters at my local zoo. ANIMAL TRACKS – Is Zoo a chilling vision of things to come, or just animal slander? – Do you agree with PETA about this show? – Are you rooting for the humans or the animals? – Who was your favorite character, human or otherwise? – Did this show make you side-eye your dog/cat? – What animal attack do you wish to see most? – What animal would you want to be eaten by the most?