What's more surprising? That a new 13-episode zombie drama has been announced for the SyFy Channel? Or that it took a competing network to AMC's ratings monster "The Walking Dead" this long to come up with something similar? 

The fourth season of creator Robert Kirkman's undead drama just wrapped its fourth season - drawing a record 15.7 million viewers with the finale and snagging the highly coveted number one slot in the 18-49 demographic. Finally, it appears that someone else wants a piece of the action - as The Hollywood Reporter is revealing that SyFy has ordered "Z Nation" from The Asylum (the same production group behind "Sharknado") that "depicts the epic struggle to save humanity after a zombie apocalypse."

"Z Nation will take viewers where no zombie has gone before,” Syfy senior vp programming Chris Regina said in a statement. "[The show adds] a sense of hope to the horror of the apocalypse -- our everyday heroes take the fight to the zombies. It’ll be an epic journey unlike anything you've seen before."

As someone who has felt the weight of depression that "The Walking Dead" dishes out week after week, perhaps something offering a light at the end of the undead tunnel would be refreshing. Also encouraging is SyFy's recent desire to pursue more "adult storytelling" - something that could really turn "Z Nation" into a hit for the network. 

"Instead of existential despair, the series offers hope that somehow, some way, humanity will not only survive, but triumph," comments Chris Regina, Senior Vice President, Programming, Syfy. "In producing their first ever weekly series, our long-time partners The Asylum have created a different way of telling an iconic story."

According to the plot synopsis, "Z Nation" takes place three years since the zombie virus has gutted the country.

"A team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Although the antibodies he carries are the world's last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all. With humankind's survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of rusted-out post-apocalyptic America."

Look for "Z Nation" to appear this fall. 

Related on MNN: 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

New post-apocalyptic zombie drama headed to SyFy Channel
'Z Nation' described as offering a 'sense of hope' to the oft-depressing zombie genre.