In the same way Star Trek became a (manufactured) phenomenon the monstrously unoriginal but very safe Walking Dead has attracted fan addiction and kudos.
And in the same way Lost in Space is always considered the retarded camp cousin of Star Trek, Z Nation is the same backwoods retard version of the Walkng Dead, supposedly.
Having watched all of both, I actually prefer Z Nation to be honest. It has a quicker pace, the characters don’t do the same illogical and willfully stupid crap all the time and there aren’t the same number of “special” episodes to let a medium talent actor have his or her moment. It also has a much more interesting world.
Most of the weaknesses are inherited from the Walking Dead comic book, which like most comic books was incredibly derivative in the first place. Z Nation is just rattling along on its own vector, a little like the way Stargate on TV had to make its own road.
Perhaps another example is the Buffy versus Charmed experience. At the height of its mass appeal, each week Buffy would end and people would jones for a fix until next week– leading to Charmed changing its premise and content enough to cater to the Buffy audience. Z Nation helps Walking Dead fans scratch their itch, but it can find its own destiny.
I like Walking Dead too, but don’t suck its dick- it isn’t all that and neither is the 99% other people’s content comic it comes from.