Always an intriguing way to start a story and, in "Zoo," it's even more so because it involves a revolt against humanity by the animal kingdom.
Based on a James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge novel, "Zoo" features a small band of experts trying to understand what seem to be accelerated mutations in animals - including birds and reptiles. This mutation is giving the animals some really interesting powers: Lions that can communicate over long distances, for example, and bears that are developing exoskeletons akin to body armor.
The experts are also pitted against a giant multinational corporation that may have caused the problem by contaminating pesticides and food products with unsafe chemicals. There is a nice twist in the narrative regarding the corporation.
The experts, meanwhile, are a quirky bunch: A cynical veterinary pathologist (played brilliantly by Billy Burke), a safari guide with a dark past, a journalist with a grudge against the multinational, an animal behaviorist (who is the son of a disgraced scientist), and a French intelligence services agent who runs the team. Throughout this first season they have been searching for a way to reverse - or at least slow down - the mutations while encountering problems along the way from the multinational, the FBI, skeptical scientists, African bandits, and the animals themselves.
The special effects are top grade and the scripts, while a little preachy in some instances, hold together well. The narrative wanders now and then, but not so much that it loses viewers, and the direction is sure-handed. Character development is handled well: The back stories of the experts are handled with dialogue that is nicely worked into the team's adventures, for example. The first season ends with a cliff hanger - something that has become an all-too-common staple of network television in my opinion. No plot spoilers here but I will say that the first season's ending episode was pretty predictable. That aside, there is plenty of action in each episode and some nice turns by the cast, which made watching the series enjoyable.
All things considered, I give it 4.5 stars.