Putting The Walking Dead into any product name pretty much guarantees that it becomes a top seller in its category. Be it comics, TV shows, or video games, it’s a wealthy franchise. Congratulations Robert Kirkman.
So let’s take a look at the latest incarnation, Fear The Walking Dead. I’m honestly surprised it took AMC this long to create a spin-off, considering the success of the main show.
Fear the Walking Dead is a prequel series, which presents some challenges. The one that stuck with me is, how they thought they could tell the story of the beginning of the zombie apocalypse without actually showing zombies?
At least, that appears to be what Fear the Walking Dead was trying to do. I didn’t count them, but I’m quite sure that on the first five episodes (out of six) we didn’t get to see more than ten zombies.
As you can probably tell, I didn’t like the show. I didn’t like it at all, but I stuck with it and watched all the episodes. Honestly, it felt like an achievement to me.
Let start with the casting. I like to think that in zombie stories, one of the biggest draws is the fear of losing favorite characters characters as the story goes. Sometimes these are characters you loved from the start, others you learned to like as their stories are told, and some just have terrific actors.
In Fear the Walking Dead, I just didn’t care who was going to die. To be honest I wanted a lot more of them to be gone forever. They just didn’t bring any emotion. The casting is average at best, and the actors aren’t being helped at all by the writers. It seems like their only way of moving the plot forward was to have the characters make a series of strange and incomprehensible decisions. And, even when the military shows up, they only make it worst.
As I alluded above, the story itself really isn’t that great. It’s not terrible; it’s simply not engaging. We’re supposed to watch the civilization collapsing, the authorities failing, and zombies invading Los Angeles. That’s exciting stuff. The problem is, we didn’t see any of it. As soon as we learn that zombies are becoming a reality (at least for some people) and our “heroes” are ready to leave town, the army arrives. The next time we see them we’ve jumped ahead more than a week, and they have already built safe zones through the city. I guess the fight against the zombies, the exodus from LA, and the struggle for survival was just too big of a project. If only AMC had invested in this show like they had The Walking Dead.
Nothing really works on the story because you can’t understand the choices of the characters. Watching it. I couldn’t put myself in their shoes because I can’t imagine myself being dumb enough to put myself into the same dumb situations our characters find themselves in. That makes watching the show and identifying with the characters extremely difficult.
I’ll conclude by doing something I didn’t want to do with the review: comparing Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead. Fear The Walking Dead isn’t even half the show The Walking Dead is. It is slow and boring, full of incomprehensible choices and below-average acting. The only character I found even remotely interesting was Strand, who is probably responsible for my finishing out the season instead of giving up like I wanted to.
But hey, The Walking Dead is in the title, so why not give it a try? After all, after the next season of The Walking Dead ends, I’ll probably end up watching the second one of Fear The Walking Dead. I need my fix of zombies, and the optimist in me can’t stop thinking that the next episode might just turn the whole season around.