Fear the Walking Dead Season One Review

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

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.

Fear the Walking Dead

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.

Fear the Walking Dead

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.

Grade:
1 zombie head out of 5

17 Comments

Dave

Thanks for the review! I’ll probably watch the show when it hits Netflix, but it doesn’t sound like I’m really missing out here.

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pi3rk

As a brick comic writer this show is a true goldmine! I’d suggest you to take a look at it just to understand how much it’s important for any audience or reader to care about a story or its characters.

TWD and FTWD are so different on this aspect of a show, it’s so amazing… The same directors (I don’t know about the writers though), both show with great budget, same background, yet one is good with its characters and the other sucks. This was a true revelation!

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Dave

I have to imagine a lot of it comes down to the writers and actors. If they writers aren’t coming up with good characters, that puts all the onus on the actors portraying them. If the actors can’t pull that off, the show fails.

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Deb

Like you I only kept going as I felt I had to not because I wanted to. It was so so boring and stupid and I didn’t care about anyone 🙁

…and as it’s been inked up for a second season I’ll have to put myself through it all again!

So disappointing on all counts

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pi3rk

I have to admit I was happy it was only 6 episodes LOL. I hope they don’t plan to do more than 6 next season… Fingers crossed

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Foolish Lego

Haha. I saw you wrote the review Pi3rk and knowing how you always find the positive side of things I was looking for the positive side of this series. BUT… all you did was confirm my own feelings about the series.

Especially the NON-likability of all the characters, I was hoping for some of them to go down…. and the stupid decisions they made… well… I just don’t care.
I myself didn’t mind a much that we didn’t see so many zombies but I do find it an absolute shame that we didn’t see the development of the downfall of society. That was really what I was hoping for.

I’m going to try to watch season two; but something… no, a lot has to change!

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pi3rk

I found myself overwhelmed with negativity here LOL… The “time jump” of 1 week at the beginning of the downfall was a disgrace. Just like we wait for 2 or 3 episodes and… No sorry guys you won’t see it!

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Steam Powered Spam

I hope it isnt too late to comment on FTWD 😀

My biggest problem is too the characters. I was rather hoping for most to meet their end too.

The reason being, they were all to one degree or another clisha amoral dirt bags.

The few times they actually try to help somone other than themselves the other person doesnt let them get two words in due to their constant bickering. So many problems would have been solved by saying, “Zombies are real and coming to eat you.”

I also agree with dave about their decisions. POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNING AHEAD!
My biggest annoyance is how they heartlessly go out of their way to never warn anyone and save only themselves time and time again and may have even inadvertanly murdered an entire town.

Under the justification of “They didnt help us when my mother was taken.” They leave the gates to their walled city wide open…with out warning anyone…shortly before unleashing a horde of zombies trapped else where in the town.

When considering the number of innocents who wake up to find zombies roaming through their home the next morning, their justification becomes…weak…at best.

Points to them for effectively killing off characters off screen though…

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Pi3rK

I myself haven’t been able to figure all their choices out LOL. None actually make sense… Even if the writers wanted to show how selfish people can be, I don’t think this will happen like they showed it.

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Wacky

I think you nailed it perfectly with this review; “Fear the Walking Dead” didn’t make me care about the characters, nor did it give a realistic example of society crashing down.

Again with your example of the army coming in, the show did what so many tropes did before it: something bad happens and everyone spontaneously becomes an &$@-hole. The army corp treats the people bad, there is no real hierarchy of how to handle things with citizens, and the soldiers just don’t care despite coming from a time where most army recruits actually care about their fellow citizens and country (you don’t join the army during a war if you don’t).

It left me wanting, and not carrying about any of the characters except maybe for the dad. I’ll give it the grace I gave the second season of “the Walking Dead” and watch once more just in case that was a bad go. But if season two was like season one, I’m done with it.

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pi3rk

Well I’m more intrigued by Strand (the guy in the suit). Could turn into a major disappointment, of course, but I think he is so far the only reason I kept watching the show.

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BrickThrone

“Putting The Walking Dead into any product name pretty much guarantees that it becomes a top seller in its category”…. I guess not. FotWD was an epic fail on all accounts from the DP to set design to Director and Editor. It was sad because this will be the time filler during WD’s time off. The time step off was amazingly bad, not even a title slate to let us know that much time had pasted and you had to watch Talking Dead to even know this. How could you go from rioting in the inner city to going for a jog in a fenced in “zone”. And really bad audio, lets not forget, no gunfire, choppers or screams off in the distance during their time at club med. Sad the only character I actually cared about, heavy-set teen, from earlier we will probably not see again. If the entire cast dies ion the next episode it might get interesting. Hell I liked ZNation first season more.

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pi3rk

So far TWD always meant success… and I agree 100% with you on the fact this won’t apply to FTWD, for all the reasons we spotted. I like the way you think about considering FTWD not more but like a time filler.

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pi3rk

Oh and I’m with you on the “time jumps”. Geez, Safe zones popping out in 1 week and we don’t know how all of this happened!! Seriously guys… that was your selling point!

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Darg

I, for one, won’t be coming back for Season 2. I have pretty high standards when it comes to zombie fiction, and if it’s not good, I don’t stay with it. I may make an exception if a bad zombie story makes me think about zombies in a new way, but FtWD doesn’t do that; it’s just a bad story with cliche zombie tropes like “Hey! Zombie appeared out of nowhere like a Random Encounter from an old NES RPG!” or “Zombies knock down obviously inadequate retaining fence,” or “Oh look, the hospital got overrun.”
Even the dickbag military is so by-the-numbers cliche that I knew exactly which soldier would say or do which Plot-Advancing-Thing and exactly when they would do it when the characters were introduced.
The whole thing just felt so “Been there, seen it done better,” that for several episodes I wished I was watching one of the other stories that had done it better. For a season that was only 6 episodes, that’s terrible and unforgivable.

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pi3rk

Good thing is… that it was only 6 episodes LOL. I think a lot of us will follow your advice on giving up on FtWD.

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