The curse of the Walking Dead is so strong that it has forced AMC into making a whole new TV show to try and contain the outburst. I’m not sure you can call Fear the Walking Dead a spin off as it contains none of the characters from the original series, well that is unless one of the walkers has made an appearance on both…
It is always difficult for a show to take the idea of another show and make itself standout, and it is something that Fear the Walking Dead definitely struggled with. The writers decided that Fear the Walking Dead would deal more with the outbreak of the infection, rather than tackling it head on, which makes sense when one of the few areas never tackled by the original show is the initial outbreak.
There were only six episodes in this first season of Fear, and despite that the pacing felt all over the place. It took forever to get going, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth episode that the show really felt like it started to be going anywhere, sadly by the time that it was finally up and running it was already over with.
I would say that generally the tone and pacing of Fear was more similar to the original season of the Walking Dead (which if you go back and watch, it is handled totally differently to the seasons which followed), which is a good thing, however with season 2 containing 15 episodes, I can’t help but think that this will move away from the methodical pace and tone.
One of the biggest issues that a spin off style show has is that the people in it need to discover what the audience already know, walkers be bad yo. So naturally it is frustrating seeing them pussyfooting around, trying to converse with the walkers whilst they try to eat their face. The thing is that it is easy to forget that if you didn’t know what the fuck was going on, you wouldn’t just go about bashing people’s heads in with fire extinguishers, you certainly wouldn’t do it to people you actually knew, just in case you ended up killing someone who only needed a round of strong anti biotics.
Fear the Walking Dead (terrible name for a show by the way) went against the grain and set the TV show in Los Angeles of all places! Yes LA, that never used setting… It’s a shame that we never got any ghetto walkers and I have to say that for me that would have been a more interesting setting than some middle class family.
Spoilers from this point on.
Speaking of the family, they weren’t great… Madison was fine if a bit samey (she did jump to torture pretty quickly though…), Travis was ok too, Ofelia was just sort of there and Liza wasn’t really meant to be liked that much. That really isn’t a great start when you then consider that Alicia and Christopher were terribly written characters, who very much managed to fall into the age old habit of annoying teens on TV.
This was only made all the worse by Nick, a druggie character who had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Genuinely you are supposed to like characters, even those who are broken, however how can you like a guy like Nick, who steals morphine from a man in pain or treats everyone around him like shit so he can get his fix? You can’t, and they have a long way to go if they are to fix the character, they’ll have to drop the drug shit if they want people to like him going forward.
The one good thing about Nick was that he was used to introduce us to Mr Strand, a sophisticated and well-dressed black man. His voice is like caramel; he owns a boat and is generally an awesome seeming guy, a character who I can’t wait to see more of in season 2.
The other standout character in this first season of Fear was Daniel, our local torturing barber from El Salvador. The great thing about Daniel is that he does crazy shit, has a shrouded past and can give everyone a nice haircut, all things which make for multi-dimensional and useful characters in a zombie apocalypse. It’s hard to not sit back and think what a crazy motherfucker he is when he casually walks along with thousands of the undead following in his tracks, no fucks given.
I always find it odd when the world goes to hell that those who are in the armed forces always seem to become corrupt in a very short amount of time. It’s almost as if people in the arts don’t think highly of those who are there to protect them. Fear was no different, at first the army came in and were saving people and doing a stand-up job, however as time progressed (and not very much at that) the army seemed more interested in stealing lawn chairs and killing innocent uninfected people than protecting people.
I’m not quite sure what I think is worse, the fact that the army just left the gated communities they had set up or the fact that our gang of heroes when leaving the gated community, told absolutely nobody of the situation and then left the fucking gate open. Actually what our gang did was much worse, especially when you consider that they knew these people and essentially left them to die.
It is hard to then not question letting thousands of walkers out to distract the army camp just to save your druggie son and two women who were there out of choice. I get that when you are desperate you sometimes do silly things, however this was beyond silly, to the extent that they essentially murdered a bunch of innocent army folk, ill patients and probably fucked anyone who was still alive in the surrounding area.
The problem with all of this is that our gang went from not liking guns and trying to not kill anyone at any cost, to letting people die through not doing anything, letting people die indirectly by abandoning them and leaving them vulnerable and worse than that letting people die through their direct actions of letting a bunch of crazy undead people out and leading them towards their base. That’s zero to psychotic in a matter of hours, maybe they were all stressed.
Fear the Walking Dead struggled to get out of the shadow that its mighty sister show has cast, the characters aren’t that likable and they sort of fell into typical zombie movie tropes, however by the end of the season it felt like the show had more to give, which is a strong positive going forward. Hopefully in season two Fear will be able to continue with its different tone and pacing, because there would be nothing worse for it than to just become the Walking Dead 2.0, it needs to separate itself and show that it is a different show which can go anywhere as it is not linked to a source material.
I didn’t think this first season of Fear the Walking Dead was anything to get excited about, however they introduced an interesting character and the last episode was probably the best of the season, so I’m quietly optimistic for the upcoming season 2. There is no doubting that Fear has potential, however will they be able to seize that potential and give us something which is different enough to make people keep coming back for more? I guess we will find out pretty soon.
So what did you think of Fear the Walking Dead season 1? Are you wondering why Nick kept wearing that old man’s clothes? Do you wish you were friends with Mr Strand? Is Tobias still at home eating his industrial sized tins of tomatoes? Why can the west coast walkers take more shots to the head? Well leave a comment and share those thoughts.