Fear the Walking Dead

When the first set of early reviews for Fear the Walking Dead, AMC’s prequel spinoff series to the zombie juggernaut known as The Walking Dead, ended up in my inbox and Facebook timeline, a sheer coat of apprehension took hold initially. I worried that the fans and those who have wanted the show to fail since its announcement were going to nitpick it to death, leaving not even a drop of blood on its corpse when the feast was over. Luckily critical reviews never had much weight on the deciding factor on whether I’m going to devote time and eyeballs to a particular program. I thoroughly enjoyed Fear the Walking Dead despite a few issues (fan nitpicks) that can easily be smoothed over in the next few episodes. That is if your patience is akin to a farmer waiting to see a seed come into bountiful fruition.

It’s funny that a lot of the complaints during the pilot were concerning the show being too slow and not doling out a fair amount of scares. While those are valid points of concern, the sense of constant dread (for me) was prevalent given that the audience knows what’s about to happen and that everyone is not going to make it out alive. Especially given the actions and attitudes of some of the characters from gate. That scares me more than a run of the mill “walker” attack. But you have to care for those characters first, and while some of the new breed (meal bags) of series regulars have already ground my gears by the end of their first piece of dialogue, I can see myself becoming attached to them later on down the line. Kim Dickens will be a powerhouse force to reckon with once all hell breaks loose. Her Madison Clark is what Lori Grimes wish she could have aspired to become a semblance of. I wish I could say the same for Cliff Curtis’s Travis Manawa, whose classroom monologue was eerily prophetic, but while he’s no Rick Grimes, I don’t want another Rick Grimes The entire scene of him entering the dead church alone was very stupid and ill-advised. However, in the state of the current situation, this is where the heavy blanket of dread comes in. It was interwoven throughout the pilot in the most subtle moments, especially with the fact that people die nonviolent deaths every day, meaning that the constant back shots of the Los Angeles skyline served as more than background fodder. It is a menacing threat waiting to go to hell at any moment. Locked apartments are probably brimming fresh walkers who the neighbors didn’t bother to check on, waiting for some unsuspecting scavenger to look for a place to stay or loot.

FDW Main Cast

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

And speaking of ‘unsuspecting,’ that particular tone works for Fear the Walking Dead rather than it’s predecessor. There are a ton of mistakes already on the docket for this blatantly dysfunctional family to make, which is where I also think the drama will take its cues from. In The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes came across a mixed bag of people, fellow survivors who were remnants of various backgrounds and homes and learned to become a family unit. In Fear the Walking Dead, the opposite case is present where you have a fractured family, who will have to learn how to survive while not becoming total strangers to each other, which will be hard since they already are total strangers to one another. Seeing this family deteriorate before our very eyes (whether it be by gruesome deaths or life-altering decisions) will provide enough dramatic tension and horror that will stand on its own two feet in the California sun, and not in its predecessor’s woodsy shadow.

In other words, I’m here for Fear the Walking Dead.