Fear the Walking Dead – A Review

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Last Sunday was the premiere of both a spinoff and a prequel.The dichotomy of that intrigues me. It is both the past and the future, and of course, remains in the present.

Fear the Walking Dead comes from the creators of The Walking Dead, even taking its time slot until its return, Sunday nights at 9pm on AMC.

Fear the Walking Dead takes place in Los Angeles, California, right at the outbreak, the ramifications.of which we’ve been watching for the last five seasons. LA has never heard of the walkers and think what they are witnessing is a flu outbreak.

SPOILERS FOR FIRST EPISODE

The series opens with an unconscious drug addict (Nick) in an abandoned church turned drug den. Like him, we don’t know if what we’re witnessing is his drug induced hallucination or is his girlfriend really eating another person? He is so frantic and put off by the scene that he runs into traffic and is hit by a car.

At the hospital, we meet his blended family – Mom, her boyfriend, who both work for the local high school.  The boyfriend has just moved in with them and Nick’s sister. On the phone, we meet the boyfriend’s ex-wife and son. She’s in nursing school and his son has some issues with the custody arrangement.

This first episode gives us a good introduction to the families and the family dynamics, many of which we in the audience are familiar with. There’s a lot of the characters seemingly disinterested in what’s going on around them until witnessing a police stand off, both in person and in the viral online world. They’re still convinced this is the world as usual. Kind of sad, actually.

Part of meeting the characters is getting invested in their stories; their lives. I think this first look did a good job of that. We’re guessing who will and won’t make it through the next episode.

For those of us who’ve watched The Walking Dead, we already know what’s going on. I found it a little hard not to yell at them, how do you not know it’s zombies?! But of course, in their world this is all new and not some television show. It’s not entertainment.

The first episode is always a meet and greet, a getting to know the new characters. We watch how everyone gets along or doesn’t get along. We see the world they live in, how much it is alike or different from the ones we live in. We watch the mistakes the parents make with their kids, the rebellion of teenagers with the power they have, the subtle hints the writers have included, the sadness of watching Nick not learn a lesson and then their surprise and not quite acceptance that something isn’t quite right here.

We’re not in Kansas anymore.

From this first episode, I will continue watching. I’m excited to see how The Walking Dead came to be, and how the first ones got through it or lost their race. Who will make it through the season? I’m looking forward to watching their story play out.

Highly recommended.

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