It’s impossible to judge a potential new series on the pilot episode. That said, let’s take a look at the pilot of AMC’s The Walking Dead companion show, Fear the Walking Dead.
Overall, this first 90-minute story, introducing the viewers to the characters and the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, lacked a lot of oomph. It was a slow burn—too slow. The screenplay was co-written by Robert Kirkman, the mad comic book writer behind the Dead phenomenon. Kirkman has always been better at plot than dialog, but both suffer here.
The story opens on a pre-op transsexual waking up in what looks like a church in Beirut. He has on an odd fright wig and woman’s blouse. He turns out to be a drug addict who witnesses L.A.’s first zombie. He spends the rest of the show crying, whining and making that guy from Glee look manly.
I love teachers, but the main stars play an English teacher and a guidance counselor, two of the most boring people in the history of television. They just moved in together, big deal! We don’t know them and nothing about this screenplay makes us care. The Walking Dead pilot began in media res, and it added a creepy vibe to the entire show as we discover the end of the world with cop Rick Grimes. For the sake of more action and/or excitement, wouldn’t it make sense to feature main characters who have reason to be in the thick of things? What about showing the viewpoint of a doctor or EMT? Or even a politician trying to keep things together? Or even a reporter? Instead, we get endless scenes of teachers and kids going to class, going to gym, hanging out after class. That’s kind of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ... sorry, dropped off for a second. I admit it was funny to see Barack Obama play the principal of the teachers’ school.
The original show pilot was exciting, spooky and dangerous. You never knew what was going to happen or what would pop out from around a corner. And eat you. Fear the Walking Dead was outright boring. Just talking heads doing their endless talky talk with very little action or interesting drama. The levy scene was an exception, but this show is already performing under expectations. The next few episodes had better turn up the heat or there will be no way to catch up to the deserved success of the original. It’s not awful, but it’s certainly not great.
Rating: *** out of 5 stars