Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Television – Fear the Walking Dead

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


  1. Too slow for me. Best thing Walking Dead did was start with the world already turned around. And here's one to grow on - I don't think a Zombie Apocalypse would ever happen. I'm not saying we are the fastest moving group, but it wouldn't take too long - especially with video recordings of the dead coming back and biting paramedics - to figure out the kill shot (actually said by a teenager watching a posted video in the premiere) and then the problem is contained.

    The Walking Dead never addresses the problem of how things got out of hand - it didn't have to.

    So there.

  2. "Um, yeah" is the only thing I have to add to that. I may not fully buy into the conceit, but it's fun watching the results. The only character I really like in "Fear" is the stepdad. Not that the other characters are unlikable (except the trannie), they're just boring. Give me someone with intelligence, authority and a desire to fix stuff! Not these whiny head-scratchers. Hopefully the next episode will be better.