FEAR THE WALKING DEAD offered a lot of promise. Most zombie movies show what it’s like after the end of the world. I’m always curious about what happens during the apocalypse–how the normal suddenly shifts into a nightmarish new normal. It’s why I liked WWZ even though it was bankrupt of character development and had the emotional impact of a block of wood. The zombie set pieces in that film were incredible. FEAR THE WALKING DEAD takes on that territory–what happens when everything goes to shit.
In the pilot episode, we’re introduced to a somewhat dysfunctional family consisting of two teachers living together, each with their own families. Most of the episode revolves around establishing the characters and their lives, letting us see the normal. A good deal of the plot in the pilot episode centers on a son (played by an actor who is likable but seems to be channeling Johnny Depp sometimes) who’s an addict and witnesses a fellow addict turn into a zombie. By the end of the episode, it’s clear something horrible is going on, but nobody really understands it.
So far, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD isn’t living up to its promise, but rather doubling down on it. The apocalypse is coming.
I enjoyed the episode but had a hard time connecting with it the way I did with its cousin show THE WALKING DEAD. I appreciated the slow burn with the show spending time developing the characters, which was a necessary step to establish stakes. I’m happy to wait for action. But it felt more TV than THE WALKING DEAD does, if that makes sense. It had the right things in the right places, but aside from a few scenes that popped, it lacked heart. A lot of the dialog and situations felt contrived or wooden to me.
Not saying the show sucks, but so far, I give is a B or B-. I am very curious about where it’s going to go next once the world starts to crash down around everybody’s ears.