So Close, Yet So Far
Not Fade Away
The Good Man
A lot of anticipation was built up for Fear The Walking Dead; the promises of showing us the world before the inevitable collapse at the hands of the zombie apocalypse was exciting and intriguing. Set years before The Walking Dead, the show disappointingly brushes past the “during” phase of the apocalypse and devolves into a lite version of the show the spin-off originates from. There’s certainly potential here but its squandered by the incessant need to pull the trigger too soon on the zombie apocalypse when a more subtle, slow build would have been better choice for the show.
The story opens with a teenager awakening in a dark church. Slivers of light pierce the dingy darkness and somewhere in the distance the low, guttural groan of something sinister lurks. Rather than running, plucky teenager Nick (Frank Dillane) decides to investigate only to find to his horror that the dead have awakened and they’re currently feasting on a dead body. Shocked, Nick runs away, bursting through the doors of the church before being struck hit by a car in busy downtown San Francisco. Fear The Walking Dead’s opening is fast paced, quick and wastes no time in introducing the zombies.
Following Nick’s highly dysfunctional family, most of Fear The Walking Dead sees this group band together and struggle to come to grips with the downfall of humanity at the hands of the zombie apocalypse. They meet other characters along the way but the journey is rife with illogical character actions and poor dialogue throughout. Whilst watching, its hard not to shake the niggling feeling that this is a poor man’s Walking Dead for vast periods of its lacklustre 6 episode season. Despite a decent finale and some slick camera work throughout, it’s ultimately the script and the speed at which the apocalypse takes over that’s the most disappointing part of Fear The Walking Dead’s first season.
Excusing the illogical choices and rationale of a lot of the characters, it takes less than 3 episodes before humanity is over-run by zombies. The opening couple of episodes manage to hold back from unleashing hell on the world with a few minor skirmishes and some exciting snippets of news that show the police firing helplessly at one zombie. Its short-lived though and in the blink of an eye, humanity succumbs to the wrath of the zombies. It’s up to our group to try to survive but the characters never quite reach the same charismatic levels as those from The Walking Dead.
With a second season green-lit, there’s certainly potential here for a decent zombie apocalypse thriller but the incessant need to mimic The Walking Dead makes Fear a disappointing entry in the franchise. The characters are poorly written and complete with some questionable motives and lacklustre dialogue, Fear The Walking Dead simply feels like a poor man’s Walking Dead. In fairness, the show does become more endearing toward its climactic ending but Fear The Walking Dead feels like a missed opportunity, making it a bitter pill to swallow given the hype around this show before its release.