We are going to try something very different here at PopcultHQ with reviewing AMC’s new hit show “Fear The walking Dead” pilot episode. With so many of us being fans wanting to chomp at the bit (or just wanting to cannibalize on each other, I can’t tell just yet) to call dibs on reviewing FTWD. Along with having vastly different opinions. I felt as EIC that we should instead do a group review of the show and see what the readers decide is the best course of action of viewing or not viewing the show (honestly, you should just watch the show regardless and make your own darn opinions, haha!)
“The All Around Geek” – Manny
I think critics and non-critics are drinking too much of the criticism kool-aid a bit too hard when it comes to the pilot episode of Fear The Walking Dead. The new AMC spin-off show to the The Walking Dead which premiered this last Sunday has the biggest rating in cable television history. But the fan reaction seems to be the lowest in Walking Dead History and I simply do not understand it.
The main point of contention for fans was what they deem was the episode being too slow in pace and not enough zombies, In other words boring. The worst part fans can pick at is wardrobe and how much they don’t like the aspect of a drug addict being the focal point of the current storyline.
If this is what people have to complain about then I am glad to be as open-minded and big picture thinking as my track record has proven. I know how to pick hits well before the general public does and for me Fear the Walking Dead will be the biggest TV show, just below the bar of popularity that its parent show holds.
I personally love that the story first comes from a mixed and tension-filled family aspect. The Mom – Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), The “Perfect Daughter” Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey), The Step-Dad – Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis). I absolutely LOVED the fact the main character and first storyline revolves mostly around a drug addicted kid (Nick) who’s so lost and confused at being the first to witness the horrors of the zombie apocalypse to come. No one believes him and it just shows how society can make things worse by just assuming and not investigating with their own eyes. But that is what step-dad Travis does and that’s how every one gets tangled into what happens next as the outbreak begins. Frank Dillane (Nick) played the role flawlessly in my eyes.
If you want fast-paced story with loads of zombie killing, keep watching The Walking Dead or even if your thing is gore catch up on Z-Nation. If you want more of a classic horror aspect like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, where the horror is more left to your imagination to build the terror in your own mind with buildup, FTWD will be the show to watch trust me. I feel like today’s audiences (or just newer generations) need their horror spoon fed to them. I liked the slow buildup of the outbreak where it all starts in the seedy underbelly of the city. I loved how (of course) a viral video would be the start of widespread panic. It will be very interesting to see how the military decides is the best course of action for the public. As all hell begins to unfold I can see why FEAR is going to be the emphasis of this new spinoff. I LOVE IT!! Too bad it’s only six episodes for this first season till a full order of episodes is prepared for season two. There have been hints of Easter Eggs in FTWD and I swear I seen a doctor (balding with glasses) from The Walking Dead in Atlanta (when Beth died) was in this pilot episode of FTWD, but I have not confirmed that yet.
“The Brainy Librarian” – Amanda
First off, who decided on this guy’s wardrobe? It’s a woman’s cardigan? A sheer top? Either way, kid looks ridiculous.
The anticipation and expectation for the spin-off show “Fear the Walking Dead” has been high since AMC announced its creation. I’ve been reading reviews and the consensus is that the premiere was a bit of a flop.
That’s not to say that the rating weren’t there. Obviously, Walking Dead fans are taking interest in the series. ‘Fear’ has set a record for most-watched cable series premiere of 10.1 million viewers. So what happened?
Twitterverse is flooded with comments like, “Fear the Walking Dead’ is a zombie show without any zombies” and “Fear the Walking Dead is so boring.” And I felt the same when watching it. I remember watching Rick in the first episode of TWD and I was not quite so ambivalent as I am towards ‘Fear’ characters. It’s difficult to care for the character of ‘Fear.’ A drug addict, an angst-y teenager, a rough around the edges mother, and a step-dad who likes to play detective. I don’t care for a single one. Yet? A lot of the negative feedback I’m hearing was the same for The Walking Dead. I constantly heard that there “aren’t enough zombies” or the show “needs more action and less talking.” Not all the characters in Walking Dead are fan favorites. I expect this show to build and gain momentum in its story.
Greg Nicotero has said that there details in every episode that are like clues for the entire series. So when a viewer watches the first episode later, they say “Oh, now I get it.” Here’s hoping for that….
“The Comic Book Historian” – Christian
Sunday night we had one of the most anticipated new series debut. Fear the Walking Dead has been under development for just about a year now. Having first heard about a season or two ago during the parent series, The Walking Dead. Exactly what could one hope to achieve from a spin-off show about a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by zombies and cannibalistic humans? Well if you’re Robert Kirkman, you’d have another reason never to work again. If you’re one of his many fans and a viewer, you would have your answer to the start of the zombie apocalypse. I couldn’t help but feel let down by this first episode.
Fear the Walking Dead is set right as the outbreak begins. Setting the stage for The Walking Dead. Have no fear, there is no need to wonder where Rick Grimes is because we know where Rick is, he’s in a deep sleep during the events of this series.
We see a happening city, Los Angeles in the beginning of the episode. Planes in the sky, people going about their business. Having the series set on the West Coast offers us a chance to see how the other side of the country is handling the situation. We only know about that side of the country by default and we know about the rest of the world from what Doctor Jenner told our zombie killers during the first season final of The Walking Dead.
What we have in the beginning is a family who have a little dysfunctional about them; Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), Nick Clark (Frank Dillane). Nick is the middle child who bridges the gap between one man and his old marriage and his soon to be new one.
Much like The Walking Dead, we begin with a car accident as Nick is hit by a car. Nick is believed to be high at the time simply because he is a drug addict. He however saw one of the dead eating a corpse in a crack house which he woke up in. As he was running from the zombie, he was hit by a car. One can’t help but wonder if this was done on purpose to mirror the parent series opening.
We hear a lot about people getting sick and children not showing up for school. The first episode reminds one of how the Dawn of the Dead remake started. Showing us a world that is going to collapse. A young boy, Tobias (Lincoln A. Castellanos) knows more than most people. There is a plague spreading through five states and he is connecting the dots.
During the whole episode, one can’t help but wonder… do we really care about these characters? Personally I could have dealt without the inter-family drama. The rebellious teenage girl; Alicia and her disdain for her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. However one can get an odd feeling about Nick and his soon to be step- sister, Alicia.
As Nick rants more about the zombie he saw, Travis goes to investigate the run down church turned into a crack house, just to see if his would-be step-son is telling the truth or has lost his mind to heroin. What he finds are raving drug addicts who are at the center of a crime scene. The camera pans out to leave Travis in a terrible image of a crooked cross and blood everywhere. The end is near! Have we ever had such blatant foreshadowing?
Travis takes Madison to the crack house to show her what he found. Meanwhile Nick escapes from the hospital, vowing to clean up his act and life based on what he saw in the beginning.
When Nick escapes from the hospital, both Travis and Madison go looking for him among the outbreak as it starts. In the middle of everything, the two go looking for Nick. They find him just as he has just killed his drug dealer, Calvin. Yeah, Nick couldn’t stay clean for long. When his Travis and Madison arrive, Nick takes them to the scene of his crime. There is no body. The three are later attacked by Calvin who is now a walker. Having fought him off they come face to face with a disarmed zombie as they look on at a city that is on the brink of collapse.
That would be the cliffhanger for next week. Not a very… exciting one. I feel for all the hype we could have done with a two-hour premiere and maybe spent a bit less on the lives of characters which are going to be hard to make a viewer care about. The difference between this series and The Walking Dead character base is simple. By the time The Walking Dead started, you had almost 75 issues to draw from. A rich compelling history, add in some show created characters like Darryl who are carried in the beginning by the existing characters and you have deep evolved characters people care about. The second season was spent getting to know the characters and we see how well received that season is (being the least liked season of the Walking Dead, the dreaded Greene Farm).
Seriously the whole Zombie Outbreak is a footnote which is in the middle of a much more serious drama about a family and their crackhead son. I can understand and appreciate the artist endeavors to try to come up with well-rounded complex characters (I too have always wondered what would become of a drug addict in the aftermath of the apocalypse, where would he get his smack?) but seriously this isn’t what attracts the viewers to the program and without an Ace in the Hole named like Darryl Dixon this series is going to have to aim high.
Next week will have to hit us with an amazing doozy of an episode. As of now there isn’t much to fear in Fear the Walking Dead.
Like I said in the beginning I think all audiences should give this show a chance for the first six episodes. It took me till season two of The Walking Dead to know it was going to be on the right path to ultimate success. With FTWD I can see the success right away even if most critics do not. Here is a sneak peek look at episode two of Fear The Walking Dead.
Episode Two Sneak Peek FTWD: