(Originally from the October issue of TFF, published Oct 12, 2015.)
by Cory Owsen – Opinion Editor
Most Walking Dead fans were skeptical when they heard a spinoff was in the works, however, the first few episodes of Fear The Walking Dead (FTWD) have garnered a mostly positive critical response. Created by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson (Sons of Anarchy), the show is centered on a family that lives in LA during the very start of the zombie apocalypse, a few weeks before the beginning of the events in the Walking Dead, but with no crossover characters.
The family consists of assertive high school guidance counselor Madison Clark, her English teacher boyfriend Travis, her teenage daughter Alicia, and her drug addicted son Nick. While their family drama seems mundane and forced at times, it is hard to deny that once the virus really kicks in, these characters are sure to provide plenty of drama as they maneuver the pitfalls of a zombie infested world.
Fear The Walking Dead benefits from good direction and compelling acting. While the whole cast is strong, the most notable performance comes from Frank Dillane who plays Nick (and interestingly, also young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter). While the show is slow paced, it carries a chilling atmosphere, and has frequent spooky directional choices. The opening scene is excellent, setting a great tone for the rest of the show. While the rest of the first episode was a bit lackluster in comparison, it kept its audience watching with the hope that something that cool would happen again.
Although the show is obviously made with quality and care, it suffers from the undeniable fact that it only exists to capitalize off the money making machine that is the Walking Dead. The shows are far too similar, except FTWD lacks the beloved long recurring characters, the strong comic book source material, and the faster paced intensity. Arguably, all the things that make the Walking Dead interesting in the first place.
What FTWD tries to do it does well, and the show has many redeeming qualities, however it seems too slow paced and unoriginal to really succeed. The only people who will like Fear The Walking Dead will be diehard Walking Dead fans, who love the universe and can not get enough gritty zombie gore (or as is the case so far, slow character building). Ultimately, all casual viewers would be better off sticking to the original show. Or the video game, which is excellent.