It’s finally here, our zombie fix during the long hiatus. Yesterday AMC premiered the long awaited Los Angeles based Walking Dead spin off entitled Fear The Walking Dead. Some call is it a spin off, but it really seems to be really taking a look at what could be considered the origin. During the lead up to the show, executives have stated that the groups may have cross over characters, but not cross over completely with each other. If you’ve been watching The Walking Dead since it’s inception, then you already know key facts about why people are being turned and what causes it.
In the case of Fear The Walking Dead we don’t get a random group of people that happen to find each other, the first episode is a lot of character development so we can build relationships. We have two families that are connected by a single person, who is a father to one boy and a step father to two children that his girlfriend has. We see only a few minutes of the man’s ex wife and his son, but we do figure out that the son doesn’t really want to be around him for some reason. The man does do his best to build his new family by being there for them and handling the horrible attitude that a step father always receives. The two children that his girlfriend has is a girl who is a junior in high school and a heroin addicted son who is in his early 20’s. There are also sub characters that seem like they are going to play a part, but not at this time. The girl has a boyfriend who is an artist and the wife is a counselor at a school, where the man teaches, and has a bond with a student who has been previously picked on. During an encounter between the boy and counselor, we see that he has brought a knife to school and in talking to the counselor tells her its for protection and that they are safer in numbers against this possible virus. The counselor writes him off, but this is totally foreshadowing for future story lines. The only person in the episode, up until the end, who has seen a zombie is the heroin addicted son who sees his fellow addict eating a persons face. Being the son is an addict no one believes him at first, but later on in the episode the mother and step father see a zombie up close and personal.
Fear The Walking Dead doesn’t provide you with a date or a time frame, so you can’t specify when this is all taking place. There are a lot of dead ends that the stories lead you down, but at the end all you have is maybes. For example, there is constant talk about a flu going around and that kids are missing school. There are also missing children posters that characters see around the city. When waiting her boyfriend the young girl sends him text, one of which says “you better be dead”. We know from the CDC episode of The Walking Dead that everyone is infected and once you die it takes effect. While being held in the hospital the heroin addicted boy hears an old man die next to him and the doctor tells the nurses to take him downstairs. We all know that the old man is going to come back alive and start infecting the other nurses. There is a part in the episode where the man and his girlfriend are stopped on the freeway by a police blockade and after hearing shots fired they take off another way. During some leaked footage online of why shots were fired, its revealed that a man was attacking police, shot in his body and still walked and finally a head shot took him out. Since the footage was leaked online, we can also say that the young boy from school has already seen it and will be more cautious.
Fear The Walking Dead is a safe and steady start to building a spin off show without it feeling like the original Walking Dead show. The characters are being developed right in front of our eyes without any flashbacks or long stories during an episode, and the action is spread out. Los Angeles is a huge city, far bigger than the city that we see Rick come from, so the chance of the virus spreading extremely quickly is very possible. If they keep up with this for the first season, I feel like it will be a safe move and stay away from comparisons. The show needs to do things differently and leave the audience with a different feeling than we have when watching The Walking Dead. I feel like this will be getting better as we go and by the end of the season we’ll be filled with greater possibilities of what is causing people to turn into zombies.