“Fear the Walking Dead” drew an intense amount of viewers with over 10 million people watching the pilot episode when it premiered on August 23 on AMC. However, as impressive as the viewership was, the majority of that comes from fans of its companion show, “The Walking Dead.” As nice as this pilot episode was, it was not “The Walking Dead.”
The show is set in Los Angeles in the early stages of the zombie apocalypse. It centers on the Clark and Manawa families. As the world around them slowly begins to crumble, they are forced back together in order to survive.
The pilot is incredibly well written. The show’s pilot episode was written by its co-creators, Robert Kirkman (writer of “The Walking Dead” comics, as well as a few episodes of the series) and Dave Erickson (“Sons of Anarchy” writer). The two do a great job of not only establishing the world early on in the episode, but drawing viewers in and keeping them watching. The world engulfs you and makes you want to see it slowly plunge into the wasteland that viewers know it will become.
One thing that drags viewers out of the show is some of the performances given by the main cast. Kim Dickens (“Treme”) and Frank Dillane (“Sense8”) both give performances that make viewers pull away from the world and think back to characters like Andrea, played by Laurie Holden, from the original series.
Dickens plays Madison Clark, a mother and guidance counselor. Yet in many of her dramatic scenes, it is hard to believe she actually cares for anyone she is trying to help. There is a part where you see her cry in the second episode, yet it seems forced and has an abrupt start and finish.
Dillane plays Nick Clark, son of Madison and a recovering heroin addict. As characters go, his is probably the most difficult to watch. There is a scene where he meets his drug dealer in a diner and he displays two moods. The transition between the two is incredibly sloppy and it prevents viewers from understanding the harsh reality of what the character has been through.
Yet through their mess, you see Cliff Curtis (“Missing”) create a great character in Travis, the boyfriend of Madison and a divorced father. You watch the character push to find a place in the Clark family as both kids try to reject him and his struggle to stay connected to his ex-wife and son. Through the episodes that have aired, viewers have gotten to see him fight; we want him to fight more and be the hero the show needs to have.
If you love the original show, you should definitely give this one a chance. Season one still has four more episodes and season two has already been approved. Just remember, this is not the original and if you go in looking to find what the original had, you won’t be able to become enthralled by the new world the writers have created.