The Fear is Here
The biggest challenge for Fear the Walking Dead, the prequel series to AMC’s immensely popular zombie drama The Walking Dead, is to answer two questions, the first of which is why? Why start a spin off series while the main show is still in its prime? Fear will surely always live in the shadows of its sibling series so what’s the goal?
It seems, based on the ragtag group of characters, that Fear will follow the lead of its sibling series in making the main focus on the people. How they deal with the zombie outbreak and how it changes them will surely be a main theme. Unfortunately, the new cast left a lot to be desired and little to get excited over. They felt like stock characters but hopefully they’ll be properly developed as the show continues. That development will be crucial over the rest of the six episode premiere season in order to convince the fans this show will have substance and bite.
Second to why is what. What about this series is going to make it worthwhile? What will make it seem like AMC isn’t just riding the coattails of the main show? It has to be more than just The Walking Dead earlier in the timeline and in a new location. While it will be cool to see the city based zombie apocalypse outbreak, it isn’t something we haven’t seen already countless times. To be fair, someone waking up in a hospital after everything has already fallen apart isn’t an original idea either but that’s turning out well so far. If the main goal is to simply follow a group of characters until they cross paths with the main cast, following them in all the same ways, it may be tough to maintain interest.
Overall, the 90 minute premiere was a mixed bag. It’s not uncommon for a pilot episode to be slow. As long as it sets the stage for something with promise and introduces real characters we can relate to over time, the flaws can eventually be forgiven. Fear the Walking Dead’s debut episode accomplished one of these two things and failed to answer the why and the what. One episode down, they have five left to answer those questions.