Probably about the only thing familiar in Fear the Walking Dead is the prompt disposal of black dudes and the feeling that I’ve wasted an hour of my time.
I’ll be honest: when I first started watching The Walking Dead (back when it was beginning season three I caught up on Netflix) I loved the show. I felt that the first season was one of the best pieces of zombie-related media I ever watched. When I went to talk about the show to people they complained about the pace, but pace is something you don’t notice when you have the luxury of entire seasons at your fingertips.
And then I hit season three and everything slowed down. I kept watching and plowing through waiting for that familiar feeling of greatness to come back; I’m like a junkie chasing a high. And the funny part is most of the time just before I lose hope the mid-season or season finale come along and I think “Next part will be different.”
It starts off promising (nowhere was this more apparent than season five), but the issue is that it dips back into a lull of just kind of existing. It drags along until a bit before the next break and then all Hell breaks loose. Finally, we’re getting the action we’ve waited for.
I wish that I could say Fear the Walking Dead started with a bang, but after watching the two episode premiere I can say that it started with all of tenacity and velocity of a constipated shit. It looked like the script writers were young boys trying to get their first bra off a girl, but they didn’t know where it clasped and couldn’t make sense of how to unfasten it.
Are these the same guys who wrote the first episode of season five of the other show? The same guys who threw us into a scene where people were having their heads hacked off in buckets four minutes into a show?
The fans of the show are calling it a slow burn, but when you’ve got a two hour premiere you expect something to happen to draw you in. I care about none of these characters (the daughter is cute, that’s about the only noticeable thing) and the people of LA seem to be stupid. I’m not talking about not knowing how to kill a zombie, I’m talking about the idea that a school district would close down schools because of a crazy cop shooting that was put on YouTube in the city of LA. A city that at one point averaged two car chases A DAY.
Part of me hoped for a clean slate to start with. There was a lot the people could have done with the idea and there were some interesting things that could have happened with a new show. In the first episode it seems like all of them were bypassed (why not make it about a gang that gets caught up in the chaos or a group of youngsters—a blended or broken family seems so…Day After Tomorrow).
The other problem this has is that it comes so late into the other show. By most accounts it’s been two years since the zombie outbreak took the planet by storm and we know most of the secrets of the creatures and how to deal with them. If this show had fallen between seasons one and two the idea that these things came from anyone who died would have been awesome to find out here, but we’ve known that for years now. With a lot of prequels it feels like the winters are just going through ticking boxes of things we already knew happened, but unable to show us something new or make us feel anything.
Why even write this? What’s the point?
And that’s my biggest question. What’s the point? I’ll continue to give this a try, because it seems that I like to chase the high of those great moments. Hopefully the show surprises me.