Written by Christian James
When a show does really well, it only makes sense for a network to create a spin-off series. Sometimes these spin-offs go very well, such as “Frasier” which was a spin-off from “Cheers,” but most of the time an attempt at a spin-off series will go south. AMC has tremendously grown in popularity with their recent critically acclaimed shows. “Breaking bad,” which ended in 2013 and is arguably one of the best shows to ever hit the little screens, it received a spin-off series titled “Better Call Saul,” which did very well for its first season. Now AMC is trying another spin-off from their original show, “The Walking Dead,” which follows a group of survivors as they try and survive through a zombie apocalypse.
The spin-off series has a very similar title, “Fear the Walking Dead,” and premiered for the first time on August 23, with a slow but very strong pilot episode. While “The Walking Dead” began a few weeks into the zombie apocalypse, “Fear the Walking Dead” will give viewers a chance to see exactly how the world went crazy within those first few weeks. Due to this idea, the show may lack the suspense that the original show did so well at creating because the characters are only finding out about the disease that allows the dead to walk. Creating a lot of confusion through the characters, instead of an acceptance of the situation that the character in “The Walking Dead” have come to terms with.
The show’s protagonist, Madison Clark, played by Kim Dickens, is likeable, she has a strong heart, a big will and seems to be a great mom. She’s the package deal when it comes to liking a character, which is something that viewers will come to love with “Fear the Walking Dead.” The biggest difference between the original show and this spin-off will be the willingness to really like a character. In “The Walking Dead,” viewers have watched as society has become worse and worse, and as society falls the humanism of the show’s characters fall with it. Instead of Rick and his friends taking on human emotions that viewers can relate to, they take on actions that only make them seem like animals. In “Fear the Walking Dead,” the characters still live in the society that the show’s viewers are used to, which makes it a lot easier to relate to them.
Another difference between the characters within “Fear the Walking Dead” compared to “The Walking Dead” is the bitterness of the teenage characters. Specifically Alicia, played by Alycia Debnam-Carey, who is a very typical snotty teenage girl. Again, these characters are the brats that society lets them be, unlike in the original show where a snotty girl will find herself dead in a matter of days. Which means that a few things can be predicted with characters such as Alicia, her character may develop, allowing viewers to watch the transformation that they missed out on with Carl. Or she may be killed off very early in the show, with “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman also one of the showrunners for the spin-off, it’s hard to know which direction her type of character will go in. While watching her development would be great, Kirkman is also known for killing off characters with no mercy.
While the episode had many high points and opens the show up for what is hopefully a great season, the biggest downfall was the disbelief that the characters had about what was really happening. After the characters watched online videos and herd about incidences on the news, they shrugged their shoulders and went on with their daily lives. The recent Ebola outbreaks that America saw earlier this year are proof that even with a few quarantines people will begin to freak out. In “Fear the Walking Dead,” the characters didn’t think twice about what was being said on the news. While it’s understandable that Kirkman wanted to show the side of society that doesn’t care about what’s going on until it’s in their own backyards, it still seems a little unbelievable with how okay the characters were with what they saw.
The episode was a very slow start, mostly acting as an introduction that will hopefully kick-off the series into a very entertaining show. Though there were some moments of great intensity, it didn’t seem like enough throughout the hour-and-a-half long episode with commercials. It’s very interesting to see where Kirkman plans to go with the rest of the season, we can only hope that he picks up the pace and doesn’t let the viewers drag behind.