After months of waiting, AMC finally showed the world exactly what it was talking about when it decided to green light a “companion series” to “The Walking Dead,” titled, “Fear the Walking Dead.” Now that the premiere is behind us, fans can finally match it side-by-side against the original show.
For those that aren’t familiar, “Fear the Walking Dead” is a sort-of prequel series, taking place in the days and weeks that passed while Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was in a coma. Set in Los Angeles, the characters on “Fear the Walking Dead” will experience the end of the world rather than simply wake up after it’s already over. This means there’s a lot of room to explore previously untread territory for the companion series, as well as a lot of room to fail.
However, now that the first episode has come and gone, fans can start to speculate on whether or not the show’s gimmick of seeing the fall of civilization will be enough to put it on par with the fan-beloved original series, which is about to enter its sixth season in October.
Right out of the gate, it’s clear that “Fear the Walking Dead” could rub people the wrong way simply because most people hate being taught things they already know. As Vulture points out, so much of what makes the pilot episode drag is the fact that the characters know jarringly little about the zombie apocalypse in comparison to any audience member, particularly “Walking Dead” fans who have spent six years figuring all this out.
However, to the companion series’ credit, a tool that it’s got in the back pocket that the original series lacks is the ability to show how the world got from Point A (“Fear the Walking Dead” pilot) to point B (Season 5 finale of "The Walking Dead"). The original show seems constantly obsessed with the idea of showing what the apocalypse has made people become and spends precious little time addressing how they all got there. I mean, how much do you really know about The Governor (David Morrissey) or even Michonne (Danai Gurira)?
As Entertainment Weekly notes, despite leaning on the clichés that its original series had to evolve from, the show finds several ways to stand on its own. One instance that jumps to mind is the foe-viral video that showed police encountering a walker on the highway, only to realize that bullets aren’t as effective as one would reasonably believe them to be. The scene was scary, but the conversation amongst students at the high school about it the next day was perhaps one of the most interesting moments on the show. Is it maddening that people don’t realize they’re dealing with a zombie and a spreadable virus? Sure. Is it exciting to see humanity discovering that the supernatural exists? You bet.
In the end, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. For some fans, “Fear the Walking Dead” likely hit every note they were hoping for. On the other hand, no one can be faulted if they don’t want to journey back in time in the “Walking Dead” universe now that the future looks so interesting in Season 6.
Will you be giving the remaining five episodes of “Fear the Walking Dead” a shot or are you sticking to “The Walking Dead” exclusively? Take our poll below and comment or tweet your thoughts on “Fear the Walking Dead” to @TylerMcCarthy.