By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead.
After six seasons of watching the old group in Georgia, we now get to start all over again in Los Angeles. Unlike the original show, we’re seeing the outbreak from the very beginning. This should make for a fresher story development. Starting the original series a month into the outbreak took away most of the confusion in the characters (other than Rick as he awoke from his coma). In this series, we get to see the disbelief in the faces of people as the dead come alive. Watching this society fall apart is a compelling story, and even though I know what’s going to happen, I was still captivated for all 90 minutes of this pilot.
More Likable Characters?
I think seeing these characters pre-outbreak will make them more likable in future episodes. We’ve all had the same complaints about the character development in the original series – Why is this character so naive about the new world? Why is this character hanging onto the past? Seeing these characters as real people with normal lives should make them more sympathetic later on as they struggle to come to grips with the way the world has become.
Travis and Madison
I’m interested to see how two teachers handle themselves in the walker apocalypse. In another change of pace from the original series, we’re not seeing two cops rise up and lead a group; we’re going to see two people who have probably never held a gun in their lives, and certainly have never killed anyone, as they protect themselves and their family. It’s great because in the original series, at least one of these people would be walker bait by the third episode (and one of them could still be in this series). Now we get to see what happens when two normal people are thrust into this impossible situation. Choosing two teachers as the main characters should make for more interesting character development, and it should provide a kind of tension we would never get with a character like Rick Grimes.
Did anyone find the humor in Voldemort being there at the beginning of the walker apocalypse? I did. So far, I don’t know how I feel about this character. The acting of Frank Dillane as Nick goes through heroin withdraw was great, but if his personality doesn’t change when he sobers up, he might replace Beth Greene as the character I most want to see get eaten. Other than that, I like that we’re getting a character who’s entering the outbreak on a redemption arc.
The Road Forward
As I said before, starting this series pre-outbreak brings a fresh perspective to this old story. The trick will be sustaining it for the long haul. I can easily see this show slipping into rehashed plots that we’ve already seen throughout the past five seasons of The Walking Dead. One way to prevent that is to hold off on the full-blown outbreak for a while. We all know it’s coming, but that doesn’t mean we can’t wait a while longer for it to happen. I’m enjoying watching these characters figure out that their world is falling apart. I’m okay if this arc gets dragged out for a few episodes.
Another way to keep the show fresh is to maintain the urban setting for as long as possible. At some point, these characters probably have to leave the city for the show to be believable, but why not see what happens if they try to stay and fight for their homes? We’ve seen characters taking long treks on country back roads as they try to find safety; let’s now see some new characters try to make life work in a city.
Thanks for reading!