Sunday, 3 July 2016

Fear The Walking Dead Season 1 - Richee Review

So if you don't know, I'm a huge zombie fan, and the hottest zombie property right now is The Walking Dead, be it the comics, games, figures or the highly rated TV series. This is a franchise which thought it could do no wrong, so a spin off TV series wasn't too surprising to me when it came around. I didn't get the chance to watch Fear the Walking Dead when it first aired, but luckily managed to pick it up on DVD.

The story takes place before the events of The Walking Dead, at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Focusing on Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) and his two dysfunctional families. First off we have the Clark family, which consists of his current girl friend Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and her two children, Nick (Franks Dillane), a heroin addict, and Alicia (Alycia Debnam Carey), an over achieving student (Who thinks it is a good idea to walk in the middle of the road while listening to her ipod. Do people really do this in America? If so, I wouldn't call them smart). Then we have his other family: his ex wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who is a trainee nurse and there son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie), a mopey teen who has a problem with his father.
The first episode opens with Nick waking up in a drug den (wearing a very nice cardigan) in which one of his friends having turned into a zombie has a serious case of the munchies. He makes a run for it and gets hit by a car. His mother is called by the hospital where Nick is, as he survived (unfortunately). He informs Travis on what he saw, not knowing if it was real or a drug fuelled illusion. Travis goes to investigate and finds blood everywhere but no people. Rather then phoning the police (because why would you phone the police about a possible homicide?), he informs Nick that something went down there and that he isn't crazy.

Fast forward to the end of episode 3 where the army turns up, just as people in the neighbourhood start to turn. Oh, Travis also meets up with Daniel and his family (a hairdresser they took shelter with during a riot), who are now staying with his other two families. Episode 4 sees the army put the town in lock down, implementing a curfew while taking people that could be infected or possible trouble. Travis tries to work with the army until they take Nick and Daniel's wife Griselda, while recruiting Liza to help with the sick and wounded. The families find out the army have orders which aren't in their best interest and decide to rescue the Nick and Griselda then get out of town (while leaving everyone else in their neighbourhood to an almost certain death: our heroes everybody).

The final episode sees Daniel release two thousand zombies from a local stadium to attack the army base, giving them the chance to rescue there family members (again dooming hundreds to certain death, oh well, eggs and omelets you know). They rescue Nick, his new best friend Strand, and Lisa, but Daniel finds out that his wife Griselda has passed away. They escape with little problem, even though there's two thousand zombies in that area. We find out Lisa was bit during the escape as she hugged a zombie and Madison or Travis have to shoot her. This is where the series ends.
So where to start? I know: with the story and the cliche family drama situation. I think this the biggest mistake in this series, as the drama aspect makes this tedious and boring rather then an interesting horror story of the zombie apocalypse. Focusing on three selfish families who don't even like each other, and bicker through out, ignoring the biggest picture. Yeah, I didn't like most of the characters/actors in this show. Travis played is alright, and Daniel (Ruben Blades) has an interesting back story, but isn't given enough time to shine in this series. Madison is a bland monotone character who can act grumpy, and only grumpy, making her very unlikeable. Nick is so god damn unlikeable, as he is a selfish whiny scum bag who steals an old man's morphine drip while lying to his mother. How are we suppose to support this character when he is such a prick?

Alicia, the apparently intellectual daughter, again doesn't get much to do. Her character, again, is bland and cliche. Her boyfriend is one of the first infected, but he isn't given enough screen time for us to care (I think he has one scene before, oh!, he's dead). Chris is an angsty teen-to-the-max, throwing strops and being all round unlikeable. I think we're suppose to like these characters because they're good looking, but that is such a shallow approach to story telling. I'll finish up with Strand (Colman Domingo), who seems like an interesting character, and who we first see winding some one up until he snaps, putting that persons life at risk. But then he saves Nick's life for no reason. Oh wait, he needs his skills as a junkie? Yeah, that's his reasoning. Fuck you, Strand.
The fact this show is co-written by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is slightly disappointing, as I would expect better from some one who gave us such a gripping, interesting story in the comics and adaptations, where anything could happen. Now let me get on to one of the major issues of Fear The Walking Dead: the walking dead themselves. They have zero threat in this show. Multiple times we see characters grapple with them and you never fear for the characters, because 1., they're so unlikeable, but 2., because the zombies are so pathetic. The inconsistency between the zombies The Walking Dead season 1 and their mobile walkers, damn near running after people, are gone for shambling zombies in this series. Why is that then? Because it didn't suit the shitty story.

Final verdict: 2/10. This is an embarrassment to The Walking Dead story arc. It feels like a rushed cheap cash in. Some of the CGI in this series is B-movie-esque; the end of episode six, where Nick is looking out at a ship in the ocean, looks beyond shite. If you're a fan of The Walking Dead you might find something to like, but I would only recommend this to people who like shitty day time TV drama's who think they need a zombie here or there. The best part of this show in every episode was the title scene, they got that right at least. And why the fuck does Nick stay in the clothes he stole from the old guy in episode 2 through out the series? Makes no damn sense. Richee 


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