Television Review: A promising prequel

“Fear the Walking Dead” stands out from its wildly popular parent show

 

With a second season renewal months before it even premiered, “Fear the Walking Dead” had some mighty large shoes to fill once it finally premiered on AMC at the end of August. Becoming the #1 Rated Series Cable Launch of all time in the U.S., according to Variety Magazine, “Fear” made it evident that it has the potential to not only be as popular as its counterpart, but possibly even more so.

This spinoff show does not coincide with the original “Walking Dead” timeline. Instead, it serves as a prequel, taking place in Los Angeles. It follows the Clark family throughout their trials and tribulations regarding the so-called “Beginning of the End.” There is Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), a mother and guidance counselor; Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey), the intelligent yet disinterested daughter; Nick Clark (Frank Dillane), a despondent drug addict of a son; and Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), a well-meaning, peacekeeping boyfriend of Madison. Each of the characters brings something unique and fresh to the show.

Dillane is the resident scene-stealer, creating a compelling character in Nick that the audience hates to love and loves to hate. He is deviant, desperate and deplorable at times, but manages to charm the audience simultaneously in his Johnny Depp-esque nature. Dickens also manages to channel a leader archetype in Madison, already being claimed as the Rick Grimes of the show.

“Fear” explores the breakdown of society that leads into the world we know in The Walking Dead. With less of an emphasis on the gore that its predecessor thrives on, it paints a picture of society’s destruction in a slow—but deeply informative manner. It fills in the holes “The Walking Dead” leaves open about what civilization once was.

By tackling real world issues, such as police brutality and drug addiction, within the first two episodes, the show puts an emphasis on a different kind of survival than that of its counterpart show. These characters have to juggle their own personal demons all while trying to reason with the madness that is unfolding before their very eyes. It’s different from its complementary series in all the right ways, but still manages to tie back into the original world fans fell in love with in 2010 when the franchise debuted.

With more than promising ratings and a different take on the zombie apocalypse that started it all, “Fear the Walking Dead” provides an enjoyable, but at times gut-wrenching, hour of television on Sunday nights that allows its audience to become just as obsessed with it as they are with its counterpart.

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