Fear the Walking Dead provided a surprisingly well-done first episode. It created a sense of tension, as well as a failing sense of community with the coming apocalypse.
Contrary to the original show, The Walking Dead, FTWD takes place in Los Angeles just before the Zombie infection begins. We are introduced with an ominous setting in a drug addict’s haven, and events begin to occur that help lead up to the zombie apocalypse that we have already known thanks to the original series. Yet instead of being immersed in the outbreak already underway, we are greeted with a still functioning civilization that is completely unaware that their lives are going to crumble, forcing them to survive off instinct.
The first episode gives the viewer a perfect sense of dramatic irony, as we constantly expect the next character we meet to be zombified and blood thirsty since we have been following TWD from the beginning. These characters, though, believe that the “disease”, as they call it, is merely just the flu going around. So you can feel the sense of “I know it’s coming,” you just aren’t exactly sure when the zombies will show, and they usually don’t.
While the characters are well done, I didn’t get a sense of complete depth with them. Our main focus is on a dysfunctional family. The newly wed husband and wife are teacher and counselor for a highschool. They have a daughter who is a Grade A student and a son who is a drug addict. We get a look into their life, which seems to be holding on by a thin string even before the outbreak. Yet I found myself lacking sympathy towards them. I could only really feel for the father who was juggling between an ex wife and son and his new family who seem to look at him as an outcast. The other characters lacked enough backstory to who they exactly were. That being said, I thought the casting and acting was well done.
There are quite a few cliché moments that I wished they had avoided. For instance, ignoring the characters who blatantly tell you about the zombies. Everyone is forgiven for ignoring the drug addicted son, but when you have another character saying the same thing, then it just becomes annoying to see the characters brush if off. Also a major cliché that is seen in many zombie related films is the characters staring in awe at the zombie. Even when it tried to attack them, they still kept trying to get close to it instead of running. Just do something already!
Overall, the Fear the Walking Dead pilot can be seen as a success for being a spin off series. Despite the clichés and lack of exposition for some characters, the first episode was very well done and well cast. The storywriters did an amazing job of capturing the suspense for the viewers. This episode is a must watch for any Walking Dead or zombie fan, and hopefully the rest of the series will prove to be equally exciting and thrilling as it goes on.