What did the world look like as it was transforming into the horrifying apocalypse depicted in “The Walking Dead”? This spin-off set in Los Angeles, following new characters as they face the beginning of the end of the world, will answer that question.
Welcome to another installment of The Chopping Block in which I, Stalks, dissect certain series or give retrospect of shows that were “Axed” too soon.
When I first got wind of a spin off based on AMC’s venerable The Walking Dead series, I thought to myself “Isn’t one show based on the Robert Kirkman graphic novel sufficient enough? Why another one?”
However, the premise of how the outbreak began leading to the zombie apocalypse setting gathered my interest. Unfortunately, Fear the Walking Dead does not deliver what could have been a great companion to the show that it was spun from.
The Protagonists, especially Nick, played by (Johnny Depp lookalike Frank Dilate) are boring to the point of not caring regardless if they lived or get devoured by the zombies. At some heroin den otherwise known as a “Shooting Gallery”, Nick wakes up only to witness his girlfriend snacking on someone’s spleen.
Soon after, Nick does what any Red blooded American Male would do when faced with unusual and moribund circumstances…
Insert Trope #34: Gets hit by a car and resumes consciousness in a hospital. Soon afterwards amidst all the bizarre “incidents”, Nick leaves..er, escapes the hospital to find his dealer and ask if the heroin he sold him caused these “hallucinations” like his GF being a zombie. Yeah, riiiiight.
Insert Trope #68: The dope dealer, Calvin takes ol’ Nick to a riverfront in order to shut his mouf. Of course, the protagonist survives the attempt but Cal doesn’t which leads to Trope #69: Calvin the dealer is now a…you guessed it, a Walker!! Tadaaaaaaa!
Anyway, the interaction between the characters and especially Travis’ reaction to the Walkers are at best laughable due to that look of deniability when facing a friend, neighbor or loved one that has been turned.
There were quite a handful of scenarios where a walker would approach one of the protagonists and in return they would try to talk or reason with someone who is bloodied, decomposing, and with a satiable appetite for live human flesh.
One guy even approached his zombified wife to embrace her and I’m certain that she wasn’t going to return the favor!!
Unlike George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Zack Snyder’s namesake remake, there is really no sense or feeling of tension or dread of the world coming apart in the midst of the outbreak.
This series may be a critical success and commercial success, however I think the writing doesn’t make full use of New Zealand actor Curtis Cliff’s potential. One of his most notable roles was Smiley from Training Day, a ruthless gangbanger with a code of honor. And unlike badass Smiley, Travis is pretty much a dullard.
I remember hearing rumors of a prequel that takes place before The Walking Dead series but this time it would recall the events witnessed from the soldier’s perspective, who was in The Walking Dead Pilot episode. This in my opinion would have been a much better option.
From the looks of FTWD, it ain’t gonna happen and that’s very unfortunate.
In closing, FTWD is like hors d’oeuvres and one that makes me wish to skip it and hold out for the main course (which is the original The Walking Dead series). Bad for the palette.