Right off the bat I was a bit late to the party with this one because I’m a big fan of the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead and just had this bad feeling about this spin off, but last night I took the plunge and checked it out. This is just a reaction to the very first show and I will give the rest a go for a full review at the end of the season… if I make it that far.
Spoiler warnings from here on, including the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead if you’re not up to date!
As the poster above suggests, this is a 2 season show and from the first episode I do wonder whether it’s going to make it to the second season… It’s not exactly getting blinding reviews at the moment.
When it starts there are some familiar nuances which make you remember that this is a Walking Dead show, and these become more obvious as the first episode progresses but beyond that there’s just something about it which doesn’t feel right – it just doesn’t feel like the same cinematic universe. If it is and this is being played out at the same time as the Walking Dead (which it seems to be as it’s 10 years in, which is about the same age as Judith at the moment), then these guys are making the group of survivors in the Walking Dead, along with every other group they meet look like absolute idiots.
Why is everyone in the Walking Dead struggling so much when there are clearly vast communities about who aren’t having to rely on horses and living in squalor? The campus colony sounds like its a relatively small colony for this alliance (I mean how big can it be when they can afford to destroy it by the end of the first episode?), and that’s made up of almost 10,000 people!
These groups seem to be kept together by the civic republic, who on the face of it look like they may well be what Negan was aspiring to be before he became a little bitch, but again on a much larger and more advanced scale than they could ever even imagine in the Walking Dead. We are however reminded that these are all in the same cinematic universe with the Civic Republic rearing its head in the first episode, and it looks like we might end up finally getting some answers about who they are, where they are and what they’re up to. I wonder if we’re going to see Rick make an appearance in yet another cross over. We’ve seen Dwight and Morgan leave the Walking Dead and join the guys at Fear… So maybe Rick is going to work his way through 1 or 2 more shows too?
I’ll be totally honest with you, for me Rick was a pain in the ass character and it annoyed me that he was always so inconsistent between seasons and that his answer to almost every problem was to cry his eyes out… I would much rather have seen him die than Shane in that field if I’m going to be totally honest. So for me, if he doesn’t rear his head again, I won’t be too sad, but I would quite like to know who the civic republic actually are. I think that this is going to be the only question keeping me going when it comes to whether or not to keep watching this show.
So what didn’t I like about it?
Where would you like me to begin?
As I said, it doesn’t feel like the Walking Dead, it feels equally cheaper than TWD whilst also feeling cleaner… Maybe because everyone is clean in this show, and it doesn’t feel right. But even the way the walkers are don’t feel the same – the acting from the freshly turned “empties” as they call them now, especially the psychiatrist is just terrible, and then when they show footage of the plane crash half the zombies just don’t make sense. Why is there a pile of bodies with a zombie seemingly fused to the top being held with arms apart wrapped in oxygen masks. Other than looking cool, there’s no conceivable way that it would possibly have gotten in to that position and stayed there during the crash. On the other hand half the other zombies on the plane, who look like they’ve already been dead for 5 years are phased in to the fuselage. I feel like this show is head for style over substance but not really styling it out very well.
When you find out that the show is created by Scott M. Gimple and Matthew Negrete you have some expectation of what you’re going to get… and what you get instead is something which essentially feels like a TWD fan fiction written by a teenage girl.
One thing which I don’t like about the Walking Dead is the level of drama which has started to creep in. There’s now more drama than action and way more drama than zombies… Whilst Fear started with just drama and then slowly phased that out in favor of action and guts. This show starts off somewhere to the drama side of the middle and then cements itself as something which no longer feels like a show for adults by adding in cartoony dream effects which feel like they’re from the 80’s every time a zombie comes along.
So far we have set up a group of 4 kids, one of whom is very smart and then at the end of the episode suddenly turns in to growing a huge pair of proverbial balls who gets a wicked smile on her face when she kills her first zombie, you then have her sister who is maybe more bad ass, but its all eclipsed by her teenage angst which no doubt will leave her as a loose canon and catalyst for almost everything going wrong. Then you have the boys, one of whom is perhaps a little slow, just shy, but either way we don’t really know what he’s there for yet, other than maybe some muscle? They’ll need it because the other boy is a nerd in a corduroy suit… yup that’s right! Who has been going out for ages looking for something, and on their final trip out of the city to go save the girls’ dad they happen to walk right past the spot where he dropped a triceratops horn… REALLY!?!?! But they had to include that bit to already set up the fact that out of all the thousands of people who have come and gone we have a girl whose mum was shot by a pregnant woman, who this girl when she was about 6 then shot back and killed, with that woman and her unborn child just so happening to be the mum and unborn sister of the nerd kid.
Give me a break!
To me that last bit was lazy and downright stupid… I’m all for coincidences but come on, let’s keep thing realistic – surely we could have made some conflict between these 2 kids in some other way… hormones… that’ll do it!
I really am going to give the show a proper go and try to do a full review of series 1 once I get there, but over the next 9 episodes this show needs to grow up very fast and deliver some action… get rid of a lot of kids drama and preferably get rid of those 4 kids and somehow shift the whole show to another story – just not the guardian of the girls and his partner, who tries to act tough and it just comes off a bit ridiculous with the swagger they put on!
I don’t want to keep moaning, but the more I write about it, the more I realize that all I did last night was get more pissed off at what’s happening to this franchise for an hour or so… Bring on tonight! I think if they don’t come up with something quick there won’t be a show any more by the end of it. US viewing figures for the first couple of days for each episode have been dropping like flies. The first episode had 1.6 million views after 2 days whereas the 5th, after 2 days had dropped almost a million viewers, down to 740,000! Those are some worrying numbers for AMC I’m sure!