Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Fear the Walking Dead

Season 2 of The Walking Dead spinoff ended and it's time to take its pulse.

Unfortunately, as much as I like love The Walking Dead and no matter how much I want to like Fear the Walking Dead, this show has not improved from its weak first season, and I can't imagine it lasting much longer.

I always believed that the strength of this iteration of the Dead universe lay in its ability to show us how and how quickly our civilization would unwind if something catastrophic like an unstoppable epidemic were to hit us.

That theme is certainly explored in different ways, like when our group of survivors either successfully cooperate with other people they encounter or have to fight off attackers. Or when, in spite of what has happened, geographical barriers between nations are still enforced by some.

Unfortunately, the writing is often predictable, things happen that are seemingly inconceivable (even on a show such as this!!), and the pace of action is often too slow.

A few examples of what I would tell the writers that obviously will contain spoilers:
  • The choice to have the survivors seek refuge on a boat, while brilliant at first (no zombies can attack you in open waters) turned out to kill all the action (no zombies = no danger = no suspense).
  • When it looked like a gang of bad guys was going to take their boat (or destroy it), which would have forced our people back on land, where danger abounds, they fought them off with the skill of a SWAT team, which is totally unrealistic.
  • This obsession Nick has with not treating/seeing the zombies as monsters, which lead him to embrace Celia Flores first and Alejandro Nuñez later, is total bullshit. The zombies' only goal is to feed on the living, which means killing them, and if that doesn't count as monstrous then what does? That's trying to apply religious views where not even the Pope would dare.
  • Having a man like Daniel suddenly lose his wits once they reached the relative safety of the compound just felt too convenient. We are talking about a man who has seen and caused a lot of death in his life, a really tough man, hardened by a lifetime of hardships, so his demise just came too fast for it to be believable.
  • It's understandable that Travis would avenge his son's death, but as soon as the two guys were shown arriving at the gate the rest of the story (vengeance, being banished, the group leaving together) was a given.
There is more of course, but you get the gist. The bottom line is that The Walking Dead has a team of writers who come up with far better storylines than those on Fear the Walking Dead. It's almost like there is no big picture or arch that the different characters adhere to.

The other issue is that the cast is too small for the writers to play with. While on TWD we regularly lose characters that we had gotten to know and had gotten close to, on FTWD the writers haven't take the time to introduce and flesh out characters that can eventually be killed off. The result is that when characters like Oscar Diaz or Thomas Abigail die, we don't really care that much.

So while I assumed after season 1 that the producers had heard the fans' criticisms and would have tweaked the formula to ensure the show's long term prospects, now I'm not so sure anymore.

Grade - Season 2: 5

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