Cable ratings were smashed last week when The Walking Dead spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead debuted on AMC after months (and months and months) of build up.
Focusing on the beginnings of the zombie outbreak, the show moved the action far from the rural Georgian locals known to Rick, Daryl and Co and introduced us to a Los Angeles on the brink of something big. And then…
Well, and then the pilot episode sort of failed to deliver. Compared with The Walking Dead’s opener – which saw sheriff Rick Grimes get shot, wake up in hospital to find the world had ended, ride a horse into Atlanta, then hide out in a tank – Fear was a little bit more low-key, focusing instead on moody teens, smug teens and the odd dead teen.
With episode two airing this Sunday, we thought we’d offer some suggestions about what the show can do to up the ante.
Cliff Curtis plays our leading man this time round, and as a high school English teacher, he’s got more than the odd moody teen to content with. Two of them happen to be his step kids, while his own son spent his brief appearance in the first episode rolling his eyes. We’re not saying they all have to die, but something better scare them into dropping this moody shit ASAP.
One of the highlights of the first episode was ex-Harry Potter actor Frank Dillane as junkie Nick Clark. Bug-eyed, shaking and paranoid (or is he?), his was easily one of the strongest performances in the show. But, if we wanted to watch Trainspotting, we’d reach for that instead. Unless the show’s going to focus on a long, drawn-out withdrawal during a zombie apocalypse, Nick’s cold turkey phrase needs to be resolved quickly. Yes, that might be unrealistic, but the whole show’s about zombies.
In the first episode we got some great shots of Los Angeles drenched in sunlight and smog. Apart from that, though, lots of the action was based around the high school, like The Walking Dead: The Teen Years. The next episode needs to get the characters on the road. How else are they going to find their own prison/hospital/abandoned shopping mall otherwise?
Other than a bit of driving test-failing manoeuvring last episode, the show was light on zombies, and importantly, like on gore. Judging by the title (and the original show’s record) we’re supposed to fear the undead, not spend the whole episode waiting for them up. If this show’s about how it all started, let’s see things kicking off, big time. Flood the L.A streets with bodies, both terrified and flesh hungry.
As straight A student Alicia Clark, Australian actress Alycia Debnam-Carey was perhaps the most annoying part of the show. Over-confident, cocky and another classic eye-roller, she was nonetheless our favourite because she’s beautiful and we’re shallow, ok? The episode ended with a strong suggestion that her boyfriend is dead, which might be the catalyst for an interesting character arch. Fingers crossed, at the moment all of the characters are as stiff as the zombies.
Fear The Walking Dead will air on August 30th on AMC in the US and in the UK in September when AMC launches over here.