‘Fear the Walking Dead’: Episode 1 Review


Sunday nights at nine o’clock are a sacred time. For the average person, it is the last hour of the weekend they will spend awake. Committing oneself to a new television show during this time block can be quite the risky move. You’re jeopardizing ending your cherished weekend on a bad note, which can set the tone for the upcoming work week. This was my thought processes minutes before I decided to turn on the series premiere of AMC‘s new show Fear the Walking Dead. There is something about spinoff television shows that just rub me the wrong way. It’s like the industry is not creative enough so they have to get as much revenue from a successful show as possible. In addition, almost every spinoff in the history of television has been absolutely terrible. Is Fear the Walking Dead going to be just another bad spinoff to be placed on the infamous “Bad Spinoff” shelf or is it going to be something worth dedicating that last hour of the weekend to?

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The show starts off where all zombie apocalypses should begin, a church converted into a crackhouse. Nick Clark, a college dropout addicted to heroin, awakens from a powder-induced slumber to find his injecting partner no longer beside him. As he walks the halls of the defiled place of worship, Nick comes across a dead body that appears to have been bitten on the neck several times. He then continues his search for his friend and finds her on her knees in the corner munching on some dude’s cheek. Naturally, this startles young Nick and he dashes out of the church and into the street where he is promptly hit by a car.

While in the hospital, Nick explains his story to doctors, police, and family members. Most people find his story to be way too far-fetched and blame it all on the drugs. However, Nick’s stepfather, hoping to gain some sort of acceptance, believes enough of his story to go check out the church for himself. Travis Manawa, a high school English teacher by trade, searches the church for evidence to his stepson’s story. He finds no bodies but tons of blood and comes to the conclusion that something terrible has happened there.

I don’t want to spoil the entire first episode for those of you who have it sitting on your DVR so my play-by-play is going to stop. The rest of the episode deals with Travis’s struggle to be accepted by his stepchildren while maintaining a relationship with his biological son Chris, Madison Clark’s attempt to save her son Nick from his addiction, Alicia Clark moaning and groaning about her life, and the question of why people are waking from the dead and feasting on the living.

Pilots of a television series rarely have the audience going, “holy Moses that was freaking awesome!” The purpose of a first episode of a series is to lay the groundwork for what’s going to take place throughout the show. Last night’s Fear the Walking Dead had its moments but was slow-moving overall. It did a good job introducing the story and the characters to viewers, but did not provide much in terms of action. There is no doubt in my mind that things will pick up as the season moves along, which is why I’m okay with the pace of last night’s episode. It didn’t rush into things bit it still gave viewers a real feel for the events taking place.

In reality, I am kind of through with the whole zombie apocalypse theme. To my mind, The Walking Dead should be over and done with by now so I was quite surprised to learn that Fear the Walking Dead was being made. There’s only so much you can do with mindless creatures shambling around looking for tasty humans. With that being said, I was intrigued by last night’s 90-minute series premiere and will tune in again next Sunday at nine. However, if things don’t start to pick up by episode three or four, I’m finding another way to spend the last hour of the weekend.

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