Fear the Walking Dead | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Fear the Walking Dead

AMC, Sundays 9/8 Central

Aug 21, 2015 Fear the Walking Dead
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The world is poised on the brink of the zombie apocalypse, but it doesn’t know it yet in AMC and co-creator Robert Kirkman’s companion series to The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead. Set in Los Angelesabout as far from Rick Grimes and his crew as possibleFear follows Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), a high school guidance counselor, and her family as they come to terms with the horrific new reality of their existence. No one knows what’s causing the chaos in L.A. A rapidly spreading, highly contagious virus slashes attendance at Madison’s school, and across the city, instances of police shootings are on the risemany of them very public, aggressive responses to perceived threats who don’t stop coming even with a dozen bullets in them. Amid it all, Madison, her two kids, and her boyfriend, fellow teacher and divorced father of one, Travis (Cliff Curtis), decide to flee the city before it tears itself apart.

Fear‘s bicoastal take on the Walking Dead zombie crisis is far from the only thing that sets it apart from the original show. The highlight here, of course, is that zombies aren’t yet the status quo. Survivors (and would-be survivors) aren’t familiar with how to handle them. No one knows to go for the headshot. When people see a zombie, they first see their friends and neighbors, people who appear sick, before they register as dangerous. Kirkman and fellow co-creator Dave Erickson introduce zombies through the perfect lens. Madison’s son, Nick (Frank Dillane) is a heroine addict. He’s the first one of the central characters who encounters a member of the walking dead, but because of his addictions, no one believes him. Though zombies inevitably make a grander appearance in relatively little time, the device is a smart and efficient way of underscoring just how unbelievable and nightmarish such an outbreak really is.

From the get-go, Fear the Walking Dead takes its time in a way that Walking Dead didn’t and, frankly, couldn’t. Not beholden to a zombie horde before the commercial break, the writers patiently establish engaging, every-day characters living in a world viewers can relate to. No one is a rough and tumble southern cop. No one’s a tracker. These are normal people who will be forced to do whatever it takes to survive. They’ll get their hands dirty. They’ll struggle with retaining their humanity. They’ll pray for their loved ones’ survival. Far more than The Walking Dead, in which the zombie plague has already decimated the planet, Fear the Walking Dead is the ultimate game of “what would you do in this scenario?” A spinoff of a zombie show could have been nothing other than “more zombies, different victims,” but Fear the Walking Dead is so much more. It’s engaging, it’s addicting, and it makes for damn lively Sunday night viewing. (www.amc.com/shows/fear-the-walking-dead)

(Also read our interviews with Fear the Walking Dead star Cliff Curtis and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, as well as our separate article on the show.)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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