Blasphemy, right? What could be better than Rick Grimes and Co. in The Walking Dead? It comes down to a matter of taste in shows. The Walking Dead is great, but it takes place well after the world has gone to hell.
There’s nothing wrong with that premise, but it leaves limitless untold stories. Mainly showing the disintegration of everything we consider normal. Nothing drives me crazier than to watch an apocalyptic movie just to have it do the ‘25 years ago’ or some schtick similar.
No, I want to see the proverbial SHTF. A perfect show that started off with things normal, before ripping the social fabric and tossing it about, was Jericho on CBS. The perfect premise, just a few years too early. If that came on today, CBS would have a monster hit on their hands.
Fear the Walking Dead shows that same promise. Everything is normal in the opening scene, and the walkers are not the constant threat they posed from the outset of The Walking Dead.
Here are a few things to get you ready for this Sunday:
1 – Watch the first three minutes today on Facebook.
2 – Change of scenery.
Sorry Atlanta, you’re out. Break out your old Phantom Planet CD. California here we come. I like this move. It gives everything a fresh perspective and brightens the show up. You have to admit, The Walking Dead has gone dark.
Fear the Walking Dead will get to its dark place, but for now? We get to watch the immediacy of the zombie apocalypse and how the characters react and ultimately band together.
3 – Wait… I recognize these actors.
Yeah, the talent pool AMC brought together is impressive. Travis Manawa is played by Cliff Curtis. You’re looking at the gif wondering where you’ve seen him from. Last year’s Gang Related. Fishscale baby… It’s a shame it was canceled, but something tells me Curtis is happy to trade in running a gang for being chased by zombies.
His fiance is played by Kim Dickens, who is in damn near everything these days. She was Colette from Sons of Anarchy, Detective Boney from Gone Girl and Joanie from Deadwood. Use her role in Gone Girl to stump your friends.
And then there’s Maestro Hall. AMC’s casting director evidently stole the Rolodex from HBO’s The Wire. He played Randy Wagstaff on the crime series. In Fear the Walking Dead? He’s the high school jock.
How important is he to the show? Well, Walking Dead likes to go Game of Thrones on you in a hurry these days. His part is quick in the first episode, but I’m leaning towards he’ll be important.
4 – No Rick Grimes. No Source Material.
It’s rather obvious there’s no Rick Grimes, but the focus on Travis in the first episode has people speculating he will be the ‘Rick Grimes’ character in the show. We will see.
Which leads to there’s no source material. The Walking Dead can lean on the comics from Robert Kirkman. Granted, they can stray from that source, but at least there’s a foundation.
With Fear the Walking Dead, there’s nothing. Writers and showrunners are making it up as they go. That’s both fantastic and worrisome. Don’t get attached to characters. You don’t have websites to search your favorite characters and the comics.
Unchartered waters for sure, but it adds complexity to the show that is trying to set itself apart from The Walking Dead while keeping the feel of the hit show.
Me? I love that we actually get to see the zombie apocalypse happen in real time. More shows should be done to explore the breakdown in society as it happens. Not months or years after the fact.
Set your DVR for Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Mine already has the entire season recorded.