Sunday night may have marked the launch for season six to AMC's The Walking Dead, but before we get into the goings on of Rick Grimes and company, let's first delve into the show's companion series, Fear The Walking Dead, which recently wrapped up it's first short season.
What would happen if the cast of Modern Family were suddenly confronted with the end of the world? Now remove the comedy and characters you care about, add in some suspense and gore, amp up the carnage for a finish line push, and you've got Fear The Walking Dead. Even if I can't be bothered to remember the names of all the main characters, Walking Dead fans don't want to sleep on this parallel timeline of human extinction.
Fear the Walking Dead won't break any new ground, but we don't need it to. We already know the rules of their world, even as the characters are just discovering them. This affords Fear the opportunity to use a slow build throughout the opening episodes to build towards a satisfying payoff in the finale. Slow also describes how quickly the average viewer will probably take to actually care about our main characters.
Kim Dickenson is a personal favorite of mine, but can hardly hold the ensemble cast together. She plays a widow with two teenage kids, both troubled after the loss of their father. Her new man, Travis, has an ex and a teen of his own. Wackiness commences. Well not exactly. They don't do much of anything except discover the world unraveling...slowly. What the show lacks in character development, it makes up for in plot advancement.
Walking Dead begins in thick of zombie gentrification, leaving plenty of questions as to the genesis of the zombie apocalypse. While we don't get further insight into why it happened, we see step by step how rapidly the dominoes fall for humanity as the double deadly plague ravages a major American city. From confusion, to panic, to fear, and finally military containment before the bottom so easily falls out.
If you watch Dead for gore and comic book violence, you'll have to wait until next season to get your fill. Oh sure, we get a few bloody scenes along the way, but you'll be left wanting. That said, Fear the Walking Dead explores a different narrative set in a different location with an earlier timeline. Excitement is on its way next season, and the only thing you have to fear is not knowing a walker from a morphine IV sucking junkie if you miss out.