“Fear the Walking Dead”: What’s in store
Dylan Haviland – Arts & Entertainment Editor
A young man wakes up from a drug induced sleep, steadily opening his eyes to a world that will never be the same. As the opening scene progresses across the amber lit church-turned-drug den, the man finds his friends devouring each other as living corpses. After escaping the church the character is thrown into a sunny, L.A. cityscape, an area untouched by the coming apocalypses.
The survivor of this ordeal is Nick Clark, a main character in AMC’s new show “Fear the Walking Dead” played by Frank Dillane. The show is meant as an alternative story to the hit series, “The Walking Dead” which features two families brought together by a zombie apocalypse. According to the Nielson Company, the show is breaking cable records with around 10 million viewers.
Its pilot episode which premiered on Sunday, Aug. 23, brought in a new cast of characters starring the talents of actress Kim Dickens as Madison Clark and actor Cliff Curtis as Travis Manawa. Their characters in the story are dating and attempting to bring together both their families, a trial that will become tested in the upcoming disaster.
The first episode tries to establish these characters and their family as the people they are before the apocalypse, each dealing with their own baggage and personal issues.
The foundation of their stories will allow the viewer to see character development which starts from the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.
A big test of the character development will be the second episode of the series premiering on Aug. 30, titled “So Close, Yet So Far.” This episode should allow the character’s personalities to be challenged by the imminent disaster. Everything the characters have known to be normal will fall apart as society collapses, which will test their will to survive and teamwork when all else fails.
A preview video from AMC showed the family dealing firsthand with the zombies, causing survival to become their main priority while also dealing with emotional and physical blows. The second episode highlights riots, soldiers and shambling corpses, pushing the show further into the zombie genre. These elements take a large step from the first episode that showed only a few clips of action.
An important aspect of this series is the fact that a majority of the characters are family members. This means that everyone’s lives are important and even the most minor injury or death will have great impact on the characters.
If this show is to follow in the footsteps of “The Walking Dead,” sacrifice and death will be a determining factor in what kind of people these characters become. “So Close, Yet So Far” may represent the futility the family feels as every day becomes a struggle to keep each other alive.
Apart from the second episode, there are plans for the future of the series. According to AMC, there are already orders for a second season with 15 episodes being released, as mentioned in the Television Critics Association Tour press release.
While it certainly is an ambitious move announcing a second season, it is still essential that the current episodes and season capture the audience’s attention. The show should not fall into the trap of relying on a current fan base to carry them forward. The second episode should be important in establishing what kind of story the show is becoming.
If the first season continues to break records and gather positive reviews from viewers and critics, it should be able to establish a lasting TV franchise in addition to building a new fan base while still holding on to the initial fans of “The Walking Dead.”
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore