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Well, it’s finally here.  The long discussed companion series to The Walking Dead, oddly titled Fear The Walking Dead, has arrived, but was it worth the wait?

Fear the Walking Dead takes a slightly different look at the zombie apocalypse than its older sister series.  With this show, the creators have informed us that they’re going to go back to the beginning, before the beginning actually, to examine the very first days of the zombie apocalypse, and to see how society crumbles under the strain of a plague that it just doesn’t understand.  The Pilot episode begins with a drug addict, Nick (played by Frank Dillane), waking up in an abandoned church.  He looks for the girl he spent the night with, only to find several grisly scenes of people with various body parts ripped off.  When he finally finds her, he realizes she is the one that has been doing the ripping, not only that, but she also has a gigantic piece of wood protruding from her abdomen, which doesn’t seem to be bothering her at all.  Nick makes a run for it, only to be struck by a car outside the church.  While he’s in the hospital being treated for minor injuries, we meet his mother Madison (Kim Dickens), sister Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), and soon to be step-dad Travis (Cliff Curtis).  Madison and Travis both work at the same high school, she’s a guidance counselor, and he is a teacher.  Nick tells Travis what he saw that made him run, and of course, the story is so outrageous that no one really believes him… yet.

This first episode is a little… well… slow.  It might have only seemed that way because of the 90 minute run time, but I think it goes beyond that.  Right off the bat, we have a zombie encounter, and then we see practically nothing else for the rest of the episode.  Now, that’s not to say that it’s terrible.  There is a lot of character building that goes on in that time, which I’m sure will wrench our hearts out later when some of these people inevitably die horrible deaths.  However, if you go into this expecting the same kind of tense action sequences that you find peppered throughout the main series, you might be a little disappointed.  Also, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that based on this episode, we shouldn’t expect this fall of civilization to go quickly.  The creators seem to be taking their time with this, which could either work out really well, or not well at all.  Only time and more episodes will tell.

The other aspect of this series that I find interesting is how different and uptempo most things seem to be.  One thing that leapt out at me while watching was the music.  It almost seems to be paced more like an action story than a horror story.  The background music is quick, which invokes a sense of urgency and a need to get things done before it’s too late.  The only problem is that no one really knows exactly what to do yet.  Either way, it definitely seems like they are trying to differentiate themselves from the main series as much as possible.

All in all, the plot moved a little slow while developing it’s rich and interesting characters, and it’s definitely not what you’re used to in the main series.  It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it’s still something that I’ll continue watching just to see how it plays out, as it seems there are any number of ways this plot could go from here.

The Verdict for Fear the Walking Dead, Episode 1:
4/5 – I can dig it.

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Secret Wars Journal #4
Civil War #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Old Man Logan #4 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Where Monsters Dwell #4 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
X-Men ’92 #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 1: The Faust Act
The Martian (Novel)

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