Fear The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey
…works not only as a companion to its parent series, but as a standalone work about real family struggles in surreal circumstances.
When it was officially announced that Fear The Walking Dead would be a prequel to the incredibly popular The Walking Dead, set before the zombie uprising, tongues started to wag about what this could possibly involve. After all, what’s the point of The Walking Dead if it doesn’t have any dead? Walking or otherwise. Those fears are, to a certain extent, mitigated upon viewing this six-part first series.
Set in the first few days before society’s collapse, the series follows high school counsellor, Madison (Kim Dickens), her boyfriend, Travis (Cliff Curtis), and their children from previous marriages: Madison’s drug addict son, Nick (Frank Dillane); her perfect daughter, Alicia (Australian actress, Alycia Debnam-Carey); and Travis’ resentful son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie).
After a skilfully crafted opening that reintroduces the audience to the idea of cities being populated with colour and living, breathing people, the wheels of the show spin as this blended family separately pick up on unrest in their community. The opening is unjustifiably an hour long, presumably to flesh out the characters, though it mainly just stirs a desire to shout, “Get on with it!” Things certainly pick up, however, once the military come to clear up the infected, and everyone finds themselves prisoners in their own homes. This armed presence gives the series its antagonist, as the family take on roles outside of their comfort zone in order to make sense of the insanity.
As troubled Nick, Frank Dillane certainly stands out, refusing to let a zombie apocalypse get in the way of his addiction. Reminiscent of a young Johnny Depp, circa Dead Man, Dillane is continually watchable throughout. Fear The Walking Dead might not be everything that the fans could wish for, but it works not only as a companion to its parent series, but as a standalone work about real family struggles in surreal circumstances.