I started watching The Walking Dead the first year it aired. I loved Rick, Lori, Carl, Glenn and Maggie. I stopped somewhere around season five, I think, although I’m not 100% sure. Most of my favourites were gone by then, anyhow. Recently I read the first comic, though, and it renewed my love of the series, so I picked up the spinoff to see if I’d like it. And I do!
Fear the Walking Dead gives us the breakdown of society that Rick Grimes slept through in The Walking Dead, only we see it from California, not the deep south. The series follows a large extended family: teachers Travis and Madison; Madison’s two children Nick, a drug addict, and Alicia, a high school student; and Travis’ ex-wife Liza and their son Chris.
One afternoon, Nick wakes up from a drug-induced haze to find that his girlfriend is eating the face off another addict. Panicked and running for his life, Nick escapes the rundown church and runs headlong into oncoming traffic. His mother and stepfather are contacted and hear his story, although they think it’s a hallucination from the drugs. But Travis wants to believe Nick and goes to the church where he finds blood everywhere. One of the things I really like about the set up of the family was how close and determined they all were. Travis didn’t need much convincing from Nick to trust him at his word, sense something was wrong, and act.
At the same time, reports start appearing on the news that people are being shot but not dying, and riots and protests start to break out around the city. Travis very quickly has the right idea to get everyone out of the city and gathers both of his families to leave. On the way, they pick up the Salazar family – Daniel, Ofelia and Gloria – who offer Travis, Liza and Chris shelter from a riot. Daniel’s a tough, authoritative man who loves his family above all else.
The three families attempt to leave the suburbs but are stopped by the army and forced to remain in Madison’s house together. Weeks pass and the soldiers are clearly hiding something from everyone in the neighbourhood. Things escalate when they take three of the group without explanation and refuse to offer answers.
I really like how this series is framed. The characters are all quite likeable – or grow on you – and they’re a useful bunch. I also like the answers we’re getting that we didn’t really get in The Walking Dead. My favourite characters are probably Alicia, Travis and Madison. Strand I didn’t care for through pretty much all of season one, but throughout season two he’s definitely started to grow on me. He and Dougray Scott were great in their scenes together. I wish we’d had more from the backstory.
The series is also very diverse, which I really appreciate. I like that we’re getting a whole new side of the TWD universe and seeing other countries, too. I had so many questions from the first series and I’ve had a good number of answers now, which I appreciate. I’m really curious to see where it goes, but the show’s still on the air, so there’s hopefully lots more to come.
Anyone else watching this show?