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Television Review: Fear is Not Just Another Zombie Show

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In its five seasons, The Walking Dead has introduced us to several characters, hardened by the zombie apocalypse, traveling from Atlanta, Georgia to rural Virginia. Although we have a small introduction into the zombie breakout happening during Rick Grimes’ coma in season one, we really haven’t been able to answer the questions of “What happened to the rest of America and the world,” or “How did the zombies even take over?” Yet, with the premiere of AMC’s new original series, Fear the Walking Dead, fans may finally get answers.

The first episode of the spin off premiered on August 23 and introduced us to a new location, Los Angeles, new characters, and the threat of a flu-like pandemic. Now, with the first two episodes having already aired, and the third premiering on September 13, Fear has the potential to give fans the prequel series they’ve always wanted; already, the show is off to a strong start with its talented cast. The first character we are introduced to is Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) who witnesses perhaps one of the first walkers attacks in L.A and who is hit by a car in his escape attempt. Of course, his rambling in the hospital of the blood and dead people is chalked up to that of hallucinations of a heroin addict. Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), mother of Nick and Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and guidance counselor at the High school, and her fiancé Travis Manawa (Clint Curtis) are perhaps one of the first few in L.A. to actually believe Nick, and witness the coming of something very bad. In fact, one of Madison’s students tells her in the beginning that the police are not telling them something, and that “the flu” is not really “the flu”. Not much has happened in the first two episodes that isn’t a spoiler, so just know that the show so far has set up the “flu,” the willingness of people to ignore signs of the coming pandemic, and the first look of new, un-decomposed, walkers.

That’s the first look at Fear, but let’s take a minute to discuss the “flu” that is happening in this fictional L.A. and how this leads into people turning into zombies. From Walking Dead, fans know that the walker virus is already in humans and, even if you die from natural causes, you will turn into a walker. So, if this is still the case in Fear, and the virus is just in people waiting for them to die, is it working on its own? Perhaps the virus is working together with an actual other virus, like a flu, that makes people sick, kills them and then the walker virus is activated. Perhaps Fear will eventually address the question we all want to know the answer to, “How did this all happen?” How is it possible that people are walking around getting bitten by zombies – spoiler: Alicia’s boyfriend is bitten – and then assuming that the fever they have is a flu and not caused by the strange ravage human that bit them the other day? The point of these character’s obliviousness is just that. Fear points out that the apocalypse occurred just because people ignored what was happening in front of them until it was too late.

Fear clearly has its differences from Walking Dead, and one of these main differences is in the filming of the show. Fear is fast paced and jittery; audiences get to experience the building panic of the characters and unknowing cities, whereas Walking Dead is slower and familiar. This show will be able to stand on its own, for how long I am not sure, but at least for this season and the next, which has already been set into motion. With its stellar cast, original plot, and already large fan base, Fear will surely flourish and become a hit on its own. Be sure to watch it this Sunday on AMC at 9pm.