Despite a surprising amount of negative chatter from numskulls across social media, and the occasional displeased post from usually spot-on blogs, the premier of Fear The Walking Dead was actually pretty good.
Yes, it started off slow. Yes, there were only two zombies in the whole episode. That’s because Fear The Walking Dead is about the downfall of society from the very beginning of the zombie apocalypse. There weren’t going to be hordes of undead chasing after people in the first episode…because it just started!
Much of the premier was about getting the viewers familiar with the cast of characters Fear The Walking Dead will center around. One of the reasons we love the original Walking Dead so much is because we have come to know the characters on such a personal level. If people think The Walking Dead wasn’t slow in the beginning, I implore you, go re-watch seasons one through three. Fear The Walking Dead managed to do in one and a half hours what The Walking Dead took several seasons to do.
Without a trial by fire, we need a bit of character building from very basic, familiar activities: going to work, going to school, struggling with family drama, etc.. How many junkies do you actually care about in TV shows? If you’re like me, I don’t sympathize with very many. Nick, on the other hand, has become a highly sympathetic character by the end of the first episode. With everyone around him thinking he’s just messed up, he starts to doubt his own sanity. When his family finally sees what he saw at the end of the episode I was quite happy for him to achieve some vindication.
One of the things I most loved about the premier was that the zombie apocalypse already began before we even meet these new characters. From first-hand accounts, and snippets of internet rumor, we garner that “something” has been happening across the country for at least a little while. I’m overjoyed that we still won’t ever see the official “start” of the zombies, and that we’re just getting a very early look at the event.
Fear The Walking Dead did indeed start off slow, but there was a palpable anxiety throughout the entire episode that culminated in a beautiful ending where this otherwise average American family witnesses a corpse rising again and again to their abject horror. We the viewers got a chance to see a beautiful crescendo of images, and emotions, that eventually thrust us into the throws of society’s downfall.
If the first episode was too slow for some, I hope they stick around. This show will always have a different feel that The Walking Dead. It’s supposed to. Robert Kirkman is getting a chance to do something original for TV in a world he created over a decade ago with paper and ink. Give it a chance, let it grow. I have no doubt that by the end of these six episodes people will be talking about Fear The Walking Dead with the same reverence and wonder as it’s progenitor.