So AMC, the network behind hit series The Walking Dead, was not content with one show featuring brain-hungry zombies torturing survivors in wasteland America that they had to release a spinoff. It’s called—dun, dun, dun—Fear the Walking Dead! And honestly, there’s a lot to be frightened about, except much of it has nothing to do with the unstoppable undead in spite of promotional photos like this:
The pilot episode, which aired last August 23 in the US, is a mediocre product compared to the nuanced, edge-of-your-seat thrill fest the original series provides. Set in Los Angeles during the onset of the zombie apocalypse, the prequel focuses on the lives of a California family pummeling through personal issues as walkers start littering the streets of Hollywood.
It sounds like a great premise, but in reality it’s kind of mindless, slow-paced, and desperate—much like a zombie. And the scariest thing about it? The fact that it was allowed to assault the public. Here are five other factors that made the first episode less fear-filled than expected.
1) THE FAMILY DRAMA ANGLE IS JUST PUSHED TOO HARD
Fear plays out like an episode of some conservative family drama rather than that of an epic thriller. The central figures babble on about their personal struggles, and frankly it’s just kind of boring. Horror fans understand the need to build bonds between the characters in order to make killing them in the future all the more painful. So where’s the blood? Where’s the gore? They might be saving the guts and severed limbs for future episodes, but at the rate that things are unfolding, people might not be willing to wait.
2) THE PILOT FEELS LIKE A PSA FOR ILLEGAL DRUG USE
One of the more interesting protagonists is Frank, a burnout heroin junkie who becomes the viewer’s initial harbinger of doom. In the prologue, he gets up from a drugged-up stupor, searching for his equally strung-out girl. When he finds her, she’s already infected and munching on a homeless person. Of course, nobody believes Frank. He’s a smack-head crying wolf! He was hallucinating! He wasn’t in the proper state of mind. Okay, we get it: Heroin is bad. It’s even worse if there’s an impending zombie epidemic.
3) ZOMBIE COUNT: VERY, VERY LOW
For a show about rabid flesh-eaters, there aren’t much of them here.
Yes, this is episode one and they’re probably going to bring out the big guns later on. But remember how the pilot of The Walking Dead ended with Rick stuck in a tank as a mob of walkers closed in? That’s what’s missing here, a sense of inevitable dread to look forward to.
"I'm sorry I made you watch this horrible show, kids!"
4) WHERE’S THE SUSPENSE?
The most frightening scene in the span of one hour comes from a bum hiding in the dark. It’ll send chills down your spine.
5) YOU’LL WANT TO PUNCH THE TEENAGERS IN THE FACE!
Remember how Carl was grating on your nerves for being a prepubescent prick in TWD? Well, the creators enjoyed the hateful revolt for youth so much that they made the adolescents in this outing just as (if not more) prissy and pretentious. They’re either angry at their parents, rebelling from their parents, or coming to school in a the-world-is-going-to-end state of mind. It’s so depressing and mundane that the show can actually be used as a contraceptive.