I is for Infected

I

In the popular television series The Walking Dead, zombies are never, ever called zombies. Mostly they are called walkers, though other groups of people use other nicknames for the undead menace. In the spin-off Fear the Walking Dead, zombies are called ‘infected.’

I forced myself to watch episodes of Fear the Walking Dead yesterday, along with the season 2 opening episode. It still sucks. How can the same people that produced The Walking Dead produce this dreck? (Pardon my Yiddish.) They seem to have forgotten how to create compelling characters. Or they outsourced the character-creation job to some elderly Hollywood hacks.

Think of The Walking Dead, which from the first was centered around Rick Grimes. He was working for the Sheriff’s department and got shot in the line of duty. He woke up in the hospital, with no one around him except walkers. As a man with a wife and a child his first goal is to find his family. It’s a setup for a legendary epic struggle.

Fear the Walking Dead, on the other hand, starts of with a slew of stereotypical Los Angeles characters. The central ones are two school teachers— yeah, people who stay in school for their career and don’t know much about the real world. Each of the teachers is head of a fragmented family with one or two out-of-control teens. Neither parent seems to have been effective in training values or responsibility into the kids. These two families are connected by the fact that the parents are in a LIS relationship (cohabiting.)

This sounds more like a family melodrama made for the Lifetime channel than a zombie epic. Worse, after having watched the whole first season and the start of the second, I haven’t made an emotional connection to any of the characters, except for a vague interest in the junkie. They don’t seem like people to me, they seem like cardboard.  And the zombie menace doesn’t seem as real in this series, even the characters haven’t perfected their zombie-killing techniques.

What about you? Have you watched Fear the Walking Dead? Are there any characters YOU connected with? Do you think the characters will improve over time?

This is a post in the Blogging from A to Z challenge— yeah, I missed a few days. But I’m hoping to get on track now.  If YOU are also participating in the challenge, please give me your blog URL in a comment and I will visit you.

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First Impression of Fear the Walking Dead

So: the big day has arrived. ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ has had its first episode. Is it going to be as compelling as the original, or is it a pale imitation?

The episode started with a junkie waking up in an abandoned church. He calls out for someone named Gloria. Searching the desecrated church, he finds a dead body. Then he located the girl— who has become a walker and is chewing on the flesh of another dead body.

Panicked as the girl-walker prepares to attack him, the junkie flees out onto the street and into oncoming traffic, where he is hit by a car.

The junkie, as it turns out, is Nick, the son of Maddie, a high school guidance counselor currently living in sin with a teacher named Travis. Maddie freaks when she hears how her junkie son was raving when found.

It’s clear that Nick has encountered one of the earliest walkers in his area— but who’s going to believe the word of a junkie? Travis visits the church, which is a hangout for druggies, and does not find bodies— but does find a large blood stain.

This new Walking Dead series starts out at the very beginning of the zombie epidemic, when life is still essentially normal. Or as normal as it can possibly get in Los Angeles. This is in contrast to the original series which begins with Rick waking up in a hospital which is overrun with walkers.

I think it is a bit too early to judge the new series, but my first impression is that the characters don’t seem quite as compelling as the ones from the original series. Perhaps it is in part the Los Angeles setting. The original series has the advantage of being set in the real world (or what is left of it) rather than in the fantasyland/fairyland of Los Angeles. Who can take seriously characters in this setting?

For Christians there are certain concerns. First, the desecrated church. I’m sure that the producers of the series will claim it is just a coincidence, but the setting of a church with a fallen cross in the center, abandoned first to junkies and then to walkers, seems all of a part with the other series which paints no good picture of Christians. In the Walking Dead world, Christianity is at best a weakness, at worst the motivator of a skunk such as ‘Father’ Gabriel, the fallen Episcopal priest.

I am wondering if there was some sort of pressure against the original series for being too family-and-marriage oriented— Rick Grimes was married with kids, Carol was married with a daughter, there was Herschel’s family…. not very politically correct these days. At any rate the new series is centered on two single parents in a living-in-sin relationship. The people running the show describe them as a ‘blended family’ but actually at this point it’s just two fragmented families joined by the parents’ illicit relationship. (And the mom is a high school guidance counselor— which shows the true hell of Los Angeles and the rest of California, even before the walkers are added to the scene.)

In spite of the flaws— some of which are present in most entertainment these days— I think this series has potential. We will have to wait and watch a few more episodes to make a full evaluation.

Have you seen Fear the Walking Dead? What are your impressions? Will you continue to watch the show? Could it become as good as the original?

 

Is ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Something to be Excited About?

FTWDmainCan’t get enough of The Walking Dead? Next Sunday a second series, called Fear the Walking Dead, will begin. The first season will consist of six episodes.

This series starts at the beginning of the zombie epidemic, unlike TWD which begins some time into the zombie apocalypse. It is set in Los Angeles. (At this point you are allowed one Los Angeles joke along the lines of— zombies overrunning Lost Angeles, how will anyone be able to tell the difference?)

Reading up on the series it seems like the main group of characters are part of one of those ‘blended’ families we are all supposed to believe are equal to or better than regular families. And there is a Catholic character, Griselda Salazar. Here is a description: “Griselda is deeply religious and finds solace from her past with prayer, but prayer won’t protect her in this new world.” In other words, Catholic = weak. Well, you don’t expect a modern TV show to NOT have an anti-Christian message, do you?

If you are already hooked on The Walking Dead, are you excited about the new series? Do you think it will be as good as the original? Or will it disappoint? Please drop a comment with your opinion on the new series.

More information on Fear the Walking Dead
Fear the Walking Dead – AMC
Fear the Walking Dead (TV Series 2015– ) – IMDb
Fear the Walking Dead – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
So, What Exactly Is Fear the Walking Dead About? — Vulture
Fear The Walking Dead: What We Know So Far