‘Fear the Walking Dead’s Pilot Episode Forgot the Zombies

Do you remember how pissed off you were when you watched that godawful Green Lantern movie and Sinestro put on the yellow ring during the last ten seconds and you just wonder… darn it, why did it take 90 minutes to tease us with something awesome and then end?

Yeah, hold on to that feeling because you’re going to need it.

Here we have Fear the Walking Dead, a companion series to The Walking Dead, set in Los Angeles during the early days of the zombie breakout.  It’s about an unorthodox family:  Mom Madison, her boyfriend Travis, and her two teenage kids, druggie and whiny.

It’s a family drama and totally not at all like The Walking Dead.

A lot like Caprica was totally not a lot like Battlestar Galactica and we all remember how riveting that was.

Here’s the deal…  Fear the Walking Dead’s pilot is an okay family drama, but nothing I would choose to watch if it didn’t bear The Walking Dead’s brand.  I understand that this show is supposed to be on a slow burn and it’s more than evident by the events in this episode that the producers weren’t kidding about that and, in that, I see the problem.  It’s too slow… too methodical… it’s not balanced.  This episode was 99 percent family drama and 1 percent Walking Dead.  While I see the promise this show holds of being in the middle of a densely populated area as civilization crumbles around you, it needs to find a better balance and stick with it.

Surely those days are ahead.

There’s almost an arrogance here — the same arrogance that we saw when Caprica lurched onto the airwaves — that the fans of The Walking Dead will watch anything related to The Walking Dead and if Caprica taught us anything, we know that is not true.  It’s easy… so so easy to lose an audience and, rather than doing something slow and methodical, Fear the Walking Dead should be doing its darnedest to retain the core audience and not put them to sleep.

There weren’t any scares, hardly any zombies, minimal mayhem, and trite and tired plotting that seemed more suited to an after school special on the dangers of drugs.  I’m not about to jump ship on this series just yet, but I’m a patient guy and I’m going to give Fear the Walking Dead a chance, but as of now all I can say is that this had better be the slowest episode of the season and it had better start ramping up, otherwise this series could end up being the That 80’s Show of the Walking Dead‘s pantheon.

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