The Walking Dead will get a spin off series this summer, the air date has been revealed as August. Anyway, normally when we think of spin offs, we kind of have an ingrained bias that they are something inferior, a dilution of the product so to speak. That’s especially the case with a series that is enormously popular like The Walking Dead. It is a steamroller. But it’s little brother, Fear the Walking Dead, might just be the refreshment many of us have been looking for, five years into seeing the same faces kick the same ass in the main series…
The Grimes crew – annoyingly invincible
I enjoy The Walking Dead but to me the shine has worn off it. We have definitely long since passed the honeymoon phase with the main series. Which isn’t to say it’s bad – I still watch each episode straight away. That said, the main problem with that series for me, one that has been there for a while, is that the central crew just have the whole thing licked. They walk around and wander with impunity, like gypsies who are the baddest motherfuckers in the valley, fearing no-one. It’s just a case of who the next humans they’re going to own are going to be.
That takes away part of the fun in a zombie story.
One of the things that made George Romero’s zombie movies fun was that feeling of claustrophobia and doom. His central characters always had their backs against the wall, which were figuratively and literally closing in. They were normal people being tested in abnormal situations. And that’s where I’m hoping Fear the Walking Dead is headed. It’s almost like a reboot of the main series. I know I’m not the only one who actually enjoyed the TellTale games more than the actual series because of the overlaying oppressiveness, where anyone could buy the farm at any minute.
FUD – Fear, uncertainty and doubt
The premise: Set in Los Angeles, the series follows a male divorced teacher, a female guidance counselor, and her two children–a son and a daughter–in the zombie apocalypse. Straight away it substitutes the badass cop with a more layman teacher and a guidance counselor. These people are normal and since this is set at the outset of the apocalypse, normal people in an abnormal situation translates to panic.
I am kind of looking forward to seeing a small group of humans deal with a zombie outbreak from day one, where every character on screen doesn’t have God-mode reflexes and combat capability against a handful of zombies. Instead, I look forward to everyday people, you know, like you and me, versus an army of zombies. Rarely in the main series do I fear for any of the cast members, especially those who have been in there since the start. That makes things predictable. Here, maybe we can expect that to be different.
The creators of this series actually have an opportunity to make what has often been a near-perfect zombie series into one that is a lot closer to perfect. We’ll retain the great production values of the main series without (hopefully) getting bogged down in Rick Grimes’ He-Man inconveniences. They need to put some fear, uncertainty and doubt back into the ‘Walking Dead’… this is their chance. Perhaps the hope is in the title…