Note: Slight spoilers for the first episodes of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead follow.
For the opening episode of a spinoff of one of AMC's most successful shows, I thought Fear the Walking Dead's first episode was good. I know some people will think that it was boring, and I will admit that it felt like it dragged in places, but I also feel that the show is trying to be different from the original Walking Dead. And that is a good thing.
In the first episode of the The Walking Dead, we don't see how the zombie apocalypse starts. The first ten or fifteen minutes show the main character, Officer Rick Grimes, talking with his partner before getting involved in a shootout that leaves him in a coma. When he wakes up, the world as we know it has already fallen, and the new one has started. It was a great way to introduce the viewers to his show. It also had some really good music and a great action scene in Atlanta at the end of it.
But we never seen how the Atlanta, or anywhere else in this world, fell to the zombie apocalypse. We were like Rick. We basically came into this show with this new world already in place. And that isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, that is something I really like about this show. But aside from a couple flashbacks in season 2, we don't see the modern world becomes one filled with 'Walkers,' as the show commonly calls the zombies.
That's where Fear the Walking Dead comes in, and why I'm very excited for this show. It's going to tell a story that either the original Walking Dead or comic has told; how a city (Los Angeles) fell when this started. And the first episode is off to a good start with it. It actually shows how some people these days would find out about people mysteriously 'coming back to life', in that they watch videos of these incidents on their phones or read about it online. It has a 'calm before the storm' feel to it, because anyone who's watched the original show knows where the world of FTWD is going.
But instead of diving headfirst into the zombie apocalypse, the first episode of this spinoff focuses on the characters. They are a dysfunctional family who have some issues. (Some of which I don't believe I can get into here, so I won't) FTWD shows our lead characters, Travis and Madison, trying to get their family together as the former as moved in with Madison and her two children Nick and Alicia. Travis is also trying to repair his relationship with his biological son Chris. It's basically stuff you would see in a drama TV show these days, except with zombies popping up here and there.
I'm actually glad that FTWD is taking this slower approach with its story. I know it doesn't make for the most exciting TV to watch, and some people will probably not watch it because of this. But this also helps to separate it from The Walking Dead a bit, as if its telling viewers 'we do take place in the same world as TWD, but here's how we are different.' I do think that using this kind of storytelling for a show like this is taking a risk, and we won't be able to say that it was successful or if it failed until the first season ends. And even then that success or failure of FTWD is up to one's individual opinion on this show when that time comes.
But based on the previews of the upcoming episodes, chaos is coming to erupt soon. We will hopefully see how Los Angeles falls, and how our new characters survive it and adapt to their new world later on. And I can't wait to see it.