Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes, Travis Manawa and his family did not sleep through
the zombie uprising, but they still never saw it coming. Like the Spanish
Inquisition, nobody expects the zombie apocalypse. LA traffic and attitudes only
makes the problem of undead hordes worse in Fear the Walking Dead—the Complete First Season (trailer here), the AMC Walking Dead prequel series now
available on DVD and BluRay.
far as viewers know, Nick Clark is the first person to see zombies and live to
tell the tale. Unfortunately, as a heroin junkie who ran into traffic, nobody
will give his warnings much credence, not even Clark himself. Frankly, his widowed
mother Madison Clark and sister Alicia are rather glad to have him in the
hospital, where he can presumably be watched for his own good. However, this is
an unusually busy day for emergency services, allowing him to slip out.
and her high school teacher boyfriend Travis Manawa will try to track him down,
but the city seems to be crazier than usually. There have been a rash of police
shootings in which the bodies are absolutely riddled with bullets. Like a
budding Tarantino, Manawa’s son Chris is eager to protest the cops’ presumed
excessive force. Naturally he takes to the streets to protest at a rather
inopportune time. Manawa and Clark will try to round up their respective kids
and ex-wives, in hopes they can ride out the unrest somewhere in the desert,
until in a case of classic good news-bad news, the military imposes martial
the initial episodes are also rather sparing in their depictions of zombies, the
first season of Fear is considerably
grabbier than year one of the mother franchise. Of course, having Cliff Curtis
(of Whale Rider and Once Were Warriors) to anchor the series
helps tremendously. While Manawa starts out likeably square and straight-arrow,
Curtis believably takes him to some dark places as the first season progresses.
He also develops some believable chemistry with Kim Dickens’ Clark. Ruben
Blades adds further heft as Daniel Salazar, an El Salvadoran barber who
reluctantly offers the Manawas shelter during a riot.
far, the younger generation is not keeping up its end as well, but poor Frank
Dillane is sort of stuck playing annoying junkie behavior as the needs-to-be-killed-off
Nick Mason. Alycia Debnam-Carey also shows some promise and poise as Alicia
Mason, but Lorenzo James Henrie’s personality-free Chris Manawa could get eaten
by zombies and viewers would barely notice. Unfortunately, the always reliable Sandrine
Holt’s talents are largely wasted on Dr. Exner, who hardly gets any character
development until it is too late, but Colman Domingo (who helped rock Passing Strange) pretty much steals the
show when he appears in the late episodes as Nick Clark’s mysterious protector,
Victor Strand. He is reason enough to comeback for a second season.
Season one of Fear also ends more decisively than the first season of the
original Walking Dead. It reaches an
emotional crescendo for the main characters totally in keeping with what fans
expect. Needless to say, not everyone will return for season two. Leaving
viewers primed for more, Fear the Walking
Dead—the Complete First Season is good zombie television (but it still
cannot compare to the George Romero movies that so clearly inspired its world).
Recommended for zombie fans, it releases today on DVD and BluRay, from Anchor
Labels: Cliff Curtis, DVD, Ruben Blades, Sandrine Holt, Zombies