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DVD Review

DVD cover

Fear the Walking Dead
The Complete First Season


Starring: Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Mercedes Mason, Lorenzo James Henrie and Rubén Blades
Distributor: Entertainment One
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 07 December 2015

Set in a city where people come to bury their pasts, a mysterious outbreak threatens to disrupt what little stability high school guidance counsellor Madison Clark and English teacher Travis Manawa have managed to assemble, The everyday pressure of blending two families while dealing with resentful children takes a back seat when society begins to break down, and as the necessary survival of the fittest takes hold, they must either reinvent themselves or embrace their darker histories...

Fear the Walking Dead is a spin-off series from AMC's popular The Walking Dead. Unlike its parent show, Fear the Walking Dead is set before the events of The Walking Dead. What we see here is the slow breakdown of society as the zombie plague takes hold.

This first season is set in that 4-5 week period that The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes is unconscious in hospital. Like the first season of The Walking Dead, the first season of this new show is also comprised of only six episodes. However, partly because we already know what's going to happen, and because a lot of the action is just people sat around in their houses with the lights flickering, this new show seems a little flat in comparison to what has gone before.

I think, probably the biggest problem I had with the show is its general lack of likeable characters. In fact, without spoiling too much, the two most honest characters are dead by the end of the season.

I can't believe that within a couple of weeks, that Madison, a high school guidance counselor, would be complicit with the torturing of a young man. I know that the end result will be that she finds out where the army have taken her junky son, but still it makes her come across as a more unlikable character.

I couldn't stand Nick, Madison's heroin addict son. He is a character almost totally devoid of any likable qualities. I was surprised that they didn't use his odd limp to have someone confuse him for one of the zombies.

Elements that I did enjoy include the origins of Daniel Salazar, a refugee from Salvador who is now a barber in America. It's interesting that they haven't gone the usual route of having him as a poor innocent refugee, fleeing to America to escape persecution. There's a much darker edge to the character.

Also, with the plague only just taking off, there are no rotten zombies (unless they were mauled by other zombies before they turned) and there is an interesting and rather touching scene were Madison discovers that her neighbour has turned. She is left with a dilemma about whether to kill this woman, Susan, who was her friend when she was alive.

Extras include: A Look at the Series (4 min - which explores the origins of the show); and Inside the Characters (2 min, 46 sec - break down of the main cast).

There was a problem with the subtitles, in that if you chose the hard of hearing option any foreign dialogue isn't translated for you. For that you need to choose another subtitle option, which isn't included in the set up menu, and I think is switched on by default when the discs start up).

Overall, I didn't find this introduction to the show interesting enough to make it essential viewing. So far it seems a poor offspring to its parent show. In fact, it was only the introduction of Victor Strand, a mysterious wealthy man, that made the concluding episodes become a little more interesting. It could be that this character will save the show spiraling into mediocrity in the next season.


Darren Rea

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