Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!
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*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.
We’re a few weeks into the newest show by Robert Kirkman and his crew of zombie lovers, Fear The Walking Dead is supposed to take us to the time of the start of the zombie apocalypse. I was never 100% sold on this idea only because I have such love for the crew of The Walking Dead and I’ve never been a huge fan of spin off shows. They are rarely as good as the original source material.
So what do we have with FWD? Not much so far. The first episode, a long 90-minutes of television, goes on and on and ON about these characters that they desperately want us to care about. We have this family, Madison, Travis and Alicia. We have Madison’s son, the drug-addicted Nick and then we have Travis’ other family, his ex-wife Liza and his son Chris.
Got that so far?
In that 90-minutes we see our first zombie fairly quickly but what got me was the loud, dissonant music and weird filming as Nick discovers that his girlfriend has become one of the walking dead. He runs into the street (in weird slo-mo) and gets hit by a car.
Madison (his mother) gets the call and rushes to the hospital because her son had been missing for awhile now and they were all waiting for the call to tell them he was dead or in jail. No such luck mom, he’s alive and well… well, well-er than he should be considering the fact that he’s beginning withdrawal (but we’ll get to that).
In a slower than a turtle pace, we start to see cracks in the world, zombie-sized cracks but really never see another zombie again, it’s a disappointment to say the least. I won’t go into a critics of each episode but I will say that this past Sunday’s episode was much better than the one’s before it. There were more zombie’s for one and finally some conflict that’s not focused on characters we don’t care about. Though Travis is apparently in such denial that seeing his neighbor eating a dog isn’t quite enough for him to be convinced that something is actually wrong.
Oh yeah, here’s a point that is just irritating. Travis, his ex-wife and son are trapped in a barber shop (with the amazing Ruben Blades as Daniel) and when they get back to it, in the midst of a full-scale LA RIOT, his truck is fine. Despite the fact that people are setting fire to EVERYTHING and rocking cars off their tires. Oh yes, but this is Travis’ truck, it’s totally fine. All I could think was that if this was The Walking Dead, they would have found a burned out shell and had to walk back home. Just saying.
Here are my thoughts about the characters. I like Kim Dickens (who plays Madison), I most recently saw her on Sons Of Anarchy and she was great. I’m not sure how I feel about her here, while she is quickly beginning to realize that things are not okay and that they need to actually take care of the zombies instead of hoping for a cure, I find her to be a little … uninteresting. Here’s why; When you’re home, waiting for your husband to return with his other family and you saw your neighbors getting eaten, maybe don’t leave the lights on and the shades OPEN. Sure, it was super smart to distract Nick and Alicia with Monopoly but CLOSE THE SHADES and um, why the heck would you leave your door open when you leave your house?
She goes out with a hammer to kill her neighbor-turned-zombie and can’t do it because Travis talks her out of it because he still thinks these things are people. Sigh. Okay, sure, you don’t want to get into a fight about killing zombies because your hubby thinks they’re still human but dude, you should have DONE IT. One less zombie is, well, it’s one less zombie.
On another note, since when do drug addicts have better ideas than the non-drug addicts? Seriously, Nick remembered that their neighbor had a shotgun and goes out to get it. First rule of zombie apocalypse people, gather weaponry! I suspect that the mind-altering substances that Nick has ingested have made him more open to the idea of the dead walking the Earth. Go Nick! Though really, what’s up with your withdrawal? You look like one of the zombie’s and are kind of annoying 80% of the time but so far, out of all the annoying people on this show, you are my second favorite. My first favorite is the barber, Daniel Salazar (again, played by Ruben Blades). He knows what’s up. When asked about what’s going on in the world he responds with the super cool line, “It’s something to survive.”
Damn straight Daniel!!! I want you on my zombie killing team for sure.
What really gets me is the way that Madison tries to protect her daughter from seeing what’s actually happening. There is no point in keeping her from it, let her see it, freak out about it and move on to the acceptance part of the zombie apocalypse because I’m telling you, you’re not doing her any favors by keeping her in the dark. Besides that, I have a small issue with both Alicia’s and Madison’s zombie escaping attire, who wouldn’t wear short shorts and a tank top when going off on the run to escape the apocalypse? And heeled boots, oh sure, totally practical. Madison, you and me, we gotta talk about your footwear choices. Heels are NOT going to cut it in the world of The Walking Dead. I promise you that you’re going to want flat shoes with a good, comfortable sole that’s good for running. Cars only last so long.
I know, I know, they aren’t living in a world where the zombie mythos exists. I know that. I also know it’s a fictional show but does it have to be lazy too? There are few things that annoy me more in the TV world than lazy writing. Don’t assume your audience is dumb. Treat us like we’re wicked smart and give us something to think about (Hannibal was a great example of this).
More than anything, I want this show to be as good, as compelling and as interesting as The Walking Dead and I’m not sure that’s possible. I remember being instantly engaged in what WD had to offer, right away I found the plight of Rick Grimes to be exciting stuff. I do not feel engaged to this blended family of soon-to-be survivors. What I would love to see is Madison taking control (ala Rick Grimes) and showing Travis what it means to be a survivor. There are hints of that in the way she is reacting versus the way he is reacting so maybe Kirkman and crew will show us something. I have to say that you can see Madison trying to work things out, trying to make sense of the situation and you can also see that this woman is a survivor. She has strength in her, it’s bubbling to the surface and I can only hope she gets a chance to flex those muscles (figuratively and literally) before the season is out.
Only time will tell. I still have hope that FWD will get better, to that end I’ll keep watching and updating my blog, fingers crossed these characters grow on me and start doing smart things instead of annoying and/or dumb things. Actually, I’m going to cross my fingers AND toes just to be safe.
Now, you all tell me, what do you think of Fear The Walking Dead? Is it a dud or does it have potential? Sound off in the comments!