Plot: What’s it about?
With the success of The Walking Dead, it was only a matter of time before they capitalized on it and did a spinoff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Even some of the better shows in television that have run their course have had spinoffs that have made a name for themselves as well. I’m thinking of Cheers that spinoff into Frasier, the Star Trek universe seems virtually unstoppable as does Law and Order. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Better Call Saul, the spinoff to Breaking Bad. So if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead and are getting a bit tired of seeing Rick and the gang trapse through the forests of Georgia, maybe it’s time to take a trip back to when the zombie apocalypse first started? Admittedly it’s an interesting concept and might answer some questions that fans have been wondering for years. Let’s take a trip to the coast, set the clock back a few years and see where and how it all began.
The first season of Fear the Walking Dead introduces us to the main set of players. As fans of The Walking Dead know, however, we might not get too attached to any one character as their time might be, well, limited. We meet Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), a high school guidance counselor who’s new boyfriend, Travis (Cliff Curtis) happens to be an English teacher. He’s got a family as does she, both with some issues. But there’s something rotten in the city of Los Angeles and it’s not long that the city is in peril, the military has taken over and there seems to be a “sickness” that’s infecting folks. As Travis and Madison manage to escape most of the turmoil, they encounter a few others and are held “secure” in their own homes by the military. But there’s something more going on here…
Running only 6 episodes, Fear the Walking Dead gives us just enough to whet our collective whistles. We’ve gotten to meet some of the characters, see their turmoil and problems and how they interact with one another. By the end of the run, it’s clear that we have an idea as to what to expect, but I’m willing to bet we’ll be thrown a few curves as well. I’m sure that everyone reading this will most likely know, but in case you don’t…this takes place about a month before the first season of The Walking Dead (essentially the time during when Rick was shot and when he wakes up in the hospital in the first episode of the first season). You’re welcome. We’re in for a treat with this spinoff and as much as I hate to add it to my lineup, I’ve got a new show to watch.
Video: How’s it look?
There’s certainly a different look and feel to this series as opposed to its predecessor. The sun-baked look of Los Angeles is certainly a far cry from the backwoods forests of Georgia. The 1.78:1 AVC HD image certainly looks the part though, as I was hard-pressed to find much, if anything, to complain about. The show is brand new, so we can rest assured that detail will be sharp, colors bold and strong and the like. One of the few things the supplements actually made me realize is that since the zombies are “new” they don’t have that decomposed look to them. And, sure enough, they’re right. We don’t see the undead walking around missing jaws or limbs, rather they look – well – normal (if that’s possible). Suffice it to say that there are no complaints as to how this looks visually.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included Dolby TrueHD soundtrack also serves its purpose. There weren’t a lot of reasons for the show to flex its muscle, maybe a tank here or there and a helicopter, but nothing that really tested the limits of my setup. By and large, this is a dialogue-driven show and the vocals are clear, crisp and clean. Surrounds are active during a few of the more action-oriented scenes, but not much more. It’s a nice, well-rounded track that’s sure to satisfy.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of supplements to sink our teeth into. Granted there are only 6 episodes to choose from, but some more extras might have sweetened the deal.
- A Look at the Series – A four minute overview of the concept of the show by a few of the show’s executive producers. This is essentially a glorified trailer for the show with some commentary by the show’s creators.
- Inside the Characters of Fear the Walking Dead – An ever shorter “look” at some of the show’s characters with, believe it or not, some redundant dialogue from the above feature. We get some quips from the main stars about the show and their respective roles.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a rabid fan of The Walking Dead and wanted a bit of a change (but still within the confines of the Walking Dead universe) then this might be for you. It’s a different perspective of what we’ve come to know and love for the past few years. The Blu-ray delivers what it’s supposed to, though the lack of any “meaty” (sorry, couldn’t resist) supplements might be a turn off for some.