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TV Series Review

Rest in peace? On AMC, that's purely wishful thinking.

On cable's prime locale for all things zombie-apocalyptic, the only dead at rest are those resting in pieces. Fans of AMC's wildly successful The Walking Dead learned a long time ago that the only surefire method to dispatch a so-called walker is with a bullet to the brain, which makes the title of this prequel—Fear the Walking Dead—less a title and more a superfluous command. I mean, do you really need to be told to fear the walking dead? It seems completely unnecessary.

Which, I guess, you could also say that about the show itself.

LET'S USE OUR BRRRRAAAAAIIIINNNNNS!

Fear the Walking Dead takes us back in time to a slightly more innocent, slightly less zombie-riddled era. Oh, sure, zombies are staggering out in force by Season Three, and civilization has definitely regressed a millennia or two. But things haven't quite gotten to the primal stage we see in The Walking Dead. People still drive cars and trucks. Regular food is still pretty easy to get for the most part. And in the midst of all the strange, inhuman goings-on, we find a few hints of humanity.

Take the family of Madison Clark, for instance. Back when the zombie apocalypse was more of an apoca-lapse, Madison was a high school guidance counselor with a live-in fiancé (Travis), an over-achieving daughter (Alicia) and a heroin-addicted son (Nick). And frankly, none of them were in all that great a place. As Alicia says, "My family was crazy before it all happened, and now we're just …"

Always at threat of becoming a zombie hors d'oeuvre? Well, yes. And Travis, alas, is no longer with us. But the rest of the family is together and, really, closer than ever. Nick is off drugs and has become a reasonably staunch family protector. Madison has transformed into a tough-as-nails warrior with still enough counselor in her to keep those around her safe and human.

Yes, there are scraps of civilization's previous ways still left, flapping in the breeze. But as the environment grows ever more barbaric and the zombies multiply like decaying, shambling rabbits, we understand that life (and death) will never be the same. Now our survivors are asking different questions: Can it still be worth living?

CHEW ON THIS, WHY DON'T YOU

There is no chance this zombie outbreak will be safely contained. AMC spoiled the story (so to speak) in advance when The Walking Dead premiered in 2010 on Halloween. Initially, Fear gave viewers a different world to digest—one where civilization might be teetering on the brink, but it hadn't collapsed altogether. Now that the zombie population is out and galumphing openly in the streets, The Walking Dead and Fear look and feel pretty similar in some respects. Instead of worrying about how the fear of zombies might impact the work day, Madison and her fellow survivors are brushing up on their best brain-bashing techniques.

Naturally, Fear's gore quotient has gone up considerably from its earlier days. We see levels of blood and brain matter here that might make even a Walker gag. Remember, this is a show about dead things eating us, and they're not known for their table manners. Blood and flesh and organs will certainly be a constant feature—as well as people saying really, really bad words when they stumble across a walker and/or his dinner. While it carried a TV-14 rating in its earlier days (a stretch even then), it's flat-out TV-MA now—the equivalent of an R movie rating. And even that, frankly, can seem a little low.

Sure, it's important to note that both of AMC's zombie shows have been more about the monsters living inside each of us than the shambling undead outside: It's about retaining one's humanity in inhumane times. And Fear—perhaps because it takes place earlier in the apocalypse, perhaps because it's writers are just sunny optimists—seems more apt to focus on that humanity. That's a good thing.

But personally, I like my dose of imperiled humanity served without all the blood and brains.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Fear the Walking Dead: June 24, 2017 "Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame"
Fear the Walking Dead: August 23, 2015 "Pilot"
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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