I looked forward to this show for a long time after it was first announced. As a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic I naturally find the television adaptation of the series a bit disappointing. I still like the show but only when I consider it separate from the base material. The Walking Dead can get really slow at times and I explain to people all the time that they have to slow the series down with “filler” episodes in order to avoid catching up to the source of the story. The show is rapidly catching up to where the series is in current publication and I can’t see Robert Kirkman spoiling his series like George R.R. Martin has done for HBO with Game of Thrones. So if they catch up with the comics what are they to do but let this cash cow dwindle and earn only what they can get with syndication?
With this new original series I saw so much potential because it doesn’t have to slow down with filler episode. It isn’t limited to the base material like its big sister series is and there is nothing but budget to hold it back from being nonstop excitement. For example, in The Walking Dead if nothing else we can be certain that nothing will happen to either Rick or Carl, as far as their lives are concerned that is. Granted they surprised us all by killing off Andrea but she was a much different character than we see in the comics. Nevertheless this new series has the opportunity to do anything and surprise us in ways that the original couldn’t hope to do.
After watching the third episode of Fear The Walking Dead I still see plenty of potential but I am nevertheless disappointed above all else. To start, I think the show would take a big step in the right direction by immediately killing off the junkie son, the dad, and the mom. The sister is alright, the dad’s old family is cool, and obviously this new Latino character is going to be awesome but they should just ax the rest of them quickly. They are hopelessly unlikable characters that do more to annoy us as viewers than hold our interest.
Let’s start with the junkie son, played by Frank Dillane. I have a big problem with this guy because I specifically hate watching anything involving junkies. That aside, I think everything else just serves to harden that opinion. Why would anybody under the sun ever listen to a junkie during a crisis? The guy keeps saying things and almost stands as the leader among the small group occasionally. Why is this guy even allowed to talk at all? The guy is lucky he wasn’t strung out and in an alley when the shit started and eaten by a zombie. He has no business throwing his opinions around like he knows anything other than the addiction that guides his thinking. In a crisis situation, or any situation for that matter, a junkie is nothing more than a liability. What’s this guy doing when nobody is looking? Well he’s doing what junkies do, searching for his next fix. Whether he is searching desperately through a bathroom for anything he can get his hands on or taking a screwdriver to his neighbors windows he is just not worth the trouble. This guy is a loser and I cannot stand him. When his mom protests him crushing up the Oxy pills, you know the ones she risked her life to steal for him, he looks at her and says “Whose the expert here?” That kid isn’t the expert, he’s the junkie trying to get there faster and he is not to be trusted. Maybe if they did what they should have done and fed him to the Asian zombie neighbor maybe she would have been preoccupied when her husband came home and not had to be shot in his arms with him completely unaware of what is going on. The guy can’t even make it through half an episode before begging for more in a really annoying scene that captures how pathetic this guy is. Come on AMC get rid of this loser character, or at the very least cut his lines by 75%.
The dad, played by Cliff Curtis, I just don’t really like. Can’t really put my finger on what it is specifically but he just rubs me the wrong way. He’s kind of rude at times and overextending at others. I could live with him though whereas I can’t stomach the junkie at all. The dad still has potential to evolve as a character but so far he seems hopelessly unprepared for both life and the situation at hand.
The enabling mother on the other hand, played by Kim Dickens, I have no interest in seeing her character evolve. She just seems to always say and do the wrong thing. Whether she is stealing narcotics for her junkie son or simply suggesting a wildly out of place family board game while her neighbors across the street get murdered I just think she is ridiculous. If she so stupidly asks “what’s going on?” again I’ll be somewhere throwing my arms up in disgust. In episode 2 when she is pleading with someone over the phone about how her some needs meds because he is in pain I wish the person on the other end of the phone would say, “mam, you’re son is a loser junky, tell him to grow some balls and kick the habit like a man.” It makes a lot more sense to just steal drugs and keep getting him high to avoid the inevitable. I really don’t like the mom or her son.
I really hate these characters but not all of them. I think the daughter wins by comparison simply by not being annoying like her family. The angry teenage son from the dad’s first marriage seems cool and I think he may have it more together than his father does. I also like his mother too, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez, because she exhibits strength and the potential to be a great character. The Latino barber, played by Ruben Blades, is obviously on his way to being a badass of the apocalypse but he has it right about his companions. They are weak and this show would be better off to weed them out sooner rather than later.
Despite my disappointments I still see enough to keep me interested and I think the show will develop into a fantastic series in time. I look forward to where it is going and I look forward to the next season of The Walking Dead that will come out next month. However, the only thing I simply can’t wait for is the next Walking Dead Wednesday when the new issue of the comic comes out. If you haven’t started reading what actually started this whole thing you are really missing out.