Many times on the site I’ve discussed my love and rabid fascination with the zombie films of George A. Romero, I’ve shared that magical Halloween night when I was first able to see Night of the Living Dead. Getting hooked by the slowly escalating thrills of our “heroes” being trapped in that infamous farm house scared me enough that I ended up stretching a cable down the hall so I could be a little closer to my family while I got my first taste of what a zombie apocalypse might look like.
Throughout the years I’ve always loved the zombie genre, sadly I found there were more bad zombie films than great ones…but I remained a true fan. Then slowly, like the steady march of the hordes of the undead the zombie genre itself began to be accepted, more so it began to thrive. Thanks in no small part to the Resident Evil series of games but it really seemed to blast off when Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore’s The Walking Dead comic series debuted back in 2003 but even that popularity was small compared to the fans that would flock to the television series adaptation of AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Now I will always be totally honest and I’ve mentioned it elsewhere but for my own personal tastes the Walking Dead TV series and I had to part ways after the third season. That doesn’t mean I didn’t check in on episode recaps from time to time to see how the survivors were faring as the series progressed, which is how I was clued into the prequel television series last year entitled Fear the Walking Dead.
I was lucky enough to catch the first episode and I was immediately hooked. Fear the Walking Dead which was created by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson (Sons of Anarchy) was what I desired in my zombie television series, just normal people with mostly everyday problems finding themselves thrust step by step into the realization they are living through a zombie apocalypse. That tension I remembered and loved from Night of the Living Dead was echoed in this new series, methodically ratcheting up as complete strangers are forced to band together but these people also demonstrate the very best in Human nature…well…most of the time.
Fear the Walking Dead introduces us to the Clark family who live in Los Angeles, with Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), a high school guidance counselor that is struggling along with her boyfriend, Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) and Daughter, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), with the spiraling chaos that is left behind by Madison’s Son, Nick (Frank Dillane) who is a heroin addict. Nick is in fact one of the first people to encounter the zombie outbreak up close and personal, waking up from a drug-fuled stupor, he is taken to a hospitial after fleeing from a safehouse and he is struck by a car. To the shows credit the writing for the characters is fantastic, these people aren’t cardboard cutouts…they are..believable.
The show doesn’t focus only on the Clarks as we also get to know Travis’ ex-wife Liza and their Son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie), they have an obvious rocky relationship made worse when the young man attends a rally against what is seen by most as Police shootings against unarmed people…the populace isn’t clued in on the the zombie outbreak at this point. That rally becomes a full on riot, with Liza and Travis barely able to keep Chris out of an even worse situation. Which is how we meet the Salazar family, Daniel (Ruben Blades!) and his Wife, Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spindola) and their Daughter Ofeila (Mercedes Mason) who begrudgingly give them shelter from the angry looters outside the Salazar barber shop.
There are supporting characters but the show’s main focus is on these three families and how they must come together if they want to have any hope of of finding refuge from the evident outbreak of the Walking Dead and the absolute collapse of civilization.
The series unlike with the Walking Dead doesn’t just drop us in the middle of everything having already gone down with the zombie uprising but frequently gives us a bird’s eye view of not just our main protagonists glimpse of the unfolding zombie chaos but how the media reacts and the Military…taking a page from Romero’s book, reminding us that most of the time the zombies aren’t the most dangerous thing to contend with.
Now thanks to our friends from Anchor Bay Entertainment starting tomorrow you can pick up the Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Special Edition on Blu-Ray and DVD! It includes all six episodes that make up the first season but also features:
Pilot Episode: The Widescreen Version
Inside “Fear the Walking Dead”
FEAR: The Beginning
Five Things You Need To Survive
Locations: LA and Vancouver
Stunts and Anarchy
The Faces of Fear – The Infected
But the Special Edition also includes Audio Commentaries on all six episodes:
Episodes 101 & 102: Co-Creator/Executive Producer Dave Erickson, Co-Executive Producer/Director Adam Davidson and Actor Kim Dickens
Episode 103: Co-Executive Producer David Wiener and Actor Alycia Debnam-Carey
Episode 104: Executive Producer David Alpert and Co-Executive Producer David Wiener
Episode 105: Executive Producer David Alpert and Co-Executive Producer/Writer David Wiener
Episode 106: Co-Creator/Executive Producer Dave Erickson and Actors Kim Dickens and Elizabeth Rodriguez
You can hop on over to Anchor Bay Entertainment or visit Amazon by clicking here to pre-order your copy of Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete First Season. If you consider yourself a fan of the Romero films that started it all I think you will find that Fear the Walking Dead will help sate that ravenous hunger for quality zombie entertainment.