The Walking Dead is a cultural phenomenon. What is more of a talking point though, is the question of what catapulted the show straight into the stratosphere.
The prime suspects are the stellar acting performances and slow-burning plot lines. The Walking Dead is blockbuster writing condensed for a TV audience, and cabin fever on a grand scale. It’s easy to see why The Walking Dead is so popular: it caters to the masses with a simple premise and powerful drama.
Fear The Walking Dead, however, is a totally different beast. A companion show for the original, Fear isn’t designed to twist and turn with huge personalities throwing curve-balls into the plot every few hours. It uses the backbone of its parent show to show a world before the Walkers were commonplace, with an all-new cast.
Competing with a goliath of the small screen is always a tricky task though, even if you share writers between the two projects: just ask Better Call Saul or Torchwood. When Fear begins, it feels somewhat empty; this is a mirror of such a beloved show without the characters we love. It starts off with a similarly smouldering tone, but it soon evolves into its own thing as it unfolds.
Fear is more intense than its fright-filled parent show though. Kim Dickens carries the show fairly well, and the actual discovery of the Walkers is as chilling as anything in The Walking Dead. The problem comes that we already know the outcome. It feels predictable, lethargic and lacking excitement, but its main flaw is that it doesn’t stand alone as an original enough show on its own.
That’s not to say Fear is unwatchable; it’s entertaining enough, just in a different way. It’s intended as an extension of The Walking Dead, and unfortunately that’s all it might end up being remembered for. It’s a good look at another side of a well-known universe, and it’s nice to connect some dots, but it’s just not as charismatic.