Thursday, 4 October 2018

Thoughts on #FearTheWalkingDead... compared with #TWD! #TWDFamily

Anyone remember that show about a woman called Madison and her family and friends, surviving the zombie apocalypse in LA, Texas and Mexico?  Just wondered, because yesterday I finished Season 4, and felt like I'd been watching a different series from the one I started two months ago.

TWD obsessed though I am, I never watched Fear The Walking Dead.  Tried a couple of times, couldn't get into it.  Then Morgan went off to join its cast, so it became a 'must'.  I started at S1:1 and liked it well enough, some episodes in particular, such as S2:8 Grotesque, in which Nick wandered off on his own towards Tijuana.  My problem with it was that I didn't really give much of a stuff about any of the characters apart from Nick.  I quite liked Madison and Strand, but Ofelia, Alicia, Daniel, Travis, Chris and various others whose names I've now forgotten I'd have happily seen get 'bit' (though I did think the episode in which Travis tried to stop Chris from going off with those guys who killed him was another memorable one).

Then came Season 4.  Enter Morgan ~ and the show went from sunny to grey, with an almost completely altered cast.  I liked how the first half went back and forth in time to show how Alicia, Strand, etc had got to this point; it's a structure that's always effective, but it seemed a bit too neatly tied up.  I'm guessing viewers didn't like Madison so it didn't matter how she was despatched - who knows.  Yesterday, though, I watched the final three episodes of S4, and came to this conclusion: it's the Happy Shopper version of the 'real' TWD.  Stronger now that it's completely changed, but it's just not so compelling.

Take, for instance, the two-character-only episode in the storm, featuring the so-cardboard-I'm-tempted-to-fast-forward-through-their-scenes Alicia and Charlie (also discussed on Teri Polen's blog).  Then compare it with the excellent TWD S6:4 He's Not Here, featuring Morgan and Eastman.  

....or the Rick/Carl ~ Daryl/Beth episodes of S4.  Or, of course, The Grove.  Triumphs of dialogue and characterisation, all. 

Afterwards, I went back and watched one of my favourites: TWD S5:9, What happened and what's going on, in which Tyreese dies, and I thought, this is just so much better.  Bottom line: I care what happens to these people, whereas even marvellous actors like Lennie James and Gareth Dillahunt have a job to make FTWD work.  

Don't get me wrong, I do like it enough to keep watching it, because, hey, it's TWD, but....several people poisoned with antifreeze for which the antidote is ethanol, and there just happens to be a tanker of it outside?  Then it's punctured with bullets and not one of them manages to stagger forward with a cup to collect some, despite having had the energy to despatch a whole load of walkers?  Carol would have sorted it out, no problem!  Or was this any more unlikely than Carol's saving the day at Terminus?  Maybe not, but that worked, while this just made me think, really?

I wondered if the whole 'escaping from the roof' thing was intended to mirror the fabulous TWD S1:2 Guts ~ but somehow, even though I'd only just 'met' Rick, T-Dog, Glenn, etc, when I first watched TWD, I cared more about what happened to them than I do about the FTWD grifter woman and her brother; I can't even recall their names.

I hope Morgan will save FTWD ~ if not, we will welcome him back to Alexandria, and he can bring John with him!

Talking of which..... yes, October 7th draws near!  I have watched the trailer but make a point of not reading spoiler articles; if you're an addict, you probably know more about what's going to happen than I do.  I still can't believe Rick's really leaving... I finished my TWD watching session yesterday with the last two episodes of S8, and got all damp-eyed about this, all over again.....

In the meantime, if you haven't seen the S9 trailer yet (of course you have, but you'd like to see it again, wouldn't you??), here it is. 


  1. Thanks for the shoutout, Terry! I agree - saving this show is up to Lennie James and Gareth Dillahunt. And yes - eyes were rolled when there just happened to be an ethanol truck in the parking lot - and then again when no one saved any of it. Really? My eyes are hurting from all the rolling. Excited about the season premiere on Sunday!

    1. They've got a hard job ahead, indeed! I think I actually said 'Oh, come on' out loud, with the ethanol bit, even though I was watching it on my own!! Then they all got better by drinking beer??? Which is only about 4% alcohol??? Ha ha! Yes, roll on Monday (for us in the UK!!)