There are no spoilers in the following review... I'm not that cruel. I will spoil one thing though.... If you have high hopes of "The Walking Dead L.A." you'll be really disappointed.
This isn't a CSI, same story/different city spin-off.
No, it's much better.
This is story of what was happening while our favourite cop, Rick Grimes was in a coma in a Georgian hospital unwittingly surviving the end of civilisation as we know it. You see, they're everywhere. We're all impregnated with a virus which turns the dead into a horrifically scary, flesh craving, mindless being. The same happens should you be bitten by one these "walkers" in their permanent cannibalistic state, (I'll do my best not to mention the dreaded "Z word").
Now for the fear....
Maddie and Travis are typical and modern parents dealing with real world family issues but these issues are about to be somewhat minute in comparison with the real world.
In typical The Walking Dead (or TWD) fashion, we're skipping the spacetime continuum with this spin off and figuratively looking through the eyes of our above family when the outbreak is in its infancy.
As an avid TWD fan, it's almost bizarre because this time as a viewer we don't need a crystal ball to see the future, we know this is going to get ugly but even though I knew what was coming I still found myself laughing out loud with an evil belly laugh, a laugh I'm only known to have while watching TWD.
Fear The Walking Dead's opening scene delivers some slight-of-hand which throws you. We open in the squaller we've become accustom to in the original series. A dingy, derelict building doused in in nothing but bad vibes, unfortunately it turns out to be nothing short of a crackhouse and the current address of our no fixed address main character. Nick.
This sets the scene for the rest of the show as the writers introduce the rest of our real-world main character family. They all have a story, life experience and personal depth. The premiere peppers their strengths and weaknesses evenly throughout and you'll find yourself learning on the edge of your seat!
Our family matriarch is a ballsy character, Madison Clark (played by Kim Dickens). Strong, brave and fearless but at the same time loving and humble. You soon connect with the characters and before long you're feeling what they're feeling and wishing them the best (or worst as the case may be). This character seems destined to wear the Rick Grimes hat in the city of dreams, soon to be city of nightmares.
We also meet Madison's boyfriend, Travis who live together in pre-apocalyptic L.A with Madison's daughter, Alicia (played by Aussie actress, Alycia Debnam-Carey). Travis has an ex and a son, both with their own real-world issues from living in a broken marriage.
The cast overall are again "lesser-known" actors just like in the original (although it would be great to see some stars play cameo roles somewhere along the way, it is L.A after all) and they're mostly imports from Britain but they all deliver and gel by the first episode's end.
If you could drop a plomb on the pre-apocalyptic timeline to kick this series off, they've nailed it. Enough to see a modern and functioning world existing, hints of a flu, a "Live-Leak" style "viral" video (sorry) and a couple of very fresh Zommmmm..... WALKERS!
Overall social media has returned mostly positive reactions...
Watching @FearTWD. I think it's more intense because I already know what's happening to them all in the big picture. Whoa! #terrified #FTWD— Beth aka AlbertaMama (@AlbertaMama) August 24, 2015
I love how people are acting like FTWD is supposed to be as intense as TWD. IT'S A NEW STORY WITH NEW PEOPLE. Give it time, people. #FearTWD— TWD Survivor (@IWalkTheDead) August 24, 2015
Nick is smart. He thinks fast and on his feet. He's going to be a strong character. #FearTheWalkingDead #FTWD— iZombie Obsessed (@iZombieObsessed) August 24, 2015
Some of the characters are trending quite heavily also, especially Nick (played by Frank Dillane, you may remember him as Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince).
Great actor, great story and certainly one to watch (insert teenage screaming girls here).
You get the gist of the show quickly and it leaves little guesswork without being obvious, even if you're fresh meat to the onslaught of the undead on our streaming screens.
Its AMC counterpart had almost 16 million viewers in the U.S. with the last episode of series 5 but somehow I get the feeling this hasn't been written to appease the unrelenting blood-thirst of TWD fans. This seems deeper, you already know much more about the characters in one episode than an entire series of its big, gory brother. I think FTWD will not only quench the thirst of viewers missing Daryl and Carol wiping the floor with walkers but draw a new audience seeking the stronger storyline and a more traditional drama.
Should this be the case you could expect to see an overall audience on par with the Australian population. A phenomenal thought for a "cable only" TV series, numbers we could only ever dream of, or in fact deliver in Australia and what's more... it's just about Zzzzz argh, ZOMBIES!