As a new show coming into an existing fictional universe, it’s not surprising that the first season of Fear The Walking Dead, the prequel spin-off of The Walking Dead, wouldn’t be as good as the latest episodes of its big brother. But that doesn’t explain why the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD is so lacking as well. And not just compared to the most recent Walking Dead seasonal set, but to The Walking Dead The Complete Season One as well.
For those who missed them when they aired on AMC, the six episodes contained on the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD follow a group of Los Angeles residents as a mysterious plague evolves into the beginnings of a zombie apocalypse. At first, it just seems like a bunch of people are getting a cold. But as it progresses, people start to realize something bad is happening, and society starts to break down until, by the end of the season, there’s a quarantine in place, the city is under martial law, and some people are being taken away by the authorities.
Much like the show from which it was spun-off, Fear The Walking Dead has the same anything can happen, anyone can die vibe that has made The Walking Dead so compelling. Granted, the streets aren’t overrun with the undead, yet, but there’s still a sense of danger even when the danger is just forming.
Fear The Walking Dead also does a good job of not spoiling anything about The Walking Dead. We’ve always know this started with some kind of viral outbreak, but no one seems to know where the virus came from or how it got out, and Fear The Walking Dead seems as determined to not answer those questions as The Walking Dead.
It also seems that Fear The Walking Dead is going to take different approach to its cast make-up than The Walking Dead, as this first season is largely centered on a single but fractured family, which consists of Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis from Live Free Or Die Hard), a high school teacher who’s divorced but shares custody of his teenage son, Christopher (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2‘s Lorenzo James Henrie) with his ex-wife, Liza Ortiz (Elizabeth Rodriguez from Orange Is The New Black), while he dates Madison Clark (Gone Girl‘s Kim Dickens), a high school guidance counselor who has two kids: Alicia (The 100‘s Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Nick (Frank Dillane (who was Tom Riddle in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince).
As interesting as this prequel’s premise may be, there are some serious issues with Fear The Walking Dead, no matter how you watch it. For starters, the aforementioned Nick is such a stereotypical junkie that his portrayal doesn’t ring true. There’s also a bunch of stuff in the first couple episodes about Alicia’s boyfriend, but he’s all but forgotten by the end. Also, just once, I’d like to see a show or movie or book in which the military man in charge during a zombie outbreak isn’t a complete dickwad.
Fear The Walking Dead also, rather ironically, has some of the same issues that all but ruined the third season of The Walking Dead: stupid people doing stupid stuff. Towards the end of the season, a group of the characters [SPOILER ALERT] need to get inside a military hospital. So they lead a horde of zombies to the hospital so the undead can distract the soldiers. But, of course, the zombies break down the walls, eat a bunch of people — including many civilians — and destroy what had been a safe haven for people and soldiers alike.
The six episodes contained on the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD are also rather infuriating because the characters go to great lengths not to use the word “zombie.” So much so that I spent most of the last two episodes yelling, “JUST SAY ‘ZOMBIE’ GOD DAMMIT!”
While this first season of Fear The Walking Dead is an okay but could be better start to this series, it deserves better than what you get on Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD.
Now, the most important part of the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD are, of course, the episodes. And in this regard, it does what it should: present them as they should be seen, with good sound and picture, and with no commercials and none of the annoy mid-episode promos that pop up all the time.
But beyond that, the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD comes up a bit short, as it only has two quick making-of featurettes, both of which look as if they were made for AMC’s website: “A Look At The Series,” a four-minute very general overview of the series and how it both relates and differs, time-wise, to the regular show; and “Inside The Characters Of Fear The Walking Dead,” which spends nearly three minutes on the members of the family. Both feature interviews with the cast and crew, as well as a bit of behind-the-scenes footage, but they leave a lot out. For instance, there’s nothing about the special effects or how some of the biggest scenes were filmed. There’s also no interviews with Robert Kirkman, the writer of the Walking Dead comics who also co-created the show and serves as one of its producers.
Otherwise, there’s a commercial for a mobile game about that other show: The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land.
But that’s all you get. Unlike the seasonal sets for The Walking Dead, the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD doesn’t have any commentaries, deleted scenes, or episode-specific featurettes.
It also doesn’t have the Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462 webseries, though since that’s meant to be a bridge between this second and the season, and introduces a character who’ll join the show in season two, its absence is somewhat understandable (though it won’t be if they leave it off the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete Second Season Blu-ray and DVD).
What makes the lack of extras on the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD is that they’ve already announced that a special edition of it will be out next year. Granted, they haven’t said what’s on it, and most of the special editions of The Walking Dead seasonal sets have just added cool statues, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season: Special Edition Blu-ray had some of the extras that are glaringly absent from this version (though, in all fairness, it also wouldn’t surprise me if it was just this version with a statue).
In the end, Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season is a slow but good start to what could become an interesting spin-off. It’s just too bad the Blu-ray and DVD versions weren’t as good.