Fear THe WaLK­ing DeaD Sea­son One

The times be­fore Grimes

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 2015 | 18 | Blu-ray/dVd

Cre­ators robert Kirk­man, dave

erick­son

Cast Kim dick­ens, Cliff Cur­tis, Frank

dil­lane, aly­cia deb­nam-Carey

A pre­quel spin-off of The Walk­ing Dead? Ain’t that the def­i­ni­tion of point­less­ness? Af­ter all, the very thing which made AMC’s rat­ings jug­ger­naut feel fresh is that it skips the whole tired busi­ness of the zom­bie out­break to fo­cus on the postapoc­a­lyp­tic af­ter­math.

For much of its du­ra­tion, this first run of six episodes val­i­dates that scep­ti­cal pre-judge­ment. Pretty though the se­ries’ chim­ing score and arty use of slow-mo are, early on it feels dread­fully slow. The dys­func­tional dy­nam­ics of its cen­tral fam­ily – mum Madi­son, junkie/Pound­shop Johnny Depp Nick, sis Ali­cia and step­dad Travis – are pretty dreary, plus they can be a frus­trat­ingly thick-headed bunch (when they sit down to play Monopoly in­stead of board­ing up the win­dows, you de­spair). And when the streets do erupt in violence it all feels a mite tup­penny-ha’penny. When char­ac­ters trapped in­side a bar­ber shop peer through a slot at the ri­ot­ing out­side it’s hard not to think of the old cliché of the B-movie which, un­able to muster the bud­get for a bat­tle, has char­ac­ters peek­ing through a tent flap to pro­vide run­ning com­men­tary.

Stick with it, how­ever, and your pa­tience is even­tu­ally re­warded. The ar­rival of the army at the end of episode three steers the fran­chise into pre­vi­ously un­ex­plored ter­ri­tory. Episode five brings the se­ries’ first fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter in the shape of the dap­per, amoral Strand (Col­man Domingo). And the barn­storm­ing sea­son-closer fi­nally kicks out the jams.

Ex­tras Just a four-minute promo and an even shorter bit on the char­ac­ters. Ian Berriman

Ab­sent from this release: plane-based 16part web se­ries Flight 462 – one char­ac­ter from which will fea­ture in sea­son two.

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