Written by Jesus Figueroa
With a successful season one, “Fear the Walking Dead” returns with new scenarios which can be interesting to see what comes out of them.
“The Walking Dead” sparked an uproar with a spectacular and haunting final scene and “Fear the Walking Dead” takes no break before coming back with the season premiere the week after the season six finale for “The Walking Dead.”
Although both series come from the same Walking Dead Universe each have a difference to them.
“The difference for us in (Fear the Walking Dead) is there’s not a safe place,” co-creator Dave Erikson said. “We are going from one unsafe place trying to find another safe place. There’s not a safe place out there.”
“Fear the Walking Dead” proved in an outstanding, and record breaking fashion, that it can stand alone as a series and that even though everything the audience has known about this universe is still applicable, there is still so much to be explored.
“I don’t think we will ever truly shake the walking dead,” actor Frank Dillane said. “I don’t think we want to.”
Six episodes in season one for “Fear the Walking Dead” were just barely enough to give the audience a taste of what was skipped over in “The Walking Dead.”
The audience now begins to see how society broke down and through some amazing characters just how far things were pushed to survive.
“I think what is great for this season is that it is 15 episodes,” Actress Alycia Debnam-Carey said. “Six episodes was a very small amount of time for us to establish our own show, to break away from such a huge franchise mothership.”
For the series to break off and show a section of this story which has no comic book background was daring.
The franchise has become beloved by the fans because of the way it stays true and yet deviates from the comic.
It allows for more creative ways to tell the story when criticism for moving away from an original story isn’t present.
“It’s very refreshing to be working on ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ because there is no comic book series to draw from,” creator Robert Kirkman said. “It’s all new and exciting and there is a lot more potential to surprise the audience.”
The manner in which these characters grow becomes more natural because the audience is seeing it for the first time.
There is no prior ties with characters in “Fear the Walking Dead” and the audience can relate to them, enjoy them, hate them and watch them grow almost at the same pace as the writers.
“I expect we will see quite a journey from (Alicia),” Debnam-Carey said.
I’m sure there is still much to learn about every character as six episodes just began the back story and the story to everything in this series.
The twist and turns of this series, the characters that step up and become leaders, the beloved characters who become hated for their actions all have created a series with heart and depth.
There’s still one character which can go either way — hero or not — in Victor Strand.
Victor has this mystery around him because the audience hasn’t gotten to know him as well as the rest of the cast.
“I think that Victor (Strand) believes in things in black and white terms,” actor Coleman Domingo said. “I think that what he says he means. I think that he may not reveal too much because maybe it’s about him maybe strategizing.”
There’s much more to be seen and even more to be learned in the story.
The end game for these characters ha not been established and it’s unclear where they are headed, except it has been seen that they are going to be out at sea.
“This season put us in an entirely different environment, on the ocean in a boat in the elements, and none of us are sea farers except for (Victor Strand)” Kim Dickens said. “It’s been very exciting for us. It’s offered us alot of new challenges just as actors.”
Characters have started to change, the innocent are beginning to be exposed to a harsher truth and they are being forced to grow up quicker and adapt to this new world.
The biggest change comes from two characters who have lost their mothers and are now dealing with their loss in different ways.
“(Ophelia) is trying to figure out who she can trust, who is a friend and who is a foe,” actress Mercedes Mason said.
“You see Chris in a very dark place,” actor Lorenzo James Henrie said. “Like Ophelia they both lose their mother. You see Chris in a very dark place.”
These situations define who people, characters, become in the series.
Just like “The Walking Dead,” this series works with character development to logically show where these characters end up.
These characters face difficult situations physically, mentally and emotionally.
Each one of the characters reacts differently and it’s what makes them so real.
“I don’t even know exactly what is too far, I don’t think we know until we are in that situation,” Domingo said. “Honestly, I think that’s the interesting thing about these characters, they have no idea, we have no idea the stuff that we are made of and when we are at these cross roads what we will actually do.”
What has captured the attention of people is the way the story develops, the way the characters adapt, the human element to a zombie story.
The best part of this series is that it tries to work on the psychology behind how humans adapt to a world where zombies are introduced, and how they are changed to survive for the long haul.
“That is one of the thematically elements, that question of what will you sacrifice, in terms of your ethics and morality, to survive,” Kirkman said.
This dive into the human mind, the soul and essence of a person is what makes these series fantastic.
The special effects are amazing and the icing on the cake, but the heart of this show is the way it portrays the human element.
“I think that’s why this genre is so fascinating, because you think the audience can live into these primal fears that we have,” Dickens said. “What if we are not protected, what if society is crumbling around us, what if the government isn’t taking care of me, what if I can’t protect my family.”
The characters are all in situations that the audience can put themselves in.
This isn’t a horror story where the supernatural takes center stage, it’s a psychological drama where humans take the center stage and some supernatural stuff happens around them.
The best part is watching how each of their minds work and what they do to adapt and fit in.
“Where Chris is, everyone who is not his dad, he’s going to be searching for something from them,” Henrie said. “The big thing for Chris is he is trying to find affection from everyone, but at the same time he is trying to find out where does he (fit in).”
This story may be taking place in California, but it’s not limited to the area.
It’s made universal.
“Theoretical it is global, so, whatever our characters, be it in Georgia or California, are suffering through right now they are suffering through out the entire world,” said.
“We are well aware that we are taking on something a lot bigger this time around,” Mason said. “It’s more exciting.”
This show moves fast and the timeline is short.
There’s so much happening and characters deal with so much.
Through it all the story continues and there’s no point where it feels it drags along.
It’s chaotic and thrilling while still insightful and though provoking.
“It’s confusing for our show because this is all happening in a short period of time,” Alycia Debnam-Carey said. “They started setting up things in earlier drafts of scripts, that were quite transformative or character changes, physical appearance and characteristic changes and I think they figured out they needed to stretch it out a little more.”
AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” premieres April 10.