Fear The Walking Dead

... is an American horror drama television series created by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson that premiered on AMC on August 23, 2015. It is a companion series and prequel to The Walking Dead, which is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The first season, consisting of six episodes, aired in 2015. Its second season, of 15 episodes, premiered on April 10, 2016.

Set initially in Los Angeles, California, the series follows a dysfunctional family composed of high school guidance counselor Madison Clark, her English teacher boyfriend Travis Manawa, her daughter Alicia, her drug-addicted son Nick, and Travis' son from a previous marriage, Chris, at the onset of the zombie apocalypse. They must revamp themselves to survive, as they come to terms with the impending collapse of civilization. On April 15, 2016, AMC announced the series had been renewed for a 16-episode third season to air in 2017. (from wikipedia)

While Deputy Grimes was languishing in hospital, the world went all the way to hell. That much we know from the award-winning series, The Walking Dead. This "prequel" tells the story of what happened to another fractured family, doing their best to survive zombies, drug-addiction, teenage strops and ex-wife/new-wife jealousy. The zombies are relegated to a back story and for a long while, it seems as though the Clark-Manawa family have no idea of what is going on around them. Drug-addled Nick is the first to witness it as his girlfriend and shooting partner dies and turns into something truely horrible. Nick's family can be forgiven for believing that his story is just another drug induced nightmare. But then the local high school has a lot of noticeable absences, supposedly due to a mysterious 'flu. And Madison is warned by a student who has been watching the internet and drawing his own conclusions.

As is usual in zombie tales, the main group of characters pick up a batch of other hopeful survivors, including Travis' own son and his ex-wife, as well as a Hispanic family. The head of that family has already witnessed horrors in the country of his youth. He is not at all surprised that monsters have come to Los Angeles. But there is an interesting twist in that the group, and other survivors, are corralled by the military in a supposedly safe haven. But as the zombies increase in number, more and more of the army either run off back to their own homes, or take advantage of the chaos to inflict a little hell of their own. The zomibes are not the only thing the living have to beware of; their own kind are just as deadly and callous. Though this does address a question I've often thought about it. The emergency services and military are only human, just like the rest of us. So why would we expect them to be able to handle a zombie apocolypse any better than civilians could? It's a lesson that perhaps we look to them to bail us out at our peril.

My family gave me the dvd box set of the first season for a birthday present and I devoured (pun intended!) the whole lot in a couple of days. I found this version to be more compelling that TWD. The core group is smaller and apart from Daniel Salazar, none of the characters are practiced at using weapons or defending themsevles. There is a lot of disbelief in the face of blood-spattered and mutilated ambulent corpses. Typically, the three teenagers are absorbed with their 'phones and go around with earphones in, which insulates them from the horrors for a while.

Like Andrew Lincoln, who played Deputy Grimes, the central male character, Travis Manawa, is played by a non-American. Cliff Curtis is a citizen of New Zealand and a Maori. I was interested to see that he was born in Rotorua, where I lived in the 1970's, and he went to the same high school, Western Heights High. (Though not at the same time!)