So. I had my doubts about it, but most were allayed and I certainly enjoyed the heck outta the premiere episode of “Fear The Walking Dead” Sunday, for a couple reasons. One, It did as I’d hoped and showcased the unfamiliar REAL Los Angeles as it exists in everyday life instead of in the make-believe city only known for its affluence and high-profile landmarks.
Case in point, as far as the series is concerned ground zero takes place not in Malibu or Beverly Hills or on the steps of City Hall, but as it so happens: in Silver Lake. That establishing shot at the end of the opening sequence after the kid gets hit by the vehicle and the camera gets craned up into the sky? What you’re shown is what’s commonly referred to as Polkadot Plaza off of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake and bonus: the abandoned church the kid escapes from wasn’t a soundstage on some lot somewhere but rather is an actual abandoned church — one that’s right next to that plaza. PS. You’ve gotta appreciate the subtext of that scene from an L.A. streets perspective. The strung-out punk saves himself from a flesh-eater only to get creamed by the real monster: a car.
Basically for authenticity I give the show high marks. Ditto for the cast, characters and dialogue — although does practically every teen with the exception of the one plowed by the automobeast at the start of the show have to be such a complete and total tool?
The only aspect I wish had been negated (but I knew wouldn’t be) is the perpetuated pretense with both this new series and the original that I intrinsically despise: that in this universe in which these characters exist there has never been a zombie movie — or worse: no one has ever seen a zombie movie. Gasp: The horror!
Just once I wish a character would recognize what the hell is going on. Is it seriously too much to ask (yes… it is) to have some drunk at a bar watching live breaking news footage of some paramedic getting chomped on by a freshly minted member of the undead who then takes 20 rounds to the center mass and still remains standing and have the besotted sod slur out “Haven’t any of you sunzabeeches seen ‘Dawn of the Dead’ (or “Shaun of the Dead” for that matter)? That’s a freakin’ zombie!”
Having someone/anyone in the crowd make a pop-culture reference and thus winkingly acknowledge an awareness of what’s going on — even if the truth he speaks gets dissed and dismissed immediately by those around him — would make my night. Of the living dead.