Review: Limitless isn’t

As I mentioned in a previous review, the gimmick for this year’s new TV shows is to have a TV show sequel to a hit film. In this case the show is the new CBS series “Limitless” based on the 2011 film of the same name starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.

The premise of both (and the 2014 film Lucy) is based on the often quoted yet scientifically unsubstantiated factoid that we only use 10% of our brain. After attributing some equally unscientific higher number to Einstein, the theory posits that if we could use a higher percentage we would have all sorts of superpowers. Both Limitless and Lucy have its protagonists achieve this through a supersecret drug. Lucy took it to an extreme where she could manipulate people by mind control, manipulate matter, the forces of nature, perceive electronic transmissions with her bare eyes, and basically transcend time and space. Fortunately Limitless (either the film or the show) doesn’t quite take it to those ridiculous extremes. It does however use the same “take a smart pill” premise.

In this case it simply makes you supersmart and gives you access to everything you ever seen or heard, everything you have learned and a phenomenal computing ability. So even on the premise is just as flawed and somewhat ridiculous, once you buy the premise, the show seem reasonably self consistent.

The show takes place in the same world as the film. Bradley Cooper who started the film appears near the end of the opening episode in the same character he played in the film. He probably will not be seen very much. The star of the show is Jake McDormand you may recognize from last season’s failed sitcom “Manhattan Love Story” or as Mike Pratt on Shameless. Here he plays a somewhat down on his luck guy named Brian Finch who can only get temp jobs. An old friend of his gives him this smart pill called NZT which allowed him to do two month’s worth of filing at his temp job in just a few hours. When he goes back to get more of the drug, he finds his friend has been murdered. He becomes a suspect but eventually convinces an FBI agent that he’s innocent. The agent is played by Jennifer Carpenter whom you will remember as Detective Debra Morgan who was sister to serial killer/CSI technician Dexter in the Showtime series Dexter. I guess she has no worries about being typecast as a cop.

In the end he convinces them that he is innocent. He ends up working as a consultant to the government to help them solve crimes and unlock the mysteries of the special drug. Meanwhile he was always up connected to the Bradley Cooper character who has some of those secrets about the drug.

If you want a slightly less sci-fi version of Minority Report with some of the conspiracy and intrigue of The Blacklist and/or Blindspot then this may be just the ticket. I will end up watching it for a while but I think that Minority Report, Blindspot, The Blacklist were perhaps the new FBI recruit series Quantico may be better bets in the long run. For now I’m watching it but as I have said before I will watch even bad sci-fi. I would say this is slightly below average but still watchable. With all of the other semi sci-fi and procedural detective consultant shows on TV this one might not last. My prediction is that Limitless isn’t.

Review: Minority Report a worthy sequel

That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

This Scripture quote describes the entertainment industry exactly. It is an industry obsessed with sequels, prequels, imaginations, remakes, spinoffs and ripoffs. Last season the gimmick was to come up with an American version of some show that had already been successful overseas. This season the theme is make a TV series out of a hit movie. The biggest examples are “Limitless” which we will review separately elsewhere and the new Fox series “Minority Report” which we will discuss here.

In case you missed it, the 2002 film version of Minority Report was directed by Steven Spielberg based on a short story by famous science fiction author Philip K. Dick. It starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton. The film is set in the near future Washington DC area where the local police have the authority to arrest you for a crime you did not yet commit. This “pre-crime” arrest is based upon information from three psychics called “precogs” who are kept in a semi-coma state. They’re connected to machines which read their thoughts as they have visions of violent crimes which are about to occur. Tom Cruise plays one of the special police officers who are part of the pre-crime unit however he stumbles onto a secret and suddenly he has been accused and is sought for a pre-crime of his own. The title of the film and TV show comes from the fact that the three precogs don’t always agree 100% on what will happen. Sometimes two of them agree and the third one issues a minority report about an alternate future.

The TV show takes place 10 years later. Pre-crime has been abolished because of the scandal uncovered in the film. The three precogs have been released to hide out in a cabin in the woods so that they will not be inundated by visions and other people’s thoughts. The story revolves around one of the three precogs named Dash. He leaves the isolation to make his way in the real world and to try to prevent some of the crimes that he envisions. Not by having people arrested prior to the crime but simply by changing the future and preventing the crime by other means. He teams up with a detective named Lara Vega who discovers who he is and what he’s trying to do.

The problem is that Dash was the weakest of the three siblings. His older sister Agatha would see the big picture of a crime, his brother Arthur would pick up details and Dash would fill them with all items that the other two missed. This particular plot device leaves plenty of room for Detective Vega to use ordinary police skills to try to figure out what bad thing is when to happen. Think of it sort of as “Person of Interest” without the computer.

Occasionally he has to resort to seeking the help from his precogs siblings Agatha and Arthur while attempting to solve a crime. And there the end of the first episode we see that there is some sort of destiny awaiting the three precogs that has yet to unfold.

Detective Vega is equipped with all sorts of futuristic crime-fighting tools that allow her to re-create virtual crime scenes on-the-fly and other sorts of typical sci-fi crime-fighting tricks. The special effects are above average for a weekly TV series and the action is strong enough to keep you interested. The story is peppered with some typical stranger in a strange land kind of humor because Dash has not lived a normal life and have absolutely no social skills whatsoever.

I did not mention the stars of the show because they really can’t be called stars. I didn’t recognize any of them from any other films or TV shows. Even looking up their resume on the IMDb did not jog my memory in a way that would make me say “oh yes I remember they were in ______”.

I’m kind of person who will watch all but the most horrible science fiction show. So saying that I’m going to watch it probably is not much of an endorsement. However this one looks like it is well above average if quite outstanding must-see TV. So it gets a rather strong “I’m watching it” rating. I suggest you check it out especially if you like sci-fi.

Review: Scream Queens for fans only.

The term “Scream Queen” I believe was invented to describe Jamie Lee Curtis for her roles in the Halloween horror movies. It refers to the female protagonists in any teen slasher movie whether it was Jason, Freddie, or even the Scream masked killer from the Scream movies. One of the problems with the teen slasher genre is that the various spoofs and parodies are nearly identical to the films that supposedly take themselves seriously. They’ve all become self parodies. However for the new Fox TV series named “Scream Queens” this one is definitely in over-the-top comedy spoof of the genre. And if you’re going to call the show “Scream Queens” why not get the queen queen of them all Jamie Lee Curtis herself. Being a little bit too old to play a teen protagonist, she is now cast as the Dean Cathy Munch of the University where the story takes place. Munch of course is a reference to Norwegian artist Edvard Munch who created the painting “The Scream” upon which was based the scream mask from the scream movies.

The Scream Queen teen protagonist this time is Chanel Oberlin played by Emma Roberts daughter of actor Eric Roberts. Her credits include a couple of seasons on American Horror Story and a role in Scream 4. Her character is actually queen bitch character who is the head of an uppity sorority. Other familiar faces in this ensemble cast include Lea Michele fresh off her role on Glee. Also Abigail Breslin all grown up from her singing and dancing days in Little Miss Sunshine. You might also recognize Nasim Pedrad from SNL and from her recent role in the sitcom Mulaney. Finally we have former Jonas Brother Nick Jonas (he still their brother, just not in the band).

The serial killer is someone dressed in a red devil’s suit and of course the killings are bizarre and grotesque. A girl gets a spray tan with hydrochloric acid substituted for tanning liquid. A woman gets her face burned off in a deep fryer. Another girl gets her head cut off by a riding lawnmower. And that’s just in the first two hours. According to Roberts on a recent talkshow parents we will get another killing each week.

The humor is over the top as I said before. Chanel terms every kind of racist, homophobic, non-politically correct rant at everyone she encounters. Some of her barbs are so cleverly written you can’t help but appreciate the effort that went into crafting them no matter how offensive they are.

My guess is that this will be a must see for fans of the genre and I enjoyed the 90 minutes worth of the two-hour premiere that I managed to sit through. However I’m just not that big of a fan. One thing that was particularly disappointing to me was the IMDb “trivia” entry which says that the director is filming multiple versions of scenes with people in the devil costume so that the actors themselves don’t really know who the killer really is. That tells me one of several possible bad things. For one the writers themselves may have not yet decided who the killer is. Or they don’t trust the actors to keep their mouths shut. Or they don’t trust the actors to portray the killer in a way that doesn’t give away the identity. I don’t mind that they want to make it a spoof that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it would be nice if there really was an actual ministry at the core of the story that the viewer could spend time trying to figure out. I’m not sure you can do that if the actual actor playing the killer doesn’t even know that they are the one.

I’m giving this one a “could be watchable” rating if you are a fan of the genre but I’m probably going to pass on it.

By the way just for the record I think Jamie Lee Curtis is the killer.

Review: Blindspot is a prettier Blacklist

How does this sound for the idea for a TV show? A mysterious person shows up at the FBI and becomes a source of information for them. This mysterious source allows them to stop terrorist plots, uncover in criminal conspiracies, and prevent a whole slew of nastiness of various kinds. One of the pieces of information supplied by this mysterious source leads to a particular obscure FBI agent. We have no idea why the agent is connected to the source and neither does the agent themselves. A special task force including this agent is assigned to the task of dealing with the source’s information. That task force includes the linked agent. Each week a new clue or tip is revealed in a new plot is foiled all the while trying to figure out the source of the source and the connection to the named FBI agent.

NBC liked the pitch and they gave a green light to “The Blacklist” in 2013 as it has been a big ratings hit for them. The third season premieres October 1. NBC apparently likes that particular pitch so much they’ve created an entirely new series with the exact same premise. This one is called “Blindspot” because who knows… maybe having a title that starts with the letter “B” is also key to its success.

In the opening scene, a large duffel bag is found abandoned in the middle of Times Square bearing a tag saying “call the FBI”. The bomb squad investigates and for some strange reason despite every protocol you’ve ever seen of a bomb squad call out on TV they send an actual human being in a bomb suit to investigate the package. If this was Podunk Mississippi may be so but this is New York City and certainly the bomb squad has remote control robots to do this kind of thing. So much for accurate portrayal of police procedures. The bag begins unzipping itself and up pops a woman closed them nothing but tattoos. The guy is a bomb suit pulls out a gun and tells her to freeze. Seriously… If you were the bomb disposal unit approaching a potentially explosive device to be carrying a gun on you so that if you did happen to get blown up, your gun would start firing off bullets in odd directions taking out innocent people?

It turns out the woman has amnesia and can remember absolutely nothing about her past life. She is examined by doctors and they come up with some pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo that explains how her memory was erased. Even though the doctors seem to completely understand condition they cannot predict how long the amnesia will last because “we’ve never seen anything like this before.”

One of the tattoos on her back is “FBI agent Kurt Weller”. And according to the plot description above, he has no idea why his name is tattooed on this woman’s back.

As the opening episode proceeds, we learn that the woman speaks fluent Chinese including some rare dialects. There’s evidence she may be a Navy seal even though they acknowledge that the seals don’t take women. She proved herself to be especially adept at martial arts at a level you can’t learn at your local dojo so she’s obviously some sort of trained operative. The first tattoo that they decode lead them to a terrorist plot which they managed to foil just in time.

Obviously each week they will decode a new tattoo that will lead to another criminal plot which they will file just in time. The continuing story that runs throughout the series will be to answer the questions who is this Jane Doe? Who did this to her? If they wanted to tip off the FBI why didn’t they just phone it in?

Other than the fact that it’s a total retread of Blacklist it looks like it’s going to be a pretty good show with lots of action and mystery. Jane Doe is played by Jamie Alexander you may recognize as Lady Sif of Asgard from the Marvel Thor films and guest shots on Agents of SHIELD. She’s much easier on the eyes then James Spader. Agent Weller is played by Sullivan Stapleton who is no stranger to the action genre being famous for playing Sgt. Damien Scott from the Cinemax action series Strike Back which is currently wrapping up its final season.

The Blacklist was getting a little boring to me with too many layers of mysteries upon mysteries and secrets upon secrets. It was getting a little tough to follow all of the little subplots and James Spader although was initially interesting is wearing a little thin for me. For now I’m going to watch both and if I end up quitting one of the two it will probably be The Blacklist that I drop just because it’s getting a little bit old. Bottom line is I’m giving Blindspot a rating of “I’m Watching It”.

Review: Executioner Delivers

The only thing that kept fans of Sons of Anarchy from going into massive withdrawal sickness when they learned that the show was ending was the news that creator/executive producer/show runner Kurt Sutter had already sold a new show to FX networks. So it’s a great understatement to say that there are a lot of people, myself included, who have been anxiously awaiting the premiere of “The Bastard Executioner”.

The shires of 14th-century northern Wales would seem to be a huge change from a motorcycle gang in the fictional town of Charming California. However Kurt Sutter has no difficulty seeing the similarities. Both settings are well-suited to violence, betrayal, heart wrenching loss, vengeance, and devotion to family/clan.

The story follows Wilkin Brattle who was a loyal soldier in the Army of King Edward I. He was set up by jealous officers of his own army who felt that he was rising in the ranks too quickly and arrange for him to get caught in a trap massacre in a border skirmish with the Scots. He was left for dead but managed to survive. A vision from an Angel urged him to lay down his sword to become another man. He moved to northern Wales where he settles down as a barley farmer with a wife and kids.

The Shire where he lives is ruled by a ruthless Baron who excessively taxes his subjects. Wilkin joins with a group of his fellow farmers to intercept and kill the Baron’s tax collector however Wilkin uses a wooden club having put away the sword as commanded by his angelic visitor.

The Baron retaliates by destroying his village and massacring the women, the children, and the elderly and burning the village to the ground. Wilkin picks up his sword so that he and his fellow farmer/raiders can seek vengeance. Without giving away too much more of the plot, he ends up faking his own death and taking on the identity of a traveling executioner. He is hired against his will to serve at the Castle of the Baron as their resident executioner. This gives him the opportunity to seek out those who massacred his village.

The amount of blood and gore easily meets or exceeds Kurt Sutter’s usual standards. The evisceration of Wilkin’s pregnant wife is especially gruesome above and beyond the usual sword battles. This show is definitely not for the squeamish. The drama and sadness created by the massacre is also up to Sutter’s usual high standards.

Fans of Sons of Anarchy will recognize many of the actors who have been recast in this new show. However Wilkin is portrayed by newcomer Lee Jones. For the Anarchy fans who were worried about missing Katey Segal, her husband Sutter couldn’t resist casting her in the show as well. She plays a mysterious healer/witch named Annora of the Alder. Fans of her previous character Gemma Teller will be well pleased. There are hints she has more connection to Gemma than is immediately apparent. Sutter himself plays even creepier character with a scarred face who is listed as “The Dark Mute” in the IMDB cast listing. He and Annora lurk in the shadows and seem to have a secret agenda all their own.

There are some lighter moments such as the impish character “Ash y Goedwig” who has a love affair with his pet sheep and the camaraderie among Wilkin and his rebel compatriots is noble and familiar as that of the SAMCRO motorcycle club.

The violence and brutality means that this show, like its ancestor Sons of Anarchy, is not for everyone. But it is definitely everything that Kurt Sutter fans have hoped it will be. For his fans like me this is a must-see. And if you’re new to Kurt Sutter’s work, don’t mind violence, brutality, blood and gore and are looking for some of the best written and acted drama on television then I recommend you check this out.

One caveat, this is not a casual watch show. I actually had to watch the two hour premiere twice through because I missed some plot points and was unfamiliar with the new characters. But now I’m confident I’m up to speed and the storytelling will be much easier to follow.

Review: The Muppets… A reboot of The Office

Last night ABC brought “The Muppets” back to prime time TV but it’s a much different show than the one that we grew up with. Rather than a reboot of the original “The Muppet Show” from 1976-1981, this is more of a reboot “The Office” or perhaps “30 Rock“. The show is from the perspective of a documentary crew covering behind the scenes and the personal lives of the staff and characters of a late-night talkshow. It includes interview segments where the characters talk straight into the camera. They even make fun of this “mock-u-mentary” style while employing it.

Miss Peggy is the host of “Up Late with Miss Piggy” and Kermit is the producer. Fozzie Bear is the on-air announcer sort of the Ed McMahon-type character who attempts to warm up the audience. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem featuring Animal on drums are the house band. The talkshow format gives them the opportunity to have actual celebrities as guest stars. So in that respect it’s a little bit like the original show. However not only resembling “The Office”, it also resembles “30 Rock” in that is not afraid to make fun of its guest stars. Kermit sent Scooter over to the set of Dancing with the Stars to recruit a last-minute guest for the show. Kermit was unable to suppress his disappointment when he brought back Tom Bergeron. “That’s the best you could do?” he says in disgust.

For me the real test of a kid show is its ability to not only keep the kids entertained with funny fuzzy characters but the ability to slip in a few adult jokes that will be over the heads of most kids. This is been a tradition ever since the days of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The Muppets seem to be taking this to a whole new level. Here are a couple of examples…

Kermit is holding a staff meeting going over what went wrong with last night’s show. Dr. Teeth suggests “Uh, perhaps we should dismystify any further misconfusion with a daily confabulation-type meeting.” To which Kermit explains they have just such a meeting every morning and they’re having one right now. Then Zoot the way too cool saxophone player says “Meeting? I’m in a meeting? Okay hello my name is Zoot and I’m a…” But he gets cut off and is told “It’s not that kind of meeting.” Obviously Zoot thinks he’s in a 12 step program. The Muppets were always cool but they were never cool enough to pull off a drug joke. I will be anxious to see if the adult jokes get them in trouble in the media.

The second example surprised me even more. Fozzie Bear is preparing to meet his girlfriend’s parents. He has a human girlfriend named Becky. As he’s driving down the street he’s telling the unseen interviewer “I really want to make a good impression on Becky’s parents. She’s the first girl I’ve dated in a long time. When your online profile says ‘passionate bear looking for love,’ you get a lot of wrong responses. Uh, not ‘wrong.’ Uh, just wrong for me.” So not only did we get a very veiled reference to harry gay men, we even got a wink and a nod to Seinfeld’s classic “not that there’s anything wrong with that” quote.

So not only will longtime fans be pleased with the usual Muppet antics such as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew abusing his assistant Beaker, Gonzo being Gonzo, Animal being Animal and so on… we also look forward to these next-generation inside jokes aimed at the adults. And of course Statler and Waldorf are still in the audience heckling the gang throughout. They now do it from the front row instead of the balcony but it’s the same old stuff.

If you are a fan of the Muppets no matter what your age, you should definitely check this out. I’m giving it a definite “Must-See” on my scale.

Review: The Carmichael Show

When a TV network premieres a new show a couple of weeks early in the new fall TV season and then shows two episodes each week, it raises a few red flags for me. I tend to think it means they are trying too hard to promote it. That’s not a good sign.

Such is the case with a new sitcom “Jerrod Carmichael whom I never heard of prior to the show. Trying to be another black-ish”. I gave the show mixed reviews last year but decided to stick with it and I do enjoy it. Although I have no objection to the black theme, I do think it works better as an ordinary family sitcom that doesn’t focus so much on its ethnicity. But even the black themed episodes are pretty funny.

Not being African-American, I have to wonder how that particular audience will receive The Carmichael Show. I think it could go either way. It could be criticized for perpetuating too many stereotypes of a black family. Or they could say “Holy shit that character is just like my mom or that one is like my Uncle Joe or whatever.”

My own thoughts are that it tends towards the stereotypes but that doesn’t stop me from watching a show. For example “Two Broke Girls” unapologetically builds its comedy on mostly unflattering stereotypes. But I watch it because it meets my only criteria for liking a sitcom: Did it make me laugh? For at least two episodes of The Carmichael Show it did make me laugh but the third of the four which have aired so far fell a little flat for me.

Jerrod Carmichael himself hasn’t revealed himself as particularly funny on his own. Unlike Seinfeld, Mulaney, we don’t get excerpts of his standup routines. Most of the comedy comes from the crazy characters around him. His girlfriend is starting to be a psychiatrist so she is occasionally going to psychoanalyze situations. She is played by Greek.

The opening episode is about the decision to reveal to his parents that his girlfriend is moving in with him. His religious Christian mother undoubtedly will not approve so he engages his parents in a political argument to deflect the topic from her move in.

His father is played by comedy veteran Loretta Devine. She is been seen most recently on Posted in Could Be Watchable | Leave a reply

Review: “Fear” is Aptly Named

Given that I am a huge fan of the AMC Network series “The Walking Dead”, it’s going to be a bit difficult for me to review the new spinoff series “Fear The Walking Dead”. To say that it has been highly anticipated ever since it was announced that a pilot had been approved is a big understatement for me and all of the show’s fans. We presumed however that since it was being written and created and produced by basically the same team responsible for both the comic book and the original “The Walking Dead”, fans expect it to be of an exceptionally high quality.

For those of you not familiar with either the original or the new show but have just heard that it’s a zombie show, you need to understand that when we say “high quality” were not just measuring how gross the special effects are or how many scary or surprising moments we are delivered or even the technical aspects of the special effects. The Walking Dead is one of the best written and acted dramatic hours on television. In a way it’s a shame that it is so gross and violent because that’s going to drive away some people from seeing what is otherwise a quality piece of television.

This new spinoff series received a green light for an initial six episodes but has already been renewed for a second season. We have seen 2 episodes that you would have to catch on demand or on reruns. (The first two episodes are being shown several times this Sunday Sept.6 all evening.)

The original series follows a deputy sheriff Rick Grimes who as the show opened the zombie virus had just broken out but he was unaware of it. He’s in a car accident and in a coma for several months. When he awakens he’s in an abandoned hospital in the world has gone to hell. So we didn’t get to see how the world got into the shape it is in when Grimes awakened in the first episode of the first season. This new series takes place in Los Angeles rather than Atlanta area and shows us what happened in the first days of the breakout.

Our main characters in this new edition are blended family consisting of Madison Clark played by Kim Dickens. You will remember her from such shows as Deadwood, Lost, and Sons of Anarchy. She is a high school guidance counselor. Her husband Travis Manawa is played by Cliff Curtis you might recognize from 2014 series Gang Related for the 2009 TV series Trauma. He portrays a teacher. She has 2 grown children. One is a drug addict Nick played by Frank Dillane a young British actor mostly known for playing Tom Riddle Jr. in one of the Harry Potter movies.

The show opens with Nick in some drug den in an abandoned church waking up from his latest dose to find that his girlfriend has turned into a zombie and is eating the face-off of one of his other druggy friends. He runs out into the street screaming and is hit by a car in France in the hospital. I guess that’s a parallel to Rick Grimes experience in the other show. However Nick awakens right away to tell his story which of course even he doesn’t believe. In some ways it may have been good for him because it’s scaring him straight. He thinks it was a bad drug trip.

Apart from that opening gory scene, much of the first episode is just introducing this family which extends to Frank’s son from another marriage and his ex-wife neither of which he gets along with.

As it unfolds, Nick is trying to track down his drug dealer to see what the hell he gave him that into such a bizarre hallucination. However Frank investigates and finds out that at least some of Nick’s story may be true. Nick catches up with his drug dealer who leads him to a remote location in the LA River and tries to kill him. There is a struggle for the gun and the drug dealer gets shot and dies. Nick’s mother and stepfather catch up with him and he confesses to killing the drug dealer in the struggle over the gun. But when they return to the scene of the crime, the body is missing. This is among several instances where the audience is familiar with how the zombies work more than the people in the show. We know from our experience in the original series that everyone has the virus dormant in them. When you die of any cause, you turn into a zombie whether you were recently bitten by one or not. The now zombie drug dealer soon shows up and survives repeated attempts by Nick to kill him. All this witnessed by Nick’s parents who were nearly killed by the drug dealer zombie. They now understand everything he was saying was true.

Except for the gory scene in the beginning and the attempt to kill the drug dealer at the end there was little or no action whatsoever so fans of the show including myself were a wee bit disappointed. But the previews of the second week promised we would see more action and indeed we did.

The second episode shows that the zombie situation is about to go public with the police shoot a zombie and it is all caught on camera. Of course the zombies aren’t the wrinkled up dead people that we are used to seeing in The Walking Dead. These are freshly deceased people for whom it’s not immediately evident that they are zombies. LA goes into a complete panic over this apparently unjustified police shooting and you can see things starting to fall apart. By the end of the second episode we are much more familiar territory where you don’t know whether you’re going to be in danger from the zombies or from the surviving humans were behaving badly as civilization is coming about them. So if the second is any indication, we’re going to get all the action we expect out of this series.

the reason I titled this review “Fear is aptly named” is that that first episode even with its lack of action actually gave me a nightmare the following night. There was something quantitatively different about the worlds of the two series even though they are the same world. We’ve come to understand in the original series that although this once was the world that we currently live in, it no longer is. The drama from the original series comes from being in a decimated world where you have to scrounge for resources and avoid not only the zombies but the other survivors who can be as dangerous as the monsters themselves. We can imagine being in a post-apocalyptic world especially because we’ve seen so many examples in movies and television but we never really experienced that world unless you’ve lived in some war zone or disaster area.

The fear factor from this new series comes from the fact that it is set in our world right now. This is punctuated even more by the timeliness of the police shooting subplot. Somehow it makes the series seem all the more plausibly real and that’s where the fear comes in. In my nightmare, I wasn’t being chased by zombies. I was living in a world where there was a zombie outbreak and we were trying to figure out what we needed to do to survive the coming disaster. The show illustrates in brilliant fashion just how fragile civilization is. One minor character, a high school student who has been following the outbreak sort of as an Internet conspiracy theory keeps reminding our other characters how quickly things are going to fall apart. Once people stop manning their posts we are going to lose Internet, television, and even electricity. He’s trying to explain to people just how bad things are going to get and how quickly it’s going to happen. We just celebrated the 10th anniversary of Katrina and we saw how quickly civilization came to an end in that particular situation. “Fear of The Walking Dead” if it has any message to it at all is that we have much to fear whether there is a zombie outbreak or not.

On my standard rating scale this one of course is getting a definite “Must See”.