Although sharing common creators and set in the same universe as original series The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead is its own show with its own different and unique aspects and perspectives. While the stellar success, viewer numbers, and ratings of the original series are well-documented, this new companion series is so far set to be very successful in its own right. Both shows have their strengths, of which the main element in each has to be the characters. While at heart, both are set on the premise of zombies taking over the world, it’s ultimately the character development over time that keeps the viewers riveted to the television screen week after week, and both shows deliver on strong characters. One of the main differences, of course, is that Fear the Walking Dead is taking on the premise as a prequel to the original, showing the onset of the zombie apocalypse from day one, rather than the pilot episode of the original series, in which Rick awakens from a coma on day 60 of the epidemic and the world has already fallen into chaos. This is crucial in setting the companion series apart from its predecessor as the series progresses and in developing the main characters in different directions than the parent series. Having said that, there are parallels in main characters for each of the shows. While Rick is clearly the main protagonist of the original series from the very first episode, we have several contenders for that role in the new series. As the first season of Fear played out, however, the character of Madison Clark (Maddie for short) evolved into the one that other characters slowly revolve around. Her prior experiences as a widow, child of an addicted parent, parent of an addicted child, and high school guidance counselor seem to provide her with a unique skill set for handling the coming world crisis. While Maddie and Rick are similar in that they are both experienced in dealing with crisis situations, the types of situations are very different. Rick, as a law enforcement officer, dealt mainly with lawbreakers while Maddie dealt with the sometimes complex lives and problems of a diverse high school population. In this aspect, Rick came into the apocalypse with a unique set of skills that help him to ultimately survive, such as familiarity with firearms and the ability to think on his feet. Maddie, on the other hand is used to helping others through counseling and support rather than head-on conflict, but she’s also toughened from dealing with a variety of situations with both her students and her adult heroin addict son. Neither character seems to grasp what has happened at first, but with Rick’s advantage of seeing the world already fallen and the dead much further decayed, he’s more conservative in approaching them than Madison, who is dealing with friends, neighbors, and coworkers who are only recently dead and thus not as dead looking as they will be later. Rick also has the benefit of supporting characters who already know the score, such as Morgan and the group who rescue him from Atlanta and ultimately reunite him with his wife and son. Maddie, on the other hand, has only an already troubled student trying to tell her what’s really happening and the rantings of her heroin addicted son. To give credit, however, Maddie seems to come around to a survivalist way of thinking much quicker than some of the others, a trait that we can predict will likely have her emerging as a group leader as the show moves into season two. As with any show or movie centered on a zombie apocalypse, the zombies can also be seen as metaphors for natural world disasters, global epidemics, and the dangers of sticking our heads in the sand while disasters occur all around us. Fear the Walking Dead offers its fair share of support to these comparisons, with several characters spend most of the season stubbornly trying to cling to some semblance of order in a world quickly succumbing to chaos (I’m looking at you in particular, Travis). All in all, there is just enough uniqueness to the new series to maintain its success when placed side by side with the original. Going forward, we can predict that both shows will continue to enjoy a level of success other shows can only dream about. Catch up with both Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead on AMC through Dish, DirecTV and Comcast to see what your favorite characters have in store for the apocalypse. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.