Fall Season Reviews
In a quick change up of things I will be covering the seasons of Fear the Walking Dead and The Strain- Season 2.
Fear the Walking Dead
In my initial review of Fear the Walking Dead I had quite a few issues. The biggest being the fact that the show’s main family was boring as sin. Well it’s been a few weeks and the season is already over. Has the show gotten better? Is the family less boring? Does it at least look good? As it seems to be with Walking Dead shows my answer is “kind of.”
I have to be honest despite 6 episodes of development I found the Clark family to be pretty boring. For a solid 4 or 5 episodes we focus on Nick and his drug addiction and boy is it a bore. I understand wanting to equate drug addiction to being the living dead but it’s so obvious and heavy handed. By the time he’s giving a speech stating this exact fact I was ready to tap out. The rest of the family fairs a bit better. While his sister does nothing of note seeing Madison and Travis (his mom and step-father figure) handle everything around them can be interesting, at least in the later episodes. For the first three episodes it’s the family walking around and hanging out with a latino family that tagged along. Only when the military shows up, setting up a solid villain, does the show pick up.
Oh yeah and there are zombies. While the catalyst for the series they really don’t play a huge factor. A total bummer because they look great. Even though they aren’t deteriorated like the main series we get some killer make up. There’s one shot of a zombie’s face getting shot off that looks better than most movies let alone TV shows. Helping this is the fact that LA makes for a great location. Even taking place in a neighborhood we get some beautiful shots of California giving the show it’s own distinct look.
While a bit obvious I can best compare this to The Walking Dead season one. Another shortened season for the most part they are focused on world building more than anything else. It’s done well enough but we are following the wrong characters the entire time. Instead of the more engaging supporting cast our leads have fairly generic issues (I didn’t even cover the daughter wanting to see her infected boyfriend which is quickly dropped). Fortunately by the end of the season things pick up enough to keep you interested. At least for one more season. Now if it becomes another bad Intervention rip off again I’m out.
The Strain- Season 2
What if I told you there was a show about vampires. Too generic? How about a about vampires taking over New York. A New York who’s only line of defense consists of genre film main stay Kevin Durand, Yellowjacket from Ant-Man, a Blade knock off and a Mexican luchador helping lead a gang of cholos. Sounds like the greatest show ever, right? As it turns out no it isn’t.
The biggest problem was that the show didn’t really have much of a focus. Unlike last season the main arc seems to be the search for the Lumen, a book that could stop The Master and his minions. You can talk about how important it is all you want but at the end of the day the season revolves around a Scholastic book sale. By the time they meet Marlo from The Wire to sell it I just want to be done with it all. It doesn’t help that everybody seems to make the stupidest of decisions with the worst at the end of the season. Eph’s son Zack has been told countless times that his mother is a vampie. Not only has he been told but he had seen he it himself. Despite this not only does he let her infect Nora (one of the few good characters) but he leaves with his mother hand-in-hand. Decisions like this wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t treated so seriously.
Like last season the show excels in it’s goofier moments. The introduction of the Silver Angel is easily the best part of the series. Filmed by Guillermo del Toro it’s a great tribute to the old school luchadore movies of the 50’s and 60’s. Seeing the older, beaten down Silver Angel with a shotgun killing vampires is just as fun. The over-the-top performances from the supporting cast work just as well. Then there’s the vampire militia hunting the Master who take in Gus to help them. As ridiculous as it is it works in a world where New York doesn’t seem THAT scared of vampires taking over the 5 boroughs.
At it’s best The Strain can be some great genre television. With some great special effects and the right tone it can be one of the best horror shows on TV. Unfortunately our main characters still seem to be the bland group they were last season. The show can still be a blast but I really wish they would be more consistent. Or at the very least have Silver Angel bust out some lucha libre. A vampire getting it’s armed ripped off with a La Mistica would be amazing.