The highly anticipated prequel/companion television series to The Walking Dead entitled Fear The Walking Dead (FTWD), has finally made its debut to record-breaking ratings.
The series is set in Los Angeles during the very beginning of the viral outbreak responsible for the zombie apocalypse.
While it is sure to be another feather-in-the-cap for AMC network, the pilot left me extremely underwhelmed.
While the premise sounds intriguing on paper, most of the expanded 90-minute runtime of the pilot focused on tedious, uninteresting melodrama generated by the show's central (and extremely unsympathetic) characters.
Granted, I'm not the biggest fan of zombie stories, or of The Walking Dead specifically. Yet, I did watch the premiere episode of The Walking Dead, and feel it's one of the best television pilots ever produced.
Key characters were introduced in a dynamic narrative that never once felt self-indulgent or meandering.
Surprisingly, the FTWD pilot failed to emulate its predecessor on both counts.
Fortunately, there are other zombie stories being told onscreen. Tales that effectively use zombies as a backdrop to explore universal facets of the human experience.
The following two zombie short films are prime examples.
Each one uses the zombie apocalypse to tell engrossing stories about the human condition much better than the Fear The Walking Dead pilot
Stranded during the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, a man devises a desperate plan to save his beloved infant daughter.
Released online in 2013, this short was a finalist in TROPFEST, the world's largest short film festival. It has garnered over 9 million views on YouTube to date.
Watch CARGO here ...
Super Zero: Badass Journey Into Zombie Awesomeness
Meet Josh, a likable, geeky young man who receives devastating news - and then the zombie apocalypse begins.
However, the end of civilization causes Josh to mine depths of strength he never knew he had, and a most unlikely hero is born!
Written by independent filmmaker Mitch Cohen, this action-comedy is also deceptively poignant and triumphant.
Watch Super Zero here ...
Both of these exceptional shorts prove exciting zombie stories can still be told with a compelling narrative, economy of pacing, smart script, and soulful performances - all in less than 15 minutes.
The producers of Fear The Walking Dead should take a few notes.
Do you agree or disagree with my assessment of the FTWD pilot? Please feel free to share your thoughts below - just keep it civil!
Both Cargo and Super Zero: Badass Journey Into Zombie Awesomeness are included in our ebook: 200 Best Online Sci-Fi Short Films. Download your copy to experience 200 of the best science fiction and genre shorts on the web!
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