"Fear the Walking Dead" grumble thread: Not that there's anything wrong with that

The problem with this show is that there aren’t enough problems with this show. If it were great TV, it’d be worth writing about how great it is. It’s not great. But it’s pretty good! Certainly more inventive than “The Walking Dead,” from setting the show on water to using the transit narrative to introduce new characters each week to throwing us a curveball on Strand’s backstory as a thief turned, er, “companion” for a rich businessman. It’s solid. But … solid shows don’t produce many grumbles, which means you can’t hate-watch it like you would TWD. What am I supposed to do with the late-night Monday post if I can’t vent my rage at free entertainment?

Here’s a grumble. With the notable exception of Strand, I’m not sure there’s been a subplot yet involving one of the main characters that’s interesting. It’s the new characters they keep running into who are interesting — the family on the island, the plane crash survivors, now “Connor” and his band of merry men (and pregnant women). I don’t know how the show can sustain that. Critics like to attack TWD for killing off most of its black characters, but if this show follows suit by offing Strand, hoo boy. It won’t just be the boat that’s adrift with nothing to guide it. I thought they told his story smartly last night with those vignettes of his life with Abigail scattered throughout the hour, all of it tying together when you realize Nick’s been dispatched to deliver a message to Abigail’s right-hand man, Flores. “The Walking Dead” has done pre-apocalypse flashbacks for some of its core cast too but I don’t remember them telling the whole history of a relationship as economically as FTWD did last night. But that’s because the shows are different in nature. TWD is zombie pulp whereas FTWD is trying to be a legit zombie drama. Go figure that the latter would take more of an interest in developing creative backstories for its characters, from Strand’s history to Nick’s addiction to Salazar’s life torturing people as a younger man. They’re not cardboard cutouts. If only they had something more interesting to do.

One small thing that impressed me was Nick applying the lesson he learned last week about covering himself with zombie guts to walk among the undead undetected. The “Walking Dead” cast learned that trick years ago but it’s almost never deployed even though you would think it would quickly come to be seen as essential to survival. As gross as it is, it’s your only chance to avoid being devoured if you suddenly find yourself ambushed by a horde of zombies. For groups venturing outside the safety of a fortified community to go scavenge food or whatever, liberal applications of zombie viscera would seem like the logical first step. And yet it almost never happens. Why TWD doesn’t use it more, I don’t know. Maybe they think it’ll get played out. Nick using it for a second straight week was a little hint from FTWD, I thought, that they’re going to try to be more thoughtful about survival than their big brother is. Good sign.

I can’t let this post go without an opportunity to vent so, in lieu of a clip from last night’s show, enjoy the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history. It’s a few months old but I hadn’t seen it until last night. You’re going to love all the same jokes even more the second time around, especially when they’re delivered by less iconic comedians!