TV Review: The Walking Dead: World Beyond Premiere Tired and LifelessOctober 5, 2020
With The Walking Dead set to end after season eleven, the universe has expanded yet again, with The Walking Dead: World Beyond trying to tackle the teen angst/viewpoint, no doubt trying to capitalize on those fans invested in CW shows and Stranger Things. Sadly though, the interesting moments were few and far between, leaving the show franchise looking more tired than ever before, not exactly the way you want to start your push into new territories and ideas.
Set ten years after the zombie apocalypse ( I find it humorous that we still don’t know how it all started ) we meet sisters Iris (Aliyah Royale) and Hope (Alexa Mansour), two teenagers at very different places in their lives. Iris is more straight and narrow, respected, whereas Hope makes illegal booze and gets in trouble with the authorities. They live in a locked-down and relatively secured college campus, dealing with guilt, trauma, and numerous other things, and whose father has left to lend his brilliance as a scientist to help the ominous-looking, clad in black, Civil Republic.
Through flashbacks and stories, we find out what haunts the sisters, what drives them to both hope, succeed, and question. It is an interesting set up that ultimately falls flat, like most of the premiere. It was frustrated to watch as there are times that where the writers seem ready to take the viewer somewhere interesting, only to fall back on tired clichés and moments of ridiculous dialogue. Eventually, the sisters set out on a long journey, joined by Silas (Hal Cumpston), who has a dark and sad past, and the younger Elton (Nicolas Cantu), who doesn’t feel there is much hope for them but chooses to go on this journey anyways.
Logically, you would think these four have no chance but in this universe, as with all good shows with similar themes, it is about the journey, not that actual destination. The writers want the viewers to quickly invest in the characters, especially the sisters, who struggle with numerous things while trying to do the right thing. Too often though it rings hollow, like they are in a rush to get there, which is a shame because there could be some potential there. Wonderful landscape and zombie shots are fleeting, adding to the frustration I was already feeling.
The Civil Republic seems bad from the get-go, the black uniforms, and military attitude towards everything making them easy targets. Julia Ormond leads this group, with her offers of friendship and cooperation seemingly hiding another agenda. She reminded me of one of the lizard people in V, nice on the outside but hiding something dark underneath. It was nice to see a separate group introduced so quickly and ramp up the tensions, even if it didn’t last very long.
Watching World Beyond made me think of so many shows that hung on way past their prime. With the original Walking Dead now with a series finale date, Fear the Walking Dead entering its sixth season, you have to wonder how much longer this franchise can go on. Sadly, without some improvement, and quickly I might add, World Beyond might be remembered simply as that show that tried to extend a universe/franchise past its due date.
Two stars out of five.