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Monday, December 12, 2016

'Fear the Walking Dead' S2 BD: 'Lost in Space' with Zombies

The witty reference to sea legs in the review that Anchor Bay Entertainment promotes on the back of the Blu-ray release, which hits real and virtual store shelves on December 13 2016, of the second season of the amc hit series "Fear the Walking Dead" arguably is the best-ever snapshot of a show. Readers who either are unfamiliar with "Fear" or would like a primer of the lore of the series are invited to check out the Unreal TV S1 SE review.

The first general note regarding this release is that it comes ahead of a (hopefully not too late) 2017 S3 premiere. It also is worth sharing that the exceptional Blu-ray enhancement of the theatrical-film quality cinematography and sound make for a great holiday season marathon (rather than binge) viewing of all 15 episodes and copious special features.

This "Walking Dead" spinoff starts with a reverse "Gilligan's Island" ala the seven stranded castaways (not including their skipper) around which "Fear" centers fleeing dry land for the perceived safety of the open seas and the promise of paradise in the home of the one true ComicCon San Diego.

High school guidance counselor/widow Madison, colleague/significant other Travis, former junkie teen son Nick, golden girl Alicia, and the rest soon find that the yachting life is not all smooth sailing. In this respect, the season initially takes on a "Lost in Space" vibe in having a post-nuclear family and their pilot blindly traveling around and encountering hostile "aliens" each week.

Early threats include a capsized boatload of "infected" (the "z" word seems verboten), who show that not needing to breathe creates a tactical advantage in the open water, and a boat full of zombie chow who are bearing down on our crew aboard their luxurious fishing boat.

The first effort of our gang to literally find a safe harbor brings them into contact with a not-so-stable ranger who lives on a nature preserve with his submissive wife and three children. Though a twice-daily culling seems to keep the "infected" under control, the harsh realities of afterlife soon crash down on that group and our heroes.

This episode is one of the best of the season; the memorable scenes in this outing include the young son of the ranger being even more perverse with his action figures than most lads and his naively being excited when Mommy comes home for dinner.

The journey to this strange island further triggers other season-long drama. Teen boy Chris begins his personal descent into madness, and others in the group start to struggle with their inability to help others to the desired extent.

The next major threat comes in the form of brutal pirates, who are there at an inadvertent invitation. The ensuing mayhem and carnage are among the most vicious and brutal in any basic cable program.

Moving ahead to the second half of the season, a run for the border results in our group arriving in Mexico. As is the new normal for this intrepid band, their first paradise soon becomes anything but ideal. It is equally true that this is due to human weakness and/or stupidity. In other words, "Fear" shows that the degree to which mankind is our own worst enemy extends WELL beyond our family and friends now literally frantically chomping to put a bite on us.

Leaving that haven results in the folks who are still around to crack and go their separate ways. The most intriguing subplot regarding this is a member of the group going native in the form of pasting on blood and guts and joining a band of "infected" out of a belief of limited immunity. The ultimate harsh reality that crashes down on this daydream believer (but hardly homecoming queen) is another memorable segment of S2.

Two members of Team Omega ending up at a five-star Mexican hotel provides the setting for the most soul-searching stories in the season. The challenges exceed ridding the resort of the guests who make the hotel-room trashing '70s rock band The Who seem like ideal visitors. Surviving requires making peace with other residents who arguably have a beef with the hotel employee who is still on the job. Additionally, new guests arriving creates a whole new set of problems.

Additional awesomeness comes via regular flashbacks that fill in the origin stories of main and peripheral characters and/or the plague that leads to hordes of "infected" roaming around. These include scenes of Nick both in rehab and his subsequent squat and how the "skipper" comes to possess a big expensive boat and the good graces of a wealthy family.

The aforementioned bonus features include the 14-minute 16-episode webisode series "Flight 462." This revolves around the worst plane trip since Oceanic Flight 815.

The good folks at Anchor Bay further include a 2016 PaleyFest Q & A session, and a "making-of" documentary.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Fear" is strongly encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.