I wanted to watch the pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead despite the lukewarm reviews. I checked and it was available for streaming at the AMC website. They often do full episode streaming but maybe the poor reviews helped. The only hitch was that I would prefer to watch on my TV instead of my laptop. Bookmarked the streaming link for later.

Cut to me firing up my Xbox to watch some Netflix and there on the Xbox home page was a graphic for Fear the Walking Dead. I clicked on it thinking, “Could it be this easy? They’re promoting it. I can watch on my TV.”

But no. It could not be that easy. Through Xbox video they are charging to watch the pilot episode. Screw that. I watched it on my laptop.

And I thought it was pretty good. I’m not sure why people are complaining. The entire rest of the series will be full of zombies. This episode was about life just before the zombies and as the zombies emerged. For me, that transition is the most interesting and creative part of the show anyway. Things falling apart.

What I think they got right is the general cluelessness. If anything they underestimated it. We humans are lousy at recognizing change. Me included. When I first heard about both Facebook and Twitter, I thought, “Sounds like a total waste of time.” And they are. And I have accounts on both. What I failed to understand is that humans are constantly looking for new ways to waste time.

Just like we are always looking for more shows about zombies.

Zombies would sneak up on us like Hitler snuck up on Russia. Even though every ounce of intelligence screamed to Stalin, “HITLER IS GOING TO ATTACK,” he was sure Hitler would never invade. If I encountered a zombie, if I saw someone rise from apparent death, my first thought would be, “Well, I guess he ain’t dead.” Not, “Oh my god a zombie!” If I saw police shoot a guy ten times and watched him fall down and then get up, I would think, “I can’t believe he’s still alive after all that, but humans are resilient.” Not, “He must be a zombie. Only a zombie could survive all that.” If an apparently dead guy got up and started growling at me and gnashing his teeth and chewing on other bodies, I would think, “So he’s alive and he has rabies. I better get out of here because animals with rabies have hulk strength. Plus I don’t want rabies.”

Watching TV as I get older, I feel for the actors in the same way I feel for any player that gets cut from any NFL team. Dreamers in crisis. I imagine a particular actor getting the call from his agent:

AGENT: Good news, buddy, you’ve been cast for a major role in the new Walking Dead!
ACTOR: Holy shit! I can’t believe it! My big break!
AGENT: The bad news is you die in the pilot.

You were good [name redacted — spoiler]. I’m sure you’ll get more parts soon.

Here come the zombies.