The Walking Dead has been a franchise loved by zombie fans for an entire decade. Since it’s been ten years since the series debut, showrunners decided to play with the idea of what happens ten years after a zombie apocalypse begins. This idea birthed The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a coming-of-age story about what happens when you grow up with a looming threat of zombies. All of the characters have seen zombies at their worst. They are some of the few to have survived it. Where does that leave young adults who can barely remember a world before zombies existed? In this review of the first episode of World Beyond, we look at whether the fantastic idea lands on its feet or gets bitten too early on.
World Beyond Review: It Has Potential, But Is That Enough?
The premise of The Walking Dead: World Beyond is simple. Two sisters lost their mother early in the zombie apocalypse when they were only children. This leaves them to grow up with their father. However, his intelligence makes him valuable. He eventually leaves to help The Civic Republic with his scientific background. The girls are left alone in the Campus Colony, a place made up of fellow survivors of the apocalypse. Things are back to a “new normal”, and we’re watching them answer the question of how a world can go back to stability after such a chaotic event. Once the girls receive word that their dad might not be safe, Hope and Iris ignore their differences and decide to go learn more about their weird little world.
One of the biggest mistakes that this show makes is with its characters. The core group is made up of the two sisters and two boys that are eager to join them on their quest to find their father. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this gang before. There’s a pair of siblings where one is much more rebellious and street smart than the book smart, but innocent, sister. There’s the “geeky” kid who is secretly the bravest and coolest. Then there’s the quiet boy who is probably the sweetest of the bunch. Sound like other coming of age stories? Yeah, we thought so, too.
Image by Sarah Shatz via AMC
A Show That Is Almost Amazing, But Falls Short
Our main review of World Beyond is that it provides us with an exciting premise that, by all means, should be great. Zombies are fun to watch. This gives us a taste of them while also providing us with the potential for a beautiful bildungsroman. All of these characters have gone through childhood trauma that none of us can relate to. Still, we can easily imagine how it may affect them. Instead of three-dimensional characters, they give us a wannabee-badass rebel and a to-the-book, rule-following character who goes through a major change in behavior within the first episode.
In complete honesty, I have never watched The Walking Dead. I did, however, read many of the comic books, but not all. So, my review of World Beyond is coming from somebody who loves the zombie genre but has no special connection to the franchise. But a great spin-off should be watchable for non-hardcore fans, too. For example, you can enjoy Better Call Saul without ever watching Breaking Bad. Sure, watching Breaking Bad will give you a finer appreciation for it, but it’s not necessary. I can’t figure out if a The Walking Dead fan would dislike World Beyond more or less than somebody who hasn’t. And that’s a problem.
Image by Sarah Shatz via AMC
Our Review of World Beyond Gives It One More Episode
I have some faith in World Beyond. We barely see the Civic Republic. So, these government-approved “villains” might end up being explored in such a way that makes them the best part of the show. There is also lots of time to develop the personalities of the boys who join Iris and Hope on their journey. So, not all hope is lost.
Our final decision from this review of The Walking Dead: World Beyond is that we’ll give it one more episode. After all, you can never spend too much time watching zombie content, right? Oh, and a zombie pandemic is more entertaining than looking outside our windows and watching a real pandemic going on.
Head over to AMC to watch World Beyond for yourself, with new episodes airing each week this fall! Let us know what you think of the new spin-off series.
Featured image by Sarah Shatz via AMC.
Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.