May 2019 was zombie TV show business as usual, but with a social criticism thriller series and a gnomes twist on a detective story formula in the movie department.
Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3) [6/10]
Fear the Walking Dead (Season 4) [5/10]
The Purge (Season 1) [9/10]
The third season of Fear the Walking Dead treads familiar ground for a zombie apocalypse show: taking care of resources and surviving both human and undead attacks. Unfortunately, despite some gratuitous violence, most of the time is spent talking between uninteresting characters, and while there are a few tense moments, the show simply lacks any identity or memorable scenes, except for the finale that is both shocking and emotional. However, it’s far too late to care anymore, as relying too much on character interactions with only a few zombies thrown in only works for so long.
The fourth season of Fear the Walking Dead makes the big mistake of showing so many flashbacks and trying to be so clever that one doesn’t only lose track of time, but also interest. Letting a certain character go is one thing, but dwelling too much on the past is another. So by trying to tell various stories and even leaving the main characters behind to introduce more, going so far as taking the Morgan character from The Walking Dead, proves that there is something wrong with the ones established in the previous seasons. The producers of the show probably got tired of them just as the audience, which is the only explanation why completely new storylines are built. Except for a very cool sequence that is as bloody as it is intense, the show doesn’t offer many highlights or reasons to continue watching, even if a crossover with The Walking Dead is interesting.
The Purge as a TV show was inevitable, as the movies always dealt with multiple storylines and characters. Despite being much longer as a movie, the first (and hopefully not last) season of The Purge does a wonderful job of keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Just as in the Saw movies, one is left guessing what happens next and how much worse the situations for different characters can become. However, it’s not simply a rehash of the same sick formula, but a satisfying continuation of the downfall of the American dream and society as a whole. While it’s certainly not perfect, the show offers enough twists and turns, while presenting the violence and thriller elements one expects, going even further into social criticism. Presenting all sorts of interesting (and horrible) ways to survive and die in that one special night, one is given a much more cohesive look at the system, creating all sorts of opportunities for the next season.
Sherlock Gnomes (7/10)
Sherlock Gnomes‘ unique selling point is obviously the same as with Gnomeo and Juliet: taking a well-known storyline or genre and simply adding gnomes as characters. Just like the animated predecessor, the formula works to a certain degree, but doesn’t quite deliver on the jokes or originality of a Pixar movie. This is because the humor is often rather childish and hit or miss, while the storyline isn’t very engaging. The lack of investigation scenes is the biggest problem, considering that this is what makes a Sherlock Holmes story successful. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any funny moments, like the strange disguise as crisps bags or the main villain’s outrageously silly look, but it remains a rather forgettable experience that is only entertaining for so long as the unique selling point can hold up.
Despite having been surprised by the first seasons of Fear the Walking Dead, I have to say that I’ve lost interest in the show, so even if I’ll probably give the newest one another go, I’m not sure what to expect. I’d much rather watch the next The Purge season and another gnome movie making fun of other genres or franchises, though.