Who watched the season premiere? Boy, what a difference.
In the first place, we didn't see any of the regular cast until the very end, which was OK with me. One of the problems with Fear is that I really didn't care about the central cast much. With the quick addition of three (interesting) "new" characters -- Morgan, John Dorie and "Al" -- I had some people to root for.
I don't attribute my lack of interest in the main cast to the actors, by the way. While the parent show has been muddling along with mediocre scripts (even by TV standards), Fear had downright BAD writing. You could tell it would be typical TV just from watching the showrunner on Talking Dead -- he talked in cliches and pseudo-intellectual claptrap. He sounded like he was talking about Room 222 and that's pretty much what we got.
He's gone. Instead, TWD's showrunner has been promoted to King of the Dead, overseeing both shows and some ambitious marketing plans. He's appointed new showrunners for both shows. So we'll soon what the new team does.
Judging by the premier show, it could be interesting. It's cool that they appear to be in west Texas, because there ain't nothing there but sand, wind and lizards. That makes the apocalypse that much more vivid. And I like the actor playing John Dorie (he's also the scientist villain on The Gifted, and was a Terminator on the Sarah Connor Chronicles). The firefight was well done, and I'm glad to see that they remembered that the Dead are a genuine threat. Did you notice Al's hand blades? Shades of Wolverine! (And since it's TV, they make a "shink" noise for no reason.)
Downsides: Morgan walked into a trap three times, and Al and John twice. How have these people lived so long?
As to the old cast, we don't see Mama, but we do see Nick and Alicia -- both of whom are vaguely interesting, and may be more interesting with new writers. We also see the Hispanic chick, who was clearly being set up as a major character in seasons 2 and 3, but I couldn't figure out why -- I didn't see what she brought to the table except her looks, and the show already had two pin-up girls, one of them Hispanic. (Maybe now I'll find out.) Unfortunately, Victor Strand is still alive, a character I find actively irritating and repellant. No sign of Madison, but you know she'll be along, and she's not bad -- except when she's inexplicably teaming up with Victor.
One of the things I find encouraging is that all of these people are together. One of the irritating habits of the old writing crew was to have people strike out on their own for no legitimate reason. They were doing that to open up storylines, of course, but made no sense in-story. Because striking out on your own in the zombie apocalypse is certain death and you'd better have a damn good reason for doing it. But Nick took off twice, Alicia once, Chris twice, Ofelia once and Luciana once, from safe places or family, for no reason other than pique, or in Alicia's case, no reason whatsoever. (And she ended up blundering back into her family in a few episodes, so her sojourn was utterly pointless.) That was jaw-droppingly stupid writing. Maybe now these people will act with a little more plausibility.
I mentioned earlier that I had to talk my wife into watching Fear because a season of bad writing on TWD had made her reluctant to jump back in now that the mothership has concluded season 8. I did (after letting her watch The Terror first) and she admitted that it wasn't too bad. That's a start.
"She also is convinced that, not only is Naomi alive, but that she is Charlie’s mother and one of the Vultures."
Wow.she was correct on two out of three. I don't necessarily like that kind of storytelling (which I refer to as
"The Jack Napier Syndrome"). It's like when it was revealed that Princess Leia was Luke Skywalker's sister. Too "convienient." Back on topic, I hope Dorrie survives. It would be a shame if they killed off one of the most inteersting characters in 3+ seasons so soon after he was introduced.