The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season One
review by Bobby Blakey
Like most I was a big fan of The Walking Dead series that debuted in 2010. Now heading into its eleventh and final season they have been expanding the world in new shows including Fear the Walking Dead that debuted in 2015, currently heading into its seventh season. In 2020 a new spin-off series premiered with The Walking Dead: World Beyond starring Aliyah Royale, Alexa Mansour, Hal Cumpston, Nicolas Cantu, Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru and Julia Ormond. Could this latest chapter of the franchise bring more undead human intrigue or will it fail to rise to the occasion?
The Walking Dead: World Beyond follows a decade into the apocalypse, where sisters Hope and Iris Bennett have grown up inside the walls of one of the few remaining first-world communities. Their home, the Campus Colony, is a satellite settlement with a population of just under ten-thousand, located a hundred miles outside surviving city of Omaha, Nebraska. The sisters' scientist father conducts research over one-thousand miles away in a research facility run by the Civic Republic, an ally of Omaha, but one that does not reveal its location to outsiders. When the sisters receive a message that their father might be in a danger, they defy their own community's rules and enlist their friends Elton and Silas to embark on a cross-country quest to save him. Leaving their sheltered upbringing behind, these teenagers learn how to fight threats both living and dead as they travel through a beautiful but decaying and dangerous world.
The original series has been a bit of an up and down struggle for me and I never really could get into Fear the Walking Dead so was a bit hesitant heading into this latest entry. While I do like the different take here and younger cast it still never fully pulled me in. We are dropped into a new time that allows them to do new things here and there is a lot of changes. Sure it is still the world of the undead they are trying to survive in, but they have changed what they refer to them as and the bigger narrative. This is fine and necessary to create something new, but right out the gate it felt like you have missed so much.
This is obviously a story element as it slowly unfolds more info about each character and their past as well as the new things outside of the walkers now known as empties in this series. Despite the silly new name for them they are very much still awesome and offer up some great visuals with one of my favorites being a gas mask one that is just badass looking. The bigger issue here is that I just never really cared about any of these characters with the exception of one whose dark past is interesting. The rest seem to be more generic and convoluted stereotyped characters with not much that stands out. That being said as the season moves forward it does dive more into their origins a bit more and maybe with time it will come together more, but for me it just kind of fell flat initially.
In the end it is great to see them trying to do more with this world, but sometimes less is more. There are no doubt a plethora of stories and the struggle to not just repeat yourself, but this one just needs something else to help it pop. Decide for yourself or revisit it if you are already a fan and grab your copy of The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season One available now on Blu-ray and DVD from AMC Studios.