September 27, 2022

The Pitch: The Strolling Useless, the flagship present of the long-running zombie apocalypse franchise, is lastly coming to an finish later this yr after 11 seasons. However the Strolling Useless universe is displaying no indicators of slowing down, with a number of spin-offs on the horizon, together with ones for fan-favorite Daryl in addition to Maggie and Negan, however the first to premiere is the anthology collection Tales of the Strolling Useless.

The collection, created by Strolling Useless honcho Scott M. Gimple and franchise stalwart Channing Powell, provides a degree of freedom by no means seen earlier than within the Strolling Useless universe, permitting new writers, administrators, and stars to inform stand-alone tales of the zombie outbreak. As with every anthology, high quality can differ wildly between entries, however the three episodes supplied for assessment are extra good than not, so there’s purpose for optimism.

Stars – They Survive the Zombie Apocalypse Simply Like Us! First, the unhealthy information: “Evie/Joe,” the present’s premiere, is a complete dud, regardless of starring Terry Crews and Olivia Munn. Crews performs Joe, a doomsday prepper who jovially waits out the zombie apocalypse in his soft bunker. However circumstances ultimately lead him to emerge from his bubble to traverse the wilderness, the place he encounters Munn’s new-age hippie kind. Cue the surface-level “can these two opposites get alongside” highway journey sitcom wackiness.

“Evie/Joe” tries for a lighter tone than most Strolling Useless fare, and whereas the hassle to tell apart itself is appreciated, the result’s far more grating than charming. Crews is often a beautiful display screen presence however feels miscast right here, for the reason that query of whether or not Joe will ever heat to Evie is rarely actually unsure when he’s performed by a man whose profession has primarily been outlined by “hardbody with a coronary heart of gold” roles. Munn does her greatest however is saddled with a heap of tiresome “free spirit” clichés. The entire thing simply doesn’t click on.

Tales of the Strolling Useless (AMC)

Nature vs. Nurture: Extra profitable is the fourth episode, “Amy/Dr. Everett,” which options one other loner encountering a spirited younger lady (the premise overlap ought to be worrisome, however the present’s clear connective tissue is placing two disparate individuals collectively and seeing if they will discover frequent trigger, so we’ll give it a move).

Anthony Edwards stars as Dr. Everett, a naturalist who lives in isolation, learning the zombies as a brand new species. Then at some point he saves Amy (Hacks scene-stealer Poppy Liu) from some walkers and she or he threatens to upend his total worldview.

On a floor degree, “Amy/Dr. Everett” is mainly what you’d anticipate from a Strolling Useless spin-off: filthy individuals operating across the woods, wrestling with zombies… and morality! However the naturalism angle provides a pleasant twist to a well-recognized story and it helps that Edwards is a way more convincing misanthrope than Crews. The story’s numerous turns in all probability received’t shock anybody acquainted with the Strolling Useless franchise, but it surely’s a strong entry with some good particulars.

Tales of Walking Dead Review

Tales of the Strolling Useless (AMC)

Greatest in Present: The strongest episode in a stroll is “Blair/Gina,” which has two main issues going for it: 1) casting Parker Posey and Jillian Bell and a couple of) throwing out the principles of the Strolling Useless universe to ship one thing wholly new to the franchise.

Set within the early days of the zombie outbreak, Gina (Bell) works as a receptionist at an insurance coverage workplace working below her obnoxious boss, Blair (Posey). How obnoxious? Nicely, Blair orders her workers to discipline calls whereas she plans to sneak out of the town along with her boyfriend. However when Gina goes to a gasoline station for snacks and encounters a stranded Blair, the pair get caught up in a very unusual collection of occasions that forces them to come back collectively and attempt to actually perceive each other.

That is being saved coy so you’ll be able to benefit from the episode unspoiled, however suffice to say, “Blair/Gina” takes a longtime style and applies it to the world of Strolling Useless, to very pleasurable outcomes. Posey may do that half in her sleep however nonetheless brings manic, self-absorbed power to Blair, and Bell proves her comedian equal, as the 2 ladies commerce verbal barbs and actually tear out each other’s hair.

And if the premise isn’t contemporary sufficient, the episode additionally options individuals who have showered just lately operating round precise civilization, one thing the franchise hasn’t seen in a few years. It’s a welcome departure in all types of how and that power is sufficient to carry it by.

The Verdict: Whereas the world in all probability doesn’t want yet one more Strolling Useless collection, this one at the least tries to liven issues up with identify actors and a spread in storytelling. Viewers who had beforehand given up on the franchise may admire the anthology format, with its emphasis on stand-alone tales (no combating the identical villain for a number of seasons right here!).

The present additionally delivers the standard zombie motion, so long-time viewers also needs to be happy. (And if followers resent this present not tying into the broader Strolling Useless universe, a future episode options Samantha Morton reprising her function as Whisperer chief Alpha.)

No matter your relationship to The Strolling Useless, search out “Blair/Gina.” That’s a enjoyable one.

The place to Watch: The primary episode of Tales of the Strolling Useless premieres on August 14th on AMC and the primary two episodes will likely be on AMC+ the identical day. Subsequent episodes will premiere weekly.

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