The Walking Dead: World Beyond promises a concept more interesting than its pilot

Alexa Mansour as Hope, Aliyah Royale as Iris, Hal Cumpston as Silas, Nicolas Cantu as Elton - The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz/AMC
Alexa Mansour as Hope, Aliyah Royale as Iris, Hal Cumpston as Silas, Nicolas Cantu as Elton - The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz/AMC /

The Walking Dead: World Beyond opens with a mixed bag, setting up a story that is much more interesting than the pilot episode.

The recent news that The Walking Dead would be leaving screens in 2022 brought with it mixed emotions because, though the show was long past its prime, it would still be hard to imagine a world without it. Clearly AMC feels the same way because it also announced that the universe would grow with two spin-offs after the TV show’s conclusion. But the planned TWD Universe has kicked off a lot sooner for new arrival The Walking Dead: World Beyond is upon us.

While the first TWD spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead, started off as a prequel, World Beyond gives us a look into the future – or, more accurately, the present – of the zombie apocalypse.

The results are more mixed than before as the show offers a different slant on the same apocalypse that dominated two other shows but it struggles with a series of bland characters and tonal inconsistencies that undercuts all of its more promising aspects.

Different but familiar

The Walking Dead: World Beyond‘s very appeal is that potentially gives TWD fans a glimpse into another aspect of the zombie apocalypse that Rick Grimes found himself in all those years ago. In a way, that’s exactly what it does because it quickly establishes itself as a different entity from both TWD and Fear The Walking Dead.  The problem is that those attempts to be different result in it losing all the luster that those two shows once possessed.

Centering on teenagers Iris Bennett (Aliyah Royale) and her sister Hope (Alexa Mansour), the series primarily boasts a young cast of characters as the girls later cross paths with Silas Plaskett (Hal Cumpston) and Elton Ortiz (Nicolas Cantu) – setting up the primary foursome that will, quite literally, take on the world. An interesting concept that is different enough from the previous shows to justify its own existence, it isn’t long before World Beyond falls victims to a number of tropes associated with YA TV.

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A show centering on young people isn’t the problem here, it’s the stereotypically youthful tone the show adopts that will no doubt leave it struggling to appeal to the core TWD audience. It’s too light-hearted – almost as if it were engineered for (or by) The CW – but it lacks the structure and format required for those easy-watching teenage shows, moving slowly like adult cable dramas without a narrative engaging or original enough to hold your interest.

There is potential throughout, with the mystery surrounding the girls’ father’s whereabouts and the mysterious Civic Republic being among the most promising aspects of the show, but if World Beyond really wants to succeed, it needs to continue heading in the direction that the pilot’s last act began taking it.

Brave new world

The series premiere of World Beyond is titled “Brave” for multiple reasons. For starters, that title is a reference to brave new world that this group of teenagers have found themselves coming of age in. It’s also a nod to the advice that the Civic Republic’s illusive Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond) gave to the Bennett sisters in regards to believing in their father and carrying on in his absence.

Ultimately, however, it’s a reference to the bravery of embarking on that coming-of-age journey and realizing that the only way to overcome your fear and inhibitions is to face them. That means venturing out into the unknown – after spending your childhood in safety – and facing the harsh realities of the world around you. Granted, in this case, that world is a hell ravaged by a decade of undead monsters, but that only serves as a metaphor for a much deeper story.

Iris’ realization that she needs to start living may have predictably taken her outside the walls of the sanctuary but that right there promises to offer up a more interesting story than the one we’ve witnessed thus far, enhancing her character along the way. And it also promises to give us a chance to really feel the weight of this brave new world as it does so.

That, the dynamic between the four protagonists and the outcome of two shocking twists in the final quarter could carry The Walking Dead: World Beyond out of mediocrity and closer to the greatness of its parent show.

C -. The Walking Dead: World Beyond is full of potential but its pilot episode fails to capitalize on much of that, falling victim to an abundance of YA tropes instead. But if its final act is anything to go by, it could start living up to that potential sooner rather than later.. The Walking Dead: World Beyond. S1E1. Brave

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What did you think of The Walking Dead: World Beyond‘s series premiere? Let us know in the comments below!