As the unique The Strolling Lifeless sequence gears up for its eleventh and closing season commencing October 2, followers have been inundated with bulletins of latest and upcoming spinoffs to maintain the franchise alive. The latest is the six-episode anthology sequence Tales of the Strolling Lifeless. What’s most stunning about this sequence, which aired its six-episode first season on AMC in mid-August by means of to late September, is that, not like others resembling Concern the Strolling Lifeless and Strolling Lifeless: World Past, you don’t want to observe the unique to really respect the present and perceive what’s occurring. These are standalone, compartmentalized tales with no continuity or crossovers with the unique past the dystopian state of the world…and the workforce behind it.
Like the opposite Strolling Lifeless sequence, the undead roam the streets, trying to satiate their voracious appetites for human flesh. However the characters and tales are utterly distinctive not solely from the principle present, however from each other as effectively. Every episode has its personal distinct appear and feel, becoming into totally different genres that may make you giggle, cry, wince, and soar out of your seat. Since there are not any connections, you possibly can watch them in any order as effectively.
Every episode includes a single or pair of protagonists, every of whom involves a selected revelation about themselves ultimately. You’ll nonetheless discover the same old zombies, gore, and excessive situations testing survival expertise. However the present goes a lot deeper and does so in genre-bending ways in which make Tales of the Strolling Lifeless totally different from anything you might need seen on TV earlier than.
The Strolling Lifeless and its preliminary spinoffs have been laser-focused on survival and preventing off enemies, each human and undead. Conversely, a number of the episodes in Tales of the Strolling Lifeless present a lighter, extra comedic tone that hasn’t beforehand been explored past the odd sarcastic joke from Glenn or snarky quip from Negan. A number of sub-genres are superbly woven into every character-driven episode as effectively, in order that they serve like mini-movies.
The primary episode “Evie/Joe” presents like a buddy cop movie, with Joe (Terry Crews) assembly Evie (Olivia Munn) by happenstance. Regardless of a violent first assembly and totally different viewpoints on life, the 2 reluctantly enterprise off collectively on a highway journey, belting out nation tunes as they motor alongside the freeway to achieve a faraway vacation spot.
The episode switches tone by the top, nonetheless, because the story takes on a corny slasher horror film vibe solely to flip again to one thing extra akin to a twisted anti-rom-com.
Transferring on to episode 2, whereas the underlying scenario is dire with Blair (Parker Posey) and Gina (Jillian Bell) in “Blair/Gina,” there are moments paying homage to female-led comedies like Bridesmaids mixed with traditional cartoons like Highway Runner. The pair face demise time and time once more, attempting desperately to finish a irritating time loop that all the time ends of their brutal demise. You’ll get Groundhog Day meets Workplace Area vibes with this one.
Not each episode injects comedy, nonetheless: Episode 3, that includes the backstory of Alpha (Samantha Morton, who originated the function in the principle sequence) known as “Dee,” is heart-wrenching, devastating, and emotional. It returns to a glance, really feel, and tone that followers of the franchise are used to.
There’s a recent perspective a couple of character who followers got here to know and detest, seeing the particular person she was previous to when she turned the vicious chief of the Whisperers. Even with out figuring out her as Alpha, although, it’s a compelling mother-daughter story about fractured relationships, class disparity, and psychological well being.
You’ll get a really totally different really feel within the fourth episode, “Amy/Dr. Everett,” following the reclusive Dr. Everett (Anthony Edwards) as he trudges by means of the wasteland, documenting and researching his findings in regards to the “homo mortuus,” his title for walkers. Donning his jacket product of walker pores and skin, it’s an episode that originally comes throughout like an journey survivalist wildlife documentary.
To him, it’s all about science and a chance to analysis and be taught. When he meets a younger, effervescent lady named Amy (Poppy Liu) with a thirst for the wonder in life, nature, and human connection, nonetheless, she assessments his endurance by urging him to query his outlook and what actually issues.
The vibe then shifts to a terrifying neo-noir/psychological thriller in Davon. Affected by a debilitating head wound and an amputated decrease leg, Davon (Jessie T. Usher) can’t bear in mind something earlier than his accident nor shake his hallucinations and a strolling lifeless ghost that retains calling him a assassin. There are components of ritualistic sacrifice, cults, and even political undertones that contact on racial tensions and herd mentalities.
In “La Dona,” the feel and appear follow the terrifying to intently resemble the type of a standard horror film. A younger couple, Idalia (Daniella Pineda) and Eric (Danny Ramirez) are successfully trapped in a haunted home of horrors. You’ll get satisfying bumps within the night time because the couple is plagued by ghosts and unusual and supernatural happenings, all a part of coping with the ethical repercussions of the tough selections they’ve made to get them up to now.
The anthology nature of Tales of the Strolling Lifeless makes this back-and-forth work. The tales by no means really feel disjointed as a result of every has its personal starting, center, and finish that wraps issues up neatly throughout the hour. In some circumstances, this leaves you wanting extra. With the Alpha-centric episode “Dee,” followers are left curious in regards to the occasions between Alpha first assembly the Whisperers and taking on the group. The ultimate episode, “La Dona,” ends in a method that has followers itching to be taught extra in regards to the backstory of the mysterious house owner.
By and huge, nonetheless, every episode ends in a satisfying method. Critics agree, calling the one-off tales an “attention-grabbing” addition to the “well-trodden Strolling Lifeless dystopia” and referring to the episodes as each “entertaining” and “weird.”
Whereas Tales of the Strolling Lifeless will attraction to anybody thinking about distinctive and intelligent storytelling throughout the dystopian drama style, die-hard Strolling Lifeless followers are rewarded with just a few tidbits that they’ll respect, too. “Dee” supplies deeper perception into the trauma Lydia endured as a bit lady and a few background on Alpha and her life previous to becoming a member of the Whisperers. There’s additionally a reveal of the origin of The Whisperers and the way Alpha got here to be a part of them (and the way excessive the stakes had been earlier than she did).
One other enjoyable Easter egg: Eager-eyed viewers will discover in “Davon” that when the title character is holding a photograph of his household, he has a card with “PPP” written on it in his pockets. It’s similar to the one Heath had earlier than he mysteriously disappeared on The Strolling Lifeless. The refined callback may show to have which means in some unspecified time in the future down the road inside one (or extra) of the various upcoming spinoffs.
The characters on this sequence may seek advice from the strolling corpses by their very own inventive names: homo mortuus, chompers, toe tags, sleepwalkers, and sonambulo (which interprets to sleepwalk). However they’re all the identical walkers followers have come to know and concern from The Strolling Lifeless universe. Identical to within the authentic sequence, the zombies aren’t the largest threats to people: It’s their very own human nature and private demons that pose the largest hindrance to survival.
You’ll discover that on the coronary heart of each episode is relationships, from new friendships to romantic relationships being put to the take a look at, discovering closure and saying goodbye, exploring familial bonds, and odd pairings. An overarching theme is the significance of getting folks you possibly can belief by your aspect, notably in a scenario just like the apocalypse. It’s potential to go at it alone, nevertheless it’s much more rewarding to have one thing, or somebody, to struggle for.
Tales of the Strolling Lifeless is a superb option to honor a franchise that refuses to die. Producers, writers, and showrunners are exploring each angle conceivable, throwing them on the wall, and seeing what sticks. This spinoff breathes new life into the potential-for-getting-stale tales not solely by introducing new characters, however by telling the tales themselves in non-formulaic, inventive, and thrilling methods.
One of the best half is that Tales of the Strolling Lifeless is simply as a lot for long-time followers as it’s for many who are utterly new to The Strolling Lifeless world.
All six episodes of Tales of the Strolling Lifeless are at present obtainable to stream on AMC+.