I have seen quite a few bad reviews of the pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead, and I have to disagree with all of them. I think that this episode was amazing! But before we get into it, I will let you know that there will be SPOILERS! SPOILER ALERT!!!
First off, I noticed that this spin off series is shot very differently than The Walking Dead. It seems to be more of a nod to your traditional horror film. It's not attempting to copy the formula from the original walking dead, but they do have a few nods to it (particularly, the first scene of the episode). I think this is the exact right way for them to approach this show, allow the show to develop it's own style, themes, and feel. Don't simply regurgitate the same crap that you already know will work!
Secondly, I saw Variety say "replace the annoying teenagers with some non-clichéd characters we can actually root for." I think that is a RIDICULOUS! How can you not be routing for Nick!? Nick is a junkie and something tells me that we are going to witness something amazing from this character. I will forecast that we will see a man get his life back in the midst of all the horror that there is in the world! We're going to see Nick become the Phoenix, or the redemption story.
If you want to get pretentious about this episode, you can already start to see this when you look at his interaction with Cal (his dealer). In the hospital Nick says he wants to get clean and then you see him slowly start to slip into routines that will lead him back down the road of addiction. Then when everything between him and Cal goes down, you see Nicky upset having shot his dealer/friend. Next Nick turns to his family, not because he wants to get help, but seemingly out of fear. Then Cal Attacks his family. When Nick gets behind the wheel of the truck you notice he hesitates, but then you see a subtle change in his face and you see him make a realization. That his family is more important. In my overly analytical eyes, when he runs over Cal, he is showing that he is choosing his family over drugs.
Also, how can anyone be judging the characters already!? Do I need to remind everyone how no one liked Daryl when he first showed up. He was a racist jerk. Now look at him! If he were to be killed off, there would be riots...or I would at least be afraid of the possibility of riots.
Third, COME ON! It's the first freaking episode. Of course it's not going to be flawless. It's going to go through growing pains and have to discover what it will be and who the characters will be throughout the next two seasons. Give it time to grow and learn to love it. Shows typically don't come out and blow you away on the first episode. I will say that I was a huge fan of it and I cannot wait for the next one.