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‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Sneak Peek: What’s Scarier – Zombies or Disappointing Your Family?

When AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” premieres on August 23, it will transport viewers back to the period only hinted at in “The Walking Dead” — the time that elapsed during Rick Grimes’ coma, when a mysterious virus decimated society and produced undead creatures that came to be referred to (in some circles) as “walkers.”

“Fear” follows a fractured family at the onset of the outbreak, with high school guidance counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and English teacher Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) doing their best to maintain their stability — but the everyday pressure of blending two families while dealing with resentful, escapist, and strung out children takes a back seat when civilization begins to break down.

Travis, recently divorced from Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez), has moved in with his new love Madison and her two teenage kids, Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), which has only heightened tensions with his own son, Christopher (Lorenzo James Henrie). In Variety‘s exclusive gallery image below, Travis is caught between his responsibilities to his existing family and the one he’s trying to build with Madison — leaving Liza and Christopher looking decidedly displeased with him.

Elizabeth Rodriguez as Liza, Lorenzo James Henrie as Chris and Cliff Curtis as Travis - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 1, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Executive producer Dave Erickson recently elaborated on the importance of the family dynamic during an interview with Variety.

“What we are trying to do is start with holding on to the family drama as our main story, and then bringing in the apocalypse into it,” he noted. “For us it was a family drama, and then there were zombies. It’s interesting because Robert [Kirkman] has always said that it’s like ‘your parents got divorced, and oh, there were zombies.’ ‘You didn’t get asked to the prom, oh, there were zombies.’ I think that because we start a little bit earlier, we’ve got a little bit more real estate to play with that idea, and build it into something that becomes more and more apocalyptic. As things begin to disintegrate, it’s through the perspective and the lens of our core family, seeing this and trying to wrap their brains around it.”

Fear the Walking Dead” premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23 on AMC.

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