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Hollywood North: Vancouver-shot Fear The Walking Dead sets cable TV ratings record

Hollywood North: Vancouver-shot Fear The Walking Dead sets cable TV ratings record
 This photo provided by AMC shows, Kim Dickens in a scene from "Fear the Walking Dead." The series premiere of "Fear the Walking Dead" made television history. Delivering 10.1 million viewers, it took the crown as most-watched series debut in cable TV history for total viewers and all key demos, the AMC network said Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. (Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC via AP)

The premiere episode of the Vancouver-filmed TV series Fear The Walking Dead broke cable television ratings records on Sunday.

The 90-minute opener of the zombie-themed show attracted 10.1 million viewers to AMC, the biggest audience ever for a cable series debut.

Fear the Walking Dead is a companion series to The Walking Dead, but focuses on new characters and storylines in the early days of the zombie outbreak. It's also set in Los Angeles, although filmed in Vancouver, whereas the original series takes place in Georgia.

While ratings were high, particularly in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 age range, where it set another record with 6.3 million views, but reviews were mixed for the first episode.

It garnered a lukewarm score of 66 on Metacritic.

Mark Perigard of the Boston Herald thought it was a bore.

"'Fear' resorts to the dumbest of jump scares and runs in circles. You'll get impatient for a walker to come chomping by. You might be disappointed when one does," he wrote.

While Joanne Ostrow of the Denver Post said because the series is a prequel, it works on an entirely different level than The Walking Dead. "The viewer knows what's coming but the characters don't. That gives the whole enterprise a sort of Hitchcockian suspense, a constantly terrifying subtext that works to sustain tension," she wrote.

The second installment in the six-episode series airs on Sunday.

AMC has ordered 15-episode second season for 2016.

ALSO SHOOTING IN VANCOUVER ...

  • War of the Planet of the Apes, the third movie in 20th Century Fox's Planet of The Apes reboot, will begin shooting in the B.C. on Oct. 18, although specific locations are not known. Director Matt Reeves, who helmed 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, will be back behind the camera for the sequel, while Gabriel Chavarria has been cast as one of film's human leads. It's hasn't been announced if Andy Serkis will once again don the motion-sensor suit to play Caesar, the series' lead ape. Much of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was shot in Vancouver, Golden Ears Provincial Park and Campbell River.
  • Production on Come and Find Me, a Vancouver-filmed thriller starring Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad), is scheduled to wrap up on Friday. The movie is the first feature for director Zack Whedon, a successful TV writer who has penned scripts for Fringe, Deadwood, Southland and Rubicon.

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