The four episodes previewed from this six-episode anthology showcase a variety of tones and, thanks to the in-and-out requirement, the ability to attract interesting actors. The writing, however, feels particularly weak, trying to tell small-scale stories that capture society falling apart while usually focusing on a pair of characters thrown together in some peculiar way.
After that, these tales offer a mixed bag, both qualitatively and stylistically. Parker Posey and Jillian Bell star in an hour that traps a self-absorbed business owner and her employee in a bizarre time loop — easily the weakest of the bunch, feeling as if it parachuted in from yet another universe. It’s as if someone said zombie stories aren’t overdone enough, let’s toss in more overused sci-fi time-bending conceits for good measure.
Charitably, “Tales of the Walking Dead” is just another way to kindle the flame until the flagship program begins its final march in October.
With a world of stories from which to choose, in success it would be simple enough for these “Tales” to rise again. Still, presented with boundless possibilities, this opening salvo serves as an uninspired addition to a franchise whose progeny — both too often and somewhat ironically — have just seemed to mindlessly follow the crowd.
“Tales of the Walking Dead” premieres Aug. 14 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC and AMC+.