'Fear the Walking Dead,' 'The Strain' take similar concepts in different directions

(CNN)"Fear the Walking Dead" and "The Strain" both deal with society unraveling in the face of a virus-like supernatural threat. But the AMC and FX programs, which return on successive Sundays this month, demonstrate how similar concepts can go in very different creative directions.

Where "The Strain" is good, pulpy fun, with lots of action, gallows humor and dense mythology, "Fear The Walking Dead, a "The Walking Dead" spinoff, plods along at a zombie-like gait, even as it adds layers to its not-particularly-scintillating cast of characters.
Indeed, at times "Fear the Walking Dead" -- which comes out of its midseason break with key characters scattered, having sought elusive safety in Mexico -- feels as if it's challenging the audience to remain interested.
Despite the constant threat of key characters becoming zombie food and the occasional gross-out sequence (including an unorthodox use of bodily fluids), these next few episodes actually manage to be boring.
    That's primarily because the show has done so little to get viewers invested, even halfway through the second season, in who lives or dies, largely squande