Fear the Walking Dead executive producer Dave Erickson has heard your complaints that his series isn’t The Walking Dead. He gets it. And “that has been one of the challenges of the show,” he tells TVLine. The Walking Dead has “a huge fan base to whom we are incredibly grateful, and we obviously want to deliver a story that everybody loves. But at the same time, we wanted to make sure that our characters didn’t embrace the tropes [of the genre] as readily as,” say, the characters in a zombie movie.
On the big screen, the learning curve is so steep that, ordinarily, “by the end of the first reel, everybody knows the score and is able to kill [the undead] without any thought,” the showrunner notes. “They become very practiced at it very quickly. And that was something we wanted to avoid. We wanted to [instead] try to balance expectations of how people should behave once they know there are zombies with this sort of attempted slow burn into the apocalypse from a character standpoint.”
Which makes sense from a long-term storytelling perspective. However, even Erickson acknowledges that “that creates frustrations, to a certain degree, because in some instances, you want [the characters] to get it already. And in some circumstances, the things that they do that don’t seem particularly zombie-savvy are, for me, moments where they aren’t zombie-savvy.
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“If you marked off the days [that have passed on air since Fear TWD debuted], I think right now, by the end of the first half [of Season 2], we’re getting very close to Rick waking up in Georgia” on The Walking Dead, he continues. Only now have Fear TWD‘s survivors “arrived at a place where they’re up to speed on how one deals with the apocalypse and the dead.” In other words, they’re no longer beginners.
Still, viewers shouldn’t expect Fear TWD‘s characters to start going to the extremes that The Walking Dead‘s routinely do. Yes, Madison condemned Celia to die in the midseason finale. But that doesn’t mean that she’s become as ruthless as Rick. “That wasn’t a matter of ‘We have to have one of our core characters do something that seems incredibly immoral or violent in order to catch up with where they should be,'” Erickson explains. “That was more a mother who was trying to protect her son [Nick] from, essentially, a drug dealer.”
What do you think? Do you see the logic in Erickson’s approach? Looking forward to the second half Fear TWD‘s sophomore season? Hit the comments.