Is ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Really Going To Outlive ‘The Walking Dead’?
Fear the Walking Dead continues its pandemic-delayed season tonight with another episode, this one presumably focusing on the coming conflict with the mysterious group that keeps spray painting dire messages around the world and may or may not have access to a nuclear submarine.
But now the show is in a weird situation where as far as we know, it may actually outlive The Walking Dead proper, which has a hard end date set after an extended 11th season.
No, Fear the Walking Dead has not passed TWD in total time, yet. It’s on season 6 and we know season 7 is coming. But it very well may still be airing when both The Walking Dead is over and limited series spin-offs like World Beyond are ending.
What seems increasingly clear is that the long-rumored idea of a crossover is probably not going to happen at this point. Season 11 of The Walking Dead appears to be dealing with the dual problems of the non-comic storyline of Maggie and her Reaper enemies, and the comic finale storyline of the Commonwealth, despite many of the major players being gone from the show (Rick, Carl, Michonne, Dwight).
There does not seem to be a plan to bring Morgan or Dwight back to TWD, nor does there appear to be a plan to merge long-running Fear characters like Alicia or Strand with the main cast, which is something fans used to dream about. I suppose with the ending of The Walking Dead itself, with only a Daryl and Carol spin-off continuing after, and some alleged Rick Grimes movies, that could free up some current TWD cast members to move to Fear, but again, to what end?
Fear continues to be years behind the actual timeline of The Walking Dead, and while time moves…oddly across all these series, I don’t think we’ve had anywhere near enough jumps to keep up overall. The Fear cast has started to bloat quite a bit, which is why we’re seeing characters like John and Virginia killed off in quick succession.
The show has had wild swings in quality, going from extremely great episodes with the Clarke family in early seasons, to a terrible few years as they were killed off, to some improvements and now we’re hovering somewhere in the middle. Ratings continue to drop, with season 6 setting new lows every few weeks, but that’s not all that unexpected for a show ending its sixth season. Overall, we have seen Fear the Walking Dead lose a smaller percentage of viewers than The Walking Dead over time, and TWD now has less than double the viewership of Fear, when that figure used to be more like 3-4x. In short, Fear has a pretty loyal core audience.
AMC maintains they are committed to The Walking Dead universe as a whole. The projects we know about going forward will be the Daryl and Carol spin-off, the Rick Grimes movies and Fear the Walking Dead, as no announcement has been made about it ending. Whether it becomes the “lead” Walking Dead show is unclear, or if the Carol and Daryl show is supposed to be that instead, given the high profile of its leads.
Strange times for TWD after a decade now. I’m going to keep watching Fear, but things are getting pretty weird all around, and I’m not clear on what the endgame is here, if there is one.
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