For those of us with a morbid love for zombie stories, The Walking Dead spinoff Fear The Walking Dead came to us as a big old second scoop of horror fun on top of our already obsessive undead fandom. But, those of us who continue to love both shows have only one question on our minds: Will Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead ever crossover? Well, the good news is that we finally have an answer from Fear The Walking Dead 's executive producer, Dave Erickson, but it might not be quite the answer you were looking for. Speaking exclusively to TV Line, Erickson explained that because the two shows are set in completely opposing coasts of America that "some tectonic plates would have to shift to make [a crossover] happen," but also that there's too much of a disparity between show timelines to make it work:
From a geographical standpoint, it’s going to be very difficult for us to ever get to the East Coast ... And from a narrative standpoint, with [TWD] being six seasons in and going on seven, I don’t think we’ll ever quite catch up with them, so chronologically, it would be difficult as well.
Color me disappointed — but in a way, I think all FTWD fans anticipated that this could well be the case, and it's hard to argue with Erickson's basic reasoning. Aside from the obvious challenges holding back a potential crossover between the shows, it's also important to note that FTWD and TWD are also tonally quite different from each other, something which Erickson hopes fans will acknowledge over time, adding, "There’s room for two shows that have their own tone but are different in terms of characters and locations."
Though I'm a fan of TWD, I'm also willing to accept that the show has had it's share of issues over the past six seasons, as any show. FTWD, on the other hand, feels like a show which has perhaps learnt from many of those mistakes and sought to improve upon them. How has FTWD improved on the main series? Let's take a look:
1. It Has Stronger Examples Of Diversity
There's no denying that TWD has definitely improved on including more diversity since it's early seasons, but FTWD hit the ground running with a cast of characters which were wonderfully diverse and who never felt tokenized.
2. Zombies Are Being Explored In More Depth
For a show about zombies, there were more than a few slow episodes in early seasons of TWD which had me yelling but when are we gonna get to see some more Walkers? Crucially, they've occasionally felt like an afterthought when there's so much more room for exploration. FTWD appears to be approaching the undead with a much more fascinating curiosity, and as a result, the second season has been asking some amazing questions about the Walkers concerning their humanity, or lack of it, and whether they deserve to be destroyed or whether humanity needs to figure out a way to live amongst them.
3. Story Locations Are So Far Much More Interesting
FTWD has given us suburbia, sprawling inner-city chaos, isolated islands and spooky beaches overrun with the dead from a plane crash. TWD on the other hand has repeatedly found itself lost in the woods or stuck in slightly interchangeable enclosed communities (the farm, the prison, Alexandria).
4. There's Less Dependency On Wild Plot Twists And Cliffhangers
It's early days, but so far there haven't been any fake-out deaths, or cliffhangers.
5. Characters Are Being Better Developed
One big complaint of both shows has been that characters have felt a little lacking in personality or interest. Thankfully, they've also both taken care to try and develop more characters and provide more complex personalities and though it's taken TWD between four and six seasons to get to this point, FTWD feels like it's finally fully fleshing out (on pun intended) characters in it's second season.
6. Gay Characters Don't Feel Tokenized
Strand's sexuality in the second season of FTWD was refreshing for how naturally it was delivered within the narrative.
7. It's More Willing To Be Playful And Humorous
Nick and Strand both deliver deadpan, dry humor beautifully, and though the rest of the characters could definitely do with lightening up once in a while, it's still refreshing to enjoy the playfulness of the show's wry camaraderie.
8. Female Characters Are More Complex
Though we finally have the spectacularly well-developed Carol in TWD, FTWD is giving us female characters who are more than happy to defy convention, step up, stand up for themselves, and prove themselves just as interesting as their male counterparts.
9. It Doesn't Over-Rely On 'Red Shirts' For Death Scenes
Is there anything more annoying than minor characters who you know are not going to survive the season? Thankfully, FTWD has so far managed to avoid this, delivering a consistent sense of threat throughout.
10. There's An Abundance Of Interesting Anti-Heroes
Watching the main characters of FTWD all slowly losing their damn minds and having to adapt to a volatile environment beyond their comprehension has made for great television. It's also pushed a great number of the characters into antihero territory where dubious decision making and shady undertakings are clouding even the most well-intentioned of characters.
11. On Point Zombies
Look, I'm mostly in the zombie show fandom to squeal in delight at gross, inventive and wonderful undead creations and FTWD has so far managed to score highly on the Zombie Scorecard Sheet which I keep hidden underneath my couch. The special effect magicians on that show have been creative of late, and I love it.
Though it's shame that we'll likely never have a chance to Strand telling Rick a few cold, hard truths or Carol attempting to keep Nick in line in a future crossover between the two shows, it's great to know that TWD and FTWD are both flowing in their own direction, learning from each other and improving with every season. And really, who needs a crossover when the individual shows are this good right now?
Images: AMC (12)