Creating a spinoff to The Walking Dead is, inherently, a bad idea. And not only because a second show about average civilians surviving in a zombie apocalypse felt a bit redundant. Walking Dead’s refusal to follow traditional rules of television is what resonated with audiences, creating a dangerous world where truly anything might happen. “Anything” as in horrifying, life-altering events, even to major characters.
Spinoffs are from the standard rulebook of television execs. If a show is popular, just give the audience another one exactly like it. People are responding to Andy Griffith’s wacky pal Gomer? Then it’s time for more family-friendly fun with Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.! It’s crassly commercial, but understandable from a network’s point of view. Applying that thinking to a series that, at one time, was genuinely innovative just felt cheap.
Someone Was Paid Good Money for that Title
Naming the spinoff Fear The Walking Dead didn’t help matters. It’s a title so bland, so unimaginative, it earned nearly a week’s worth of social media ridicule. And what's the purpose of the series? Early promotion played up the idea of the series as a prequel, beginning on the day the dead first arose. Set on the other side of the country, however, with characters we've never met before.
Even with a weak title and no obvious creative justification for its existence, many fans were hopeful. The opening episodes of Fear, however, didn’t deliver. For one, the show proved to be uninterested in telling "the true story" behind the dead's rising. And while the main series begins with a strong hook — a desperate father facing the end of the world, separated from his family — the familial dynamics of Fear were far less compelling.