Before the end of 2015, we’ll have two Walking Dead shows on the air, and both were teased at Comic Con. Despite the creative improvements made by AMC’s ratings juggernaut, the pre-apocalyptic spinoff has Laser Time’s resident Walking Dead expert considerably more excited.
San Diego Comic-Con had its annual procession of Walking Dead-based announcements, with a new AMC spinoff being revealed alongside the trailer for the stalwart original show’s sixth season. You can watch both below with the October-due Walking Dead Season 6 above and the first look at Fear the Walking Dead (coming in August) below.
While I can’t deny that I’m excited to see further discord in Alexandria and more of Morgan in the next season of The Walking Dead, after watching both videos, I’ve developed more of a taste for the West Coast undead showcased in Fear the Walking Dead. Here’s five reasons why the student may defeat the master.
5- THE WALKING DEAD’S BEST VILLAINS MAY NOT EVEN BE IN SEASON 6
The sixth season’s trailer is weirdly edited, but the main crux of the video seems to indicate that there will be a power struggle in Alexandria between Rick and the long-lost Morgan (the first person Rick ever met after awaking from his coma). Season 5 ended (SPOILERS) ambiguously as Morgan arrived to see Rick execute an abusive member of the community (END SPOILERS), but since Rick and Morgan are never shown at odds in the same frame at the same time, there’s no reason to believe that the two will have a conflict. As intriguing as Morgan is from a character perspective, there are two big bads that have been a part of the comic post-Alexandria that really need to show up sooner rather than later. It’s been awhile since the show has had a villain on par with The Governor, so it’d be nice to see a big threat emerge again rather than having internal politics be the show’s focal point.
4- WALKING DEAD SPINOFFS HAVE A GREAT TRACK RECORD
When Telltale started The Walking Dead videogame series, there was reason to be wary. Jurassic Park proved that the developer’s track record for adapting popular franchise wasn’t spotless, and the bevy of cameos made it seem that it would have to adhere (and be limited by) the comic book’s canon. Fortunately, the few visitors from the comic went on their merry way and we’ve been treated to two season’s worth of the toughest moral decision in gaming history. Since Fear the Walking Dead is set in Los Angeles, weeks before the beginning of Rick’s journey, I have high hopes that Fear the Walking Dead will be as fearless about raising stakes and delivering tragic moments as the Game of the Year-award-winning series.
3- FEAR THE WALKING DEAD HAS AN INTRIGUING POWER COUPLE
Rick has been a great character on the small screen, but he hasn’t had the great counter-balancing partner that the comic has consistently provided via romantic interests. The television portrayal of Lori was uneven and what should have been a dramatic departure (like in the comics) played out with far less pathos on-screen. Since then, Rick has been quite a depressing character (when he isn’t flying off the handle). The show has finally given its lead a new romantic option, but I don’t think they’ll be on the same level like Rick’s significant other in the comic. Fear the Walking Dead has a new dynamic that I’m interested in seeing more of. The leads are Madison Clark and Travis Manawa, a pair of divorced parents who are now engaged to each other and work as a high school guidance counselor and English teacher, respectively. Balancing their commitment to each other against their respective children and exes, and dealing with a romance in the workplace already makes for an interesting dynamic, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all plays out during the zombie apocalypse. Kim Dickens has been such a strong presence on TV shows like Lost and Deadwood as well as in movies like Gone Girl that I can’t see her character taking a back seat to anyone.
2- THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE HITS THE BIG CITY
The Walking Dead, in all of its forms, has become synonymous with Georgia, though that does come with a lack of “big-city in ruins” apocalyptic action. The core show’s rare visits to Atlanta have always been big events, but the majority of screen time over The Walking Dead’s last few seasons has been in drab locales like the prison and the suburban Alexandria. Who knows where Fear the Walking Dead will go as the zombie menace grows (there’s certainly rural areas of California not too far from Los Angeles), but seeing the outbreak unfold in a bigger city with more diversity and a wider socio-economic spectrum should open up some new storytelling avenues for Robert Kirkman and company.
1- IT WON’T OVERSTAY IT’S WELCOME
The Walking Dead TV show has been at its worst when it’s spinning its wheels. From the multi-episode barn arc to the slow march to Terminus, when the episode count has dictated the exact end date for a major storyline, it’s sometimes led to a bit of predictability on a show that thrives on surprising its audience. When you add in that the show has remained attached to the comic’s storylines, there’s also a sense of anxiousness as you await the next big thing to finally come to the show. All of that is out the window when it comes to Fear the Walking Dead. The first season will be six episodes, which is the perfect length to set up some great stories that will pay off without the agonizing wait. Heck, it worked pretty well for the original series, which managed to deliver what I still think is one of the show’s best season finales. Without worrying about the inevitable death of character A or appearance of character B, I can just sit back and enjoy the ride when it starts in a little over a month on August 23.
What do you think about 2015’s upcoming Walking Dead programs? Are you looking forward to one more than the other? Speak up about it in the comments!