There have been a few suggestions after the most recent episodes of Fear the Walking Dead, “Ouroboros,” that the series is as good or better now than The Walking Dead. This isn’t true. We’re only eight episodes into Fear the Walking Dead and two good episodes do not put it in the same category as six seasons of The Walking Dead.
It is, however, much improved.
It may also be difficult to remember, but The Walking Dead wasn’t that great in its first two seasons under Frank Darabont. It was slow. The characters were not that interesting. There were a lot of walks through the woods, and many episodes that stalled. However, The Walking Dead had the novelty, at the time, of being the first and only major television series to feature zombies.
Fear the Walking Dead, however, premiered six years later, and there are a lot more zombie shows with which to compete. Zombies are no longer a novelty on the small screen, so a new zombie series needs to be able to provide something fresh or interesting, or at least strong characters to keep us invested. Until recently, Fear the Walking Dead hasn’t been able to do that — it’s been coasting on the good will of The Walking Dead.
However, things have changed in its second season and, in particular, the last two episodes. It’s a much improved show. Here are six reasons why.
It’s Ditched The Origins
The big initial draw to Fear the Walking Dead eventually became what was holding it back: The origins of the zombie virus in Los Angeles. Seeing how characters in L.A. slowly came to realize that a walker virus had quickly spread should have been compelling, but the writers never managed to figure out how to make it so. It turns out, traffic jams and looters aren’t very exciting, nor is watching a family play board games while they wait out a threat that will never disappear. The first season of Fear the Walking Dead often felt like a slow-moving, six hour conventional zombie flick, and after enduring it, it was easy to see why The Walking Dead picked up weeks into the apocalypse.
The origins might have been more effective it if had explored what caused the outbreak or if it had done any investigating into patient zero, but the series seemed too preoccupied with the central family and the sulking teenagers to pull back and take a broader look at what was happening in Los Angeles and worldwide. Given the track the show was on, it was wise to simply blow up Los Angeles and move into a show that more closely resembled The Walking Dead.