AMC companion series Fear The Walking Dead has struggled to turn the same heads as its mothership, even as Season 2 now unfurls with the same midseason cliffhanger that The Walking Dead has trafficked in for years. To wit, showrunner Dave Erickson acknowledges fan disappointment with the spinoff, as well where it stands with the main series’ significantly-advanced timeline.

Speaking with TVLine, Erickson addressed the difficulty of engineering a zombie apocalypse story set within the same in-universe rulebook that fans have followed for years, but without its characters aware of the same (or any) fictional zombie tropes.

By the end of the first [zombie movie] reel, everybody knows the score and is able to kill [the undead] without any thought. They become very practiced at it very quickly. And that was something we wanted to avoid. We wanted to [instead] try to balance expectations of how people should behave once they know there are zombies with this sort of attempted slow burn into the apocalypse from a character standpoint. […]

That creates frustrations, to a certain degree, because in some instances, you want [the characters] to get it already. And in some circumstances, the things that they do that don’t seem particularly zombie-savvy are, for me, moments where they aren’t zombie-savvy.

So while the series looks to chart its own course, Erickson at least offered some comparison with the main series’ timeline, given that Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) woke up to a zombie apocalypse very much over said hump:

If you marked off the days [that have passed on air since Fear TWD debuted], I think right now, by the end of the first half [of Season 2], we’re getting very close to Rick waking up in Georgia. [Fear The Walking Dead survivors have] arrived at a place where they’re up to speed on how one deals with the apocalypse and the dead.

Granted, crossover between the two series remains unlikely, is Fear The Walking Dead better served to speed toward its spiritual predecessor? What new territory might the companion series chart, without confronting its progenitor?

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