Fear the Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror drama television series created by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson, that premiered on AMC on August 23, 2015. It is a companion series and prequel to The Walking Dead, which is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.
Title card for the first three seasons
In April 2017, AMC renewed the series for a fourth season, which premiered on April 15, 2018. Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg replaced the departing Dave Erickson as showrunners. In July 2018, the series was renewed for a fifth season.
Set initially in Los Angeles, California and then later in Mexico, the series follows a dysfunctional, blended family composed of high school guidance counselor Madison Clark, her English teacher fianc Travis Manawa, her daughter Alicia, her drug addict son Nick, Travis’s son from a previous marriage, Chris, Chris’s mother Liza Ortiz, and others who join their group at the onset of the apocalypse. They must reinvent themselves, learning new skills and adopting new attitudes in order to survive as civilization collapses around them.
The first season consists of six episodes. The second season, comprising 15 episodes, premiered on April 10, 2016. On April 15, 2016, AMC announced the series had been renewed for a 16-episode third season, which premiered on June 4, 2017. In April 2017, AMC renewed the series for a 16-episode fourth season and announced that Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg would replace the departing Dave Erickson as showrunners. The fourth season premiered on April 15, 2018. On July 28, 2018, the series was renewed for a fifth season.
In September 2013, AMC announced they were developing a companion series to The Walking Dead, which follows a different set of characters created by Robert Kirkman. In September 2014, AMC ordered a pilot, which was written by Kirkman and Dave Erickson, and directed by Adam Davidson, and is executive produced by Kirkman, Erickson, Gale Anne Hurd, and David Alpert, with Erickson serving as showrunner. The project was originally known as Cobalt; Kirkman confirmed, in March 2015, that the series would be titled Fear the Walking Dead. On March 9, 2015, AMC announced it had ordered Fear the Walking Dead to series, with a two-season commitment. The series premiered on August 23, 2015.
In December 2014, the first four starring roles were cast: Kim Dickens as Madison, the female lead; Cliff Curtis as Travis Manawa, the male lead; Frank Dillane as Nick; and Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia. In April and May 2015, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Mercedes Mason were announced as series regulars, both in unknown roles.
In November 2017, it was confirmed that Lennie James who portrays Morgan Jones on The Walking Dead would crossover and join the main cast in the fourth season. The fourth season also sees the additions of several new series regulars, played by Garret Dillahunt, Jenna Elfman, and Maggie Grace.
Production of the pilot episode began in early 2015 and ended on February 6, 2015. The pilot episode was filmed in Los Angeles; the remaining first-season episodes were filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Production on the remaining five first-season episodes began on May 11, 2015. Adam Davidson, who directed the pilot, also directed the series’ second and third episodes.
Filming for the second season began in December 2015, with production moving to Baja California, Mexico. Locations included Rosarito (sea scenes and hotel) and Valle de Guadalupe (Abigail’s vineyard). The sea scenes were filmed using a horizon tank at Baja Film Studios. An additional scene from the season one finale was filmed in The Sunken City, San Pedro, Los Angeles.
Filming for the third season began on January 6, 2017, in Baja California, Mexico, with some of the same location sites used for the second half of season two. Additional locations in Tijuana Municipality included Avenida Revolucin, Abelardo L. Rodrguez Dam and the hills that hosted the Otto’s ranch.
On August 23, 2015, the series debuted simultaneously worldwide on: AMC in the U.S.; AMC Global in major regional markets in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East; and FX in Australia. Hulu holds the show’s video on demand rights in the U.S., while Amazon Instant Video owns the streaming rights in Austria and Germany, and will make episodes available online one day after their original airing. Streaming in the United Kingdom became available to Amazon Prime members in 2016.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a rating of 78%, based on 59 reviews, whose average rating is 6.8/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Fear the Walking Dead recycles elements of its predecessor, but it’s still moody and engrossing enough to compete with the original.” On Metacritic, the season has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.
Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post rated the first two episodes three out of four stars, stating that “[They] are creepily suspensefulthey’re great examples of how effective a slow pace and a moody atmosphere can be.” Another positive review of the first episode came from Ken Tucker of Yahoo TV, who wrote, “Fear the Walking Dead is a mood piece, more artful than the original series” and that the cast is “terrific”. Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter gave an average review, writing, “The 90-minute first episode and the hour-long second episode are, while not actually boring, certainly less magnetic than the original.”
One of the harshest negative reviews came from HitFix, on Daniel Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall’s podcast, where Fienberg called the premiere episode “awful, just horrible … as bad as The Walking Dead has ever gotten at its very worst. This is that bad. I’ve been kind of stunned to see people being generous to it. … I thought this was almost unwatchably bad.” Sepinwall called his B review “slightly generous”.
The second season received mostly mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 71%, based on 29 reviews, whose average rating is 6.6/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Fear the Walking Dead sets sail in its sophomore season with an intriguing backdrop that doesn’t always disguise its deficiencies in comparison to its predecessor.” On Metacritic, the season has a score of 54 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has an approval rating of 80% based on 8 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. In his season review for IGN, Matt Fowler gave it an 8.2 out of 10 and wrote, “Fear the Walking Dead more solidly found its tone and voice this season by embracing the arid landscape, ramping up the human-on-human conflict, and rallying around Kim Dickens’ anti-hero mom, Madison, as the driving character” and that it is now “a better series overall than The Walking Dead”.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the fourth season has an approval rating of 83% based on 6 reviews, with an average rating of 7.03/10. TVLine reevaluated the series for its fourth season, giving it a grade of a “B+”. Reviewer Charlie Mason wrote, “it’s gone from being an adequate stopgap between seasons of The Walking Dead to a show that’s as good or arguably even better than the one from which it was spun off.” He also praised the addition of Jenna Elfman and Garret Dillahunt and that season 4 has had several genuine surprises in its storytelling.
The U.S. series premiere attracted 10.1 million total viewers, with 6.3 million in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic, both cable television records for a series premiere. Numerous international debuts of the pilot also set ratings records. The first season averaged 11.2 million viewers in “live plus-3” ratings (includes VOD and DVR viewing within three days after initial telecast) to become the highest-rated first season of any series in cable history.
Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462, a 16-part web series, premiered on October 4, 2015, on AMC.com; it also aired as promos during The Walking Dead season 6. Two of the web series’ characters, Alex (previously known as Charlie) and Jake, are introduced in Fear the Walking Dead season 2, episode 3 (“Ouroboros”).
A second 16-part web series debuted on October 17, 2016, and episodes were made available online weekly and aired as promos during the seventh season of The Walking Dead. The web series follows Sierra, a capable survivor, who helps an injured woman named Gabi as they try to find sanctuary. The series was written by Lauren Signorino and Mike Zunic, and directed by Andrew Bernstein.
The first season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 1, 2015. A special edition version of the first season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 22, 2016, with new bonus features, including deleted scenes, seven featurettes, and audio commentaries by cast and crew, on all six episodes. The second season, featuring audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and various behind-the-scene featurettes, was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 13, 2016. The third season, featuring audio commentaries and deleted scenes, was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13, 2018.
Fear the Walking Dead – Wikipedia
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