That’s grading on a curve, however, for a series whose initial conceit and execution — chronicling the outbreak on the opposite coast — has been most notable for its general lifelessness.
Simply put, “Fear the Walking Dead” exists because a mere 16 weeks of “The Walking Dead” per year meant leaving money on the table, at least at the show’s apex. The spin-off strategy, though, seemed to take audience allegiance for granted, assuming those three little words would be enough to have viewers marching in mindless lockstep after them.
In theory, more directly linking the two series — beyond just the title — makes sense, but it also risks further diluting the original. While the cross-pollination could yield dividends, it’s clearly a gamble, and with “Walking Dead” having cooled ratings-wise, AMC might not get another bite at the apple.
Granted, it’s a big post-apocalyptic world out there, with a lot of different potential stories to tell. Yet if “Fear the Walking Dead’s” past shortcomings demonstrate anything, it’s that when you dip into the well a second time, even one of TV’s most popular series might only have so much life in it.
“Fear the Walking Dead” begins its fourth season April 15 at 10:10 p.m. on AMC.