The Walking Dead is not exactly in a good spot right now.
Sure, the trailer for the upcoming eighth season looks fun, but after a stunt cliffhanger at the end of season six, and a very pointless season seven, a lot of the audience have just stopped caring about the misadventures of Rick Grimes and his followers.
Now would, theoretically, be a good time for Fear the Walking Dead to rise to prominence, with a different crew of characters that would ideally breathe some life into the franchise. Right from the start, though, it was clear that audiences didn’t really want to have to embrace new characters.
Fear the Walking Dead has gained traction in recent years, but it’s still nowhere near as popular as the main show, even with the ratings for The Walking Dead declining over the course of season seven.
In an effort to jazz things up a bit, AMC has promised a crossover between the two shows, presumably with a popular character from The Walking Dead showing up in Fear the Walking Dead for an episode or two.
Based on all visible evidence, fans now suspect that the character will be (spoiler alert) Abraham, who (double spoiler alert) was killed off at the start of The Walking Dead season seven (or the end of season six, depending on how you count the timeline).
This makes sense as a move for bolstering support of the show – as Fear the Walking Dead’s events occur earlier than those in The Walking Dead, it’s possible to bring back a classic character that’s since bitten the dust in order to give the crossover a feeling of nostalgia for longtime fans.
Reminding people about back when The Walking Dead was worth watching may help to recover lost ground with viewers, and it’s not insignificant that the suspected returning character met his sticky end at the moment when the show’s current ratings troubles began.
The question, though, is whether this effort will actually pay off. Will audiences flock back to The Walking Dead and its little sister in spite of losing interest in the main show? Is a gimmick like the return of Abraham enough to engender long term support of both zombie programs?
Possibly not. After all, crossovers are good for getting people talking about a show briefly, but it’s hard to imagine that seeing a long forgotten character from The Walking Dead appear in Fear the Walking Dead will convince anyone to try to catch up on the plot points they’ve missed from either show.
The more convoluted the timelines of these two shows get, the less likely people will be to actually put in the effort to keep up with what’s going on.
If the zombie train is finally running out of steam, a quick nostalgia trip won’t fix things. One of these shows needs to significantly reinvent itself to stay relevant.
Maybe we’re at a point where people just don’t care about hordes of undead zombies anymore.
If throwing a tiger into the mix genuinely hasn’t made things more exciting, it’s hard to imagine that The Walking Dead franchise is going to be saved from a crossover of all things.