Say what you want about Fear The Walking Dead, but creative content chief, Scott Gimple, swears its good and just setting things up for viewers. In fact, Gimple calls last season of Fear The Walking Dead it’s version of the farm season of The Walking Dead.
Ummmm….. no. We’re sorry, but Fear just isn’t good and say what you will about Season 2 of The Walking Dead, but Fear didn’t have Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) or that Sophia moment of the little girl coming out of the barn.
Fear The Walking Dead just isn’t any good.
Gimple spoke with EW to defend the spinoff.
EW: There was some pretty critical takes out there about season 5 of Fear the Walking Dead. When you look back on that season now, what’s your take on it? Is there anything you feel didn’t work as well as you had hoped, or was this just part of this plan and this is a stretch of this plan that you need to go through to get to somewhere else?
Gimple: Right there. You just said it. We’ve been lucky enough on that show to be able to do these long-range plans. Season 5 was about setting up this journey that these characters are on through there to season 6, and I think people are going to see the relationship between those two seasons. I think even getting to the very end of season 5, the last few moments, really informing that whole season about reaching for benevolence and reaching for sweetness and art and just life and how in the circumstances they’re in, it didn’t work, and how we leave a person that put that forward isolated, alone, bleeding in a dead town.
I’m curious how people will watch that season in the future. Season 2 [of The Walking Dead], when we did it, we were assailed in a lot of ways. “Why are they on the farm? Why are doing this? Why are they doing that?” I think in subsequent years, people watching that season had different takes. This season 5 as a piece setting up season 6 into a truly serialized entertainment, I think people might see the relationship and the journey, why the journey went the way it did. I was so happy with the way that everybody did. I think it really did come together in the end in this really tragic way that we couldn’t have gotten to without the journey that we had been on.
EW: It’s funny you mention season 2 of TWD, because I remember the complaints during that, but as soon as the barn doors opened, everyone was like, “Oh, okay. Yeah, right. Well, that was worth it.”
Gimple: It was cumulative. I think everybody’s opinion is … as long as their opinion is come to honestly, nobody’s opinion is wrong. It’s how they feel about what they consume. But the one aspect that could potentially temper it is just taking the whole of it together. It is asking a lot of the audience to do that though. It’s an interesting thing that we face, and if you look at The Mandalorian, you look at a lot of shows on Hulu, and I think what Disney+ is now going to be doing, they are showing shows week to week. It is interesting, it’s a challenge that I think people will continue to have because the story might not go the way the audience wants it in the short term, but it’s all towards telling this grander story for them in the long term. I hope that anybody who had an issue with it can see this upcoming season and see how that led to this, because it was always the plan, to tell a story of some serious contrasts.
EW: How much do you pay attention or modify or pivot because of critical feedback?
Gimple: It’s a tricky thing because, again, as long as somebody is coming at their opinion having watched the show, and as long as they have an open mind to start with, anybody’s opinion is valid. One of the reasons I don’t read them is because it’s endless. It’s not, “Okay, I’m going to read this person, this person, but I’m not going to read the other 15 articles, and these people have the mic.” It’s not quite fair, nor do I think it’s storytelling with integrity to just seek out what peoples criticisms are and address those criticisms without looking at the whole of the audience. And does online criticism represent the entirety of the audience? It is the same sort of demographics that are issuing those criticisms that are watching TV, just as far as their interests or their history with the show or any of those things.
And it works both ways. People are saying awesome things about the show. I also don’t think it’s like reading that and be like, “Ah yes, nailed it.” I don’t think that’s fair either. It’s a tricky thing because I don’t want the feeling that we’re ignoring it, but also I don’t think it’s wise if you print them all out and try to address everything. It’s just not telling a story with integrity. I mean would we have told [episodes 905 and 906 of The Walking Dead] the way that we did if we were just full of worries, if we were just trying to make sure that we weren’t taking a risk and ensuring that everybody in every sort of quarter would be happy with it, with the outcome, with Rick going? Which was happening either way, by the way.
EW: So how do you decide in terms of when to creatively pivot or change course?
Gimple: I truly believe that it is our job as storytellers to take risks, to do the unexpected and not just to shock people. I want to take stories in different directions than that have gone before. In taking those risks, the only thing you’re risking is the audience’s interests or their opinion of you. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t want to do that, who just want to go down the center path and ensure that there’s nothing for the audience to be upset with them about. If you’re truly serving the audience, if you truly care about the audience, if you’re trying to give them something different, you have to take risks.
I know it can be hard, and I know that people can be upset and you don’t want to upset people, you don’t want to make people sad in perpetuity, but you also don’t want to just give them a story where you didn’t try your best to do something special, unusual, something that they might remember the rest of their lives. If we’re not taking risks, we’re not serving the audience, we’re just serving ourselves. We’re just serving, making sure that no one’s upset with us. To really serve the audience, you got to put your neck out there. I’m very proud of these showrunners who have been taking incredible risks, and I’ve been standing right beside them every step of the way with it and sometimes pushing those risks forward very, very much myself.
EW: It’s actually the thing I like most about the franchise. Even when you guys were pulling in the most insane numbers in the history of television on TWD, you were still doing crazy stuff you would never expect such a popular show to be doing. You mentioned that obviously this is all leading to season 6. What can you say at this point about what you all have planned creatively for season 6 on Fear?
Gimple: I don’t know how much has been shared yet, but I’ll share a little of it unilaterally. Structurally, the show is going to change quite a bit. There’s going to be a great deal more focus within the stories, a little less vignette-y in telling 16 little movies. The guys are out of the gate wonderfully with the first two episodes, and it is a differentiating thing. It’s something that separates that show from the other two shows, telling these 16 little movies, being a bit more anthological. It still is a serialized story, but it’s told through these very focused perspectives.
I think that’s going to be something that the audience really digs. There’s these episodes like Al and Isabelle or June and Dorie that were super focused episodes, that were some of our favorite stories to tell, and we’re leaning into that a little more. That’s something that’s very exciting. Just what these characters are dealing with is very unusual to anything we’ve seen on the shows. Last season, there was a singularity of purpose, which is all these characters landed in this place of needing redemption. These characters are going to be in very different places now, and that’s going to add to the variety of storytelling, the conflict between the characters and the drama that springs forth from that.
You can read the rest of the interview on EW.
Can Fear The Walking Dead be saved? Or is it time to move onto some of the other new ideas and concepts for the world of The Walking Dead?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
This is post P-90x. I’m saying I watched the videos. I’m not saying I participated. Born in my mom’s basement, I’ve stayed there to embody the stereotype. One day I will rise up… to the main floor of the house.