I am in the bag for The Walking Dead franchise. I’m so enamored with the last two seasons of the mothership that I am willing to overlook the myriad problems with the spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead in its first season. I like the universe, and I don’t anticipate leaving either show anytime soon.
With that said, Fear the Walking Dead is not a good show. It’s a show that had amazing potential, and a show that’s had the occasional glimmer of goodness, but it’s not a good show. It’s badly written, it’s poorly plotted, and it completely squandered the idea of watching a city slowly devolve amidst the chaos of a zombie outbreak by jumping from the initial outbreak to a week later, after the city of Los Angeles was already a garbage heap of corpses and shuffling zombies.
Like others, however, I have been reluctant to dismiss the series after two or three episodes, or even after a six-episode season. The Walking Dead, after all, wasn’t a the series it has become after one season. It was slow, glacially paced, and often tedious in the early going.
The Walking Dead, however, didn’t get better on its own. It changed, and that change came from the top down. Unhappy with the first season and a half, Robert Kirkman fired the showrunner Frank Darabont and replaced him with one of the show’s writers, Glen Mazzarra. The show almost instantly improved. After the third season, Kirkman fired Mazzara and hired Scott Gimple. The show improved even more.
Maybe you can see where this is heading?
Robert Kirkman needs to replace Fear showrunner Dave Erickson and I know exactly who he should get.
Dave Erickson was an odd choice to begin with. He wasn’t from The Walking Dead family, he was from the AMC family, He was a producer and writer on Low Winter Sun, one of the few AMC shows that’s ever been cancelled after one season, and before that, he was a producer and writer on Sons of Anarchy.
Why was a guy with no The Walking Dead experience, and no experience with family dramas, running a family drama set against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse?
It made no sense, and with all due respect to Sons of Anarchy (which I liked intermittently), it’s hard to imagine two shows more distinct in terms of tone and content. Zombies are an entry point into The Walking Dead universe; it’s the heart of the characters that keeps us invested. Erickson has displayed little of that. He’s been a bad fit.
Fear the Walking Dead needs someone with a better understanding of the universe. It needs someone make us fall in love with these characters (or even like them!). It needs someone with a sense of humor.
He needs to replace Dave Erickson with Angela Kang.
Who is Angela Kang?
She’s someone who has been with The Walking Dead since the second season. She began as a story editor, and in season three, she became a producer on the show. She’s also written some of the best episodes of the series, including the fourth season finale (which saw Rick and Co. herded into a railroad car), last season’s third episode, “Four Walls and a Roof” (which saw Rick and Co. quickly kill off the Gareth and the Hunters), last season’s mid-season finale (the one where Beth died), and the penultimate episode of last season, which saw Rick waving a gun around and raving at the Alexandrians.
She’s written not only some of the best character episodes of The Walking Dead, but some of the most action-intensive episodes. And if her experience on The Walking Dead isn’t enough to sell you, she also comes from one of Shawn Ryan’s writers’ rooms. She came up on FX’s Terriers.
She would be perfect to take over the family drama, especially as it heads toward a season two which is expected to take place on a yacht, where close-confinement of the characters will demand more intimacy between the characters, and where the series will presumably have to rely even less on zombies.
She’s also funny, and Fear the Walking Dead is in sore need of some humor.
3 am, heard baby toy downstairs, repeating "Let's call mommy." Didn't investigate because that shit's always caused by a demon. Or my cat.— Angela Kang (@angelakang) November 16, 2013
"My son just learned the word 'croissant' and I'm like 'what a fucking fancy little baby.'" — one of my favorite moms, @angelakang— Erik Patterson (@erikpatterson) May 25, 2014
And not that it should be included among her qualifications to become the new showrunner of Fear the Walking Dead, but her kid is really cute, too.
Look: Kirkman has a history of rewarding his best writers with promotions. Mazzara and Gimple began as writers on the show. Angela Kang is next in line, and she’d be the perfect choice to fix the problems on Fear the Walking Dead. As the series — one of the highest rated on television — gears up for season two, it needs to bring in a heavyweight. Behind Gimple and Greg Nicotero, Angela Kang is the biggest heavyweight the franchise has got.