‘Fear The Walking Dead’ and ‘The Walking Dead’: The Evolution Of The Zombie Apocolypse

The Zombie Apocalypse has taken over the world, and our television sets, but what makes each show different, and what connects them?

In season 1 episode 1 of The Walking Dead, we had no idea what we were in for. Well, we sort of did thanks to the original comic book series, but TV and film change the original material all the time in order to fit the screen. Audiences have long been fascinated by the idea of the un-dead, and coming out of Hollywood’s recent vampire craze, The Walking Dead premiered on AMC and introduced us to a post-apocalyptic world where life was a game of survival. Now here we are, six seasons in, and 2 seasons into Fear The Walking Dead, a prequel to the original show, and just learning how it all connects.

Thanks to Fear The Walking Dead, we are getting a glimpse into how it all started, and how Rick and his team got to where they are now. Each show has something different to offer, and while set in the same universe, each show has a different feel and shooting style. So how far, exactly, has the Zombie phenomenon come, has the audience grown and adjusted, and where do the two shows differ and meet in-between? Let’s take a look.


  • The Walking Dead premiered to over 5 million viewers, with over 6 million tuning in for the season 1 finale. At the end of season 6, The Walking Dead locked in 14.2 million viewers! That’s a nearly 10 million person increase.

  • Fear The Walking Dead premiered last year to over 10 million viewers, and it set records! Significantly higher than its parent show, but understandably so, TWD didn’t have a parent show to get its viewers from. Season 2 carried on strong with over 6 million viewers. Still down from TWD, but as we’ve said, the shows are very different. As their timelines begin to match up, more viewers may continue to crossover.


  • The Walking Dead costs around 2.75 million per episode
  • Fear The Walking Dead costs a bit less at around 2 million or just under.

The budget difference has a lot to do with the fact that FTWD has shorter seasons, and has less viewers on average. Also the cast salaries are much less, and production value is cheapened by re-using props and such from the parent show. So they have learned to budget better in FTWD. In the earlier days, an episode of The Walking Dead cost over 3.6 million! AMC quickly adjusted the costs.

Number of Walkers Killed On Screen

The Walking Dead – Seasons 1-6

  • Walkers killed on screen at 1,188 since season 1, with an average of 198 walkers killed per season. This number comes from a fan who counted each season’s kills up to season 5, and then averaged the numbers per season,and lastly tacking on an average for season 6.
via TheWalkingDead.com
via TheWalkingDead.com

Fear The Walking Dead – Season 1-2

  • We don’t have an exact estimate, but we do know that the characters in Fear The Walking Dead are no as Zombie savvy as The Walking Dead. So there have been less kills, and the Zombie population hasn’t yet reached their peak, as this is the beginning of the world’s collapse. We can estimate around 45 walkers have been killed in season’s 1 and 2 of Fear The Walking Dead so far, including the mass killing in season 2’s mid-season finale in the burning house.

So the walker killing process is MUCH slower in FTWD than in TWD, and that makes sense. We have to remember that FTWD is the very beginning of the zombie disease taking over. Less zombies to fight and kill, making for less experience our characters have killing them. They are just coming to grips that the walkers are no longer human, and must be killed in order for them to survive. Season 2 has focused a lot on that so far, different characters are dealing with it in their own ways.Like Nick, who decided to leave Madison and everyone behind to search for his own answers in killing or not killing the walkers, and if he believed an actual person to be alive in there. Eventually they will have to reach the level of Rick and his team, or they just won’t make it.

Audience Evolution

Here is the interesting part, we all know of, and many of us have read, The Walking Dead comics that the shows are based on, but we don’t care! The Walking Dead became so much of its own entity that Fear The Walking Dead could be created and accepted by fans of TWD comic canon. This is huge in the evolution of fandom style audiences who use canon as their Bible, and criticize anything straying from source material. Character’s relationships have been altered (Michonne and Rick’s relationship was in response to the audience, and never happened in the comics), and some have even been spared where they shouldn’t have! Like when Glen supposedly died, as he does in the comics, and fans rioted, they didn’t want him dead, screw canon!

Fear The Walking Dead is a testament to how The Walking Dead has changed the zombie genre. Audiences have strayed from that classic horror movie trope, and are craving character development and realistic scenarios. The success of both shows can’t really be compared to eachother, but it is interesting to look at the differences and how the show evolved from the comics and into Fear The Walking Dead. Fans are hoping for a crossover one day, but for now I am happy with each show as they are, and am so excited to see how the timelines will further intersect (we now have ), and what characters will survive until they do.