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Here Are the Best Seasons of ‘Fear the Walking Dead’

Do you fear the walking dead?

madison & co in Fear the Walking Dead season 4

The post-apocalyptic horror craze has dominated television for years now. You could probably name at least five horror television series that exist in the subgenre. They aren’t always about zombies, but the most popular ones tend to be.

The Walking Dead, for example, has run for 11 long seasons and spawned plenty of spin-offs to keep fans attached. Including Fear the Walking Dead, which aired in 2015 and has an 8th season currently underway. Just like its predecessor, there have been some rocky seasons. Most long-running shows have at least one or more seasons that aren’t the best. Changes such as new showrunners, key characters being killed off, and a plethora of other things play a role in why a show starts to fail its fans. 

But as someone who has been watching FTWD since its inception and prefers to stick it out, it’s a rough time to see poor changes being made. What started off as a zombie horror series about dysfunctional family and reinvention of self—has become more western horror that’s sometimes hard to sit through. Much to yours (and my) benefit, I’m going to focus on the best seasons of the show. At least one of the seasons will be a controversial pick. Don’t fret, I’ll do my best to explain my choices. 

Season 1

nick and victor in Fear the Walking Dead season 1

Somehow Fear the Walking Dead was able to establish its characters right away and build up to an intense season finale. This season follows a blended family trying to navigate their own dysfunctions in the early days of the apocalypse. They eventually join up with the Salazar family to seek out a safe haven. All while trying to survive a doomed Los Angeles. Everyone has their own individual problems and relationships that are very fractured. Madison (Kim Dickens) is trying to build a life with her fiancé Travis (Cliff Curtis) and her kids from her previous marriage. Her son, Nick (Frank Dillane), struggles with addiction, and her daughter, Alicia (Alycia Debnam Carey), feels like she’s not a priority in the family. Then there’s Travis’ son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie)’s bitterness towards both of them. In just six episodes, the show killed off characters, introduced a pivotal character, Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), and set the stage for the second season. 

  Season 2

nick in Fear the Walking Dead season 2

This season follows the group’s journey to Mexico and the issues they come across on their way there/when they finally reach their destination. After boarding Victor’s boat (named after his boyfriend, Thomas Abigail), they struggle to avoid walkers and human threats. As if all that wasn’t tiresome enough, all of the losses experienced prior to leaving a now military-bombed LA, causes more mental deterioration. Especially in Travis’ son, Chris, who blames his dad for what happened to his mother. There’s so much conflict for the group to grapple with throughout the season. And they end up separated because, hey, drama. Loss is a huge theme throughout this season. Everyone has lost, is losing something, or will by the end of the season. There’s a fair amount of character exploration and that helps the show enter its 3rd season. 

Season 3

travis in Fear the Walking Dead season 3

Walkers are still a major threat in this season, but the horrors of racism and fanaticism are also very prevalent. The season follows Madison, her kids, and Nick’s lover, Luciana (Danay Garcia), who reach the US-Mexico border and find safety at a ranch run by the Otto family. And yes, the head of the family is racist as all hell. There’s a lot that’s problematic throughout the season (without a doubt on purpose), such as Indigenous people being painted as villains. Wouldn’t the apocalypse mean folks could take back their land without a problem? No. Unfortunately, this season marks the end of Travis’ character. Meaning it’s the beginning of Madison changing as a character.  Overall, this season is pretty great. The exploration of racism, loss, nature vs nurture, and other themes are relatively on point.

Season 4

alicia and the group in Fear the Walking Dead season 4

The show shifts incredibly so and stops being a prequel to The Walking Dead and starts running concurrently with its sibling show. Even going so far as to have Morgan (Lennie James) crossover from The Walking Dead and become a main cast member. There are lots of new characters in this season, all of them offering something important to the show, too. But there’s also a lot of loss as the season follows major deaths, trying to maintain stability, and to recreate the world as it once was in a contained space. Of course, there’s also our crew struggling against a group called the Vultures. To me, this season is about the end of almost everything that had been established in seasons 1-3. With Madison being presumed dead and Nick being killed off, there’s not a lot left to hold on to from the beginning.

Season 6

alicia in Fear the Walking Dead season 6

After a very clunky season 5 (believe me, the characters were making the stupidest decisions possible), the show turned things around a bit. While there were episodes that were certainly not good, the plot was interesting and much darker. The previous season introduced a new antagonist named Virginia (Colby Minifie) who shot Morgan in the season 5 finale and left him for dead. Then, gathered up his group and separated them with the help of her Pioneers. This season focuses on Morgan trying to get his group back, the group struggling with being separated and forced to live under Virginia’s rules, shocking deaths, and the introduction of a cult leader/serial killer named Teddy (John Glover). There’s a lot of character shifting, especially Victor who finally embraces being an antagonist. And with the season including a nuclear blast, things get even more horrendous for our survivors.

(featured image: AMC)

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Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a blerd writer and visual artist who loves horror, anime and all things strange. Her writing has appeared in Pink Advocate, Dread Central and more. For more, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theblackbuffy.