Fear the Walking Dead is going to experiment with time, and new showrunners Ian Goldberg and Adam Chambliss are the perfect team to do it.
Fear the Walking Dead is going to experiment with time in season 4 so it’s a good thing they have showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg running things. Chambliss and Goldberg have a great deal of experience with time jumps, so if Fear the Walking Dead is going to do a time warp, Chambliss and Goldberg are the perfect duo to orchestrate it.
Once upon a time there was a show on ABC called, well, Once Upon a Time. The show takes viewers to the town of Storybrooke, where fairytale characters live and work and have to deal with everything from curses and feuds to real life issues. The show’s fans, known as Oncers, love OUAT because it goes back and forth in the timeline, going from Storybrooke to the story book land of the Enchanted Forest. Over the years, the cast has grown and changed as the plot moved through new lands like Arendelle (Frozen), Agrabah (Aladdin) and Wonderland. The show, in its seventh season, has seen many a romp back and forth through time and space, which is exactly what we might expect in Fear the Walking Dead season 4.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Goldberg indicated that there will be, some wibbly wobbly timey wimey-Doctor Who kind of stuff going on with the timeline. “Let’s just say, without giving too much away, we’re going to be playing with expectations, we’re going to be telling stories that experiment with time.”
Chambliss added that they’re “playing around with narrative structure and, hopefully, have done it in such a way that when the audience thinks they’ve figured out where we’re going, we have a way to pull the rug out from under them.” He adds that this kind of narrative fits in a story about the zombie apocalypse because you never know what’s next: “The decision to reach for those narrative techniques was to really make people feel on edge because this is how the characters feel in the apocalypse, never knowing what’s going to come around the corner.”
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This kind of narrative structure would be a tall order for anyone, but given Chambliss and Goldberg’s unique experience with a show that banked on time jumps and ever-changing narratives, they’re the most qualified showrunners available for an undertaking this big. There’s a lot riding on the success of Fear the Walking Dead, which has struggled to earn the kind of viewership and fiercely loyal fan base as its companion series, The Walking Dead.
It can be argued, though, that Fear has been gaining viewership ground while The Walking Dead has struggled to keep fans happy over the past two seasons. Fear hit a high note in season 3, and AMC will want to build upon this growth in season 4. Building upon season 3 is a challenge in season 4, though, amid a risky time jump, new location and the introduction of new cast members. That’s yet another reason the Chambliss-Goldberg team works so well for Fear the Walking Dead: They have navigated these waters before with Once Upon a Time. They understand network expectations (Disney owns ABC, after all, and had a lot riding on OUAT during its peak) and the introduction of new stories and cast members.
There’s no question that AMC made the right decision with Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg. If anyone can play with time on Fear the Walking Dead, it’s those two.
Fear the Walking Dead returns April 15 on AMC.