TCA: EP Calls ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ a ‘Character Drama Set Against a Zombie Apocalypse’

Related: Complete Coverage of TCA Summer Press Tour

Beverly Hills, Calif. — The producers of Fear the Walking Dead, the much anticipated AMC companion series of The Walking Dead, said Friday it is indeed intended to be a stand-alone show.

“We look at this show as unique enough and with good enough characters to stand on its own,” said executive producer David Alpert Friday at Fear the Walking Dead’s TCA summer press tour panel at the Beverly Hilton. “We consider it a character drama set against a zombie apocalypse.”

The series, which takes place in Los Angeles at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, premieres Aug. 23 with an extended 90-minute episode. The first season will have six episodes. AMC confirmed that the second season order is for 15 episodes.

Executive producer and showrunner Dave Erickson said that viewers won’t see the full-on apocalypse of the original series in the initial half-dozen episodes.

“There’s still a window of exploration. We have some real estate left. We come to realize things have changed, but we’re still somewhat insulated from the reality of what’s going on,” Erickson said. “In season 2, we see that thing.”

Fear the Walking Dead is intended to be more of a slow burn than the original. For instance, the zombies are called “infected,” not “walkers.”

“We tried to make it as much about the anxiety, paranoia and tension of the outbreak,” Erickson said.

The series stars Kim Dickens as a high school guidance counselor and Cliff Curtis as an English teacher trying to keep some semblance of stability within their blended and dysfunctional family.

“We’re experiencing the fall of Los Angeles through the eyes of this family,” said coexecutive producer and director Adam Davidson.

Other highlights from the panel included:

— With regard to the title, Erickson said they wanted to include “walking dead” in the title, but didn’t want it to be Walking Dead: Los Angeles. Hence, “Fear the.”

— Asked if the leads were made high school teachers because that is the furthest thing from the survivalists of The Walking Dead, Davidson quipped, “If you can survive teaching in an L.A. high school, you can survive most anything.”

— While Erickson said there is “no intention of easter eggs or character references” to the original in Fear the Walking Dead, Alpert suggested that there might be one or two. “It’s possible,” he said.