Just this past week, in a chat with Vulture, AMC network exec Charlie Collier stated that, in reference to whether we will see anymore shows in The Walking Dead universe, that they are “open to ideas that feel organic to the creators”. Some foolish people have run this story as confirmation we are getting another show and while Collier definitely doesn’t say that it is interesting that AMC are open to more spin-off/companion shows. The Walking Dead is a ratings beast and Fear The Walking Dead was a big success so it makes perfect sense for more world building but what should this third show be?
I think I have a great idea for what this third show could be and it’s a simple one. A Walking Dead anthology show. A television series in which each episode (not season) follows different characters in a unique situation. Emotional investment is an immediate issue because how can the audience get invested in characters during a 45 minute episode? With good writers it can be done; just look at the old Twilight Zone series in which I became more invested in the characters during the 30 minute episodes than I have with some long running TV series. The anthology format brings about a range of storytelling opportunities, just look at Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror and the types of stories you could tell in the universe of The Walking Dead are vast.
Imagine an episode following a military commander who has been told he is now top of the chain of command after all the people in political power above him have been killed in the early days of the zombie apocalypse similar to Laura Roslin in Ronald D Moore’s re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica. We see him have to make tough decisions like whether to initiate Project Cobalt from Fear The Walking Dead or to firebomb Atlanta like we saw in the core show and then face the moral consequences. It would expand the world of The Walking Dead without answering some of the questions we don’t want answering. I don’t want to see any episodes that explain how the virus started and I definitely don’t want to see patient zero.
It would be cool to see episodes take place in different locations (I’m fed up of seeing that same forest and stretch of road where they film a lot of The Walking Dead) and maybe other countries to draw parallels and contrasts with the two shows currently gracing our screens. In the season 1 finale we briefly hear that France was the closest to creating a vaccine. Did they manage to make it? Was it too late? Did any country manage to stay infection free for some time and could do nothing but watch as the world began to destroy/eat itself? It could be cool to find out. And maybe my obsession with other locations/countries is just to see Walkers in different surroundings like deserts, snow and mountains.
Some episodes could take place far in the future with characters who were born after the fall of civilisation and don’t know what the world was like beforehand except from the stories they hear from others. Such characters could then discover how life was before the apocalypse after finding some undisturbed fragment of the past similar to Ellie and Riley in the mall in the Left Behind DLC to the awesome Playstation game The Last Of Us.
Some episodes could even be small spin-offs from The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead or introduce the audience to new characters who will appear in those shows. All comic readers know that Negan (and Lucille) will be introduced into the show very soon and how cool would it be if we got an anthology episode featuring Negan to give him more character development when he’s not terrorising Rick and co. Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman also co-wrote a trilogy of books looking at how past villain Philip Blake became The Governor. I wouldn’t want a straight up adaptation but taking parts from the books for an episode for the anthology show would be cool. Maybe we could occasionally see the stories behind certain Walkers in the show like those creepy sewer walkers this past season.
When Frank Darabont was showrunner of the Walking Dead back in season 1 he wanted to have special anthology spin-off episodes. His original plan was to have the season 2 premiere follow the story of the tank, and its occupants, from the pilot. But then he was fired and the idea was scrapped. Anyone else lie awake at night imagining how different the show would have been if Frank Darabont was still showrunner? No? Just me then.
Do you think a Walking Dead anthology show is a good idea? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about Walking Dead comics or shows on Twitter @kylebrrtt. Like, Subscribe and why not have a look at all the awesome stuff on the site like the many podcasts and blogs. I’ll be back next week so come back then for some more First Time Writing.