Zombie TV fans are getting ready for one hell of a weekend, with The Walking Dead bidding farewell to Season 8 with a pulse-pounding finale, which is set to be followed by the groundbreaking Season 4 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead. As most know, this will be the first time the two shows will share character DNA, with Lennie James' Morgan taking a big trip down south. But what you might not know yet is that Fear the Walking Dead, which is following its stellar Mexico-set third outing, is an even bigger thrill in Season 4, which even manages to eclipse The Walking Dead proper where the fun factor is concerned.
Without getting into spoilers -- because where would be the fun in that? -- we're going over the three big ways Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 already feels like a bigger blast than The Walking Dead has in recent seasons. Which isn't to say that the overall quality is way better or anything, because that's a separate conversation. Here, it's all about having a good time. So let's get started with the most obvious point.
It's A Crossover!
Don't get me wrong, not all TV crossovers are worth the trouble, but the game was exponentially upped in recent years with Dick Wolf's NBC franchises and The CW's Arrow-verse series. Thankfully, Fear the Walking Dead makes the most out of its crossover status early on, introducing Morgan Jones in a way that heavily calls back to The Walking Dead universe proper, while also working to distance him from it. Considering Morgan is one of the most mentally troubled survivors in this universe, his involvement in a new setting might not read as "fun" necessarily, but it makes for some very interesting moments when it's not his old compadres trying to bond with him, but complete strangers who have no idea what he's really like. (Talk about uncomfortable first impressions.)
After years of speculating how these two shows could collide, the crossover is finally here, and unless some rather drastic situations go down during the rest of the season, we could very well see more in the future. (Possibly with Georgie and other new faces.) So not only is Morgan's introduction a good time, but its existence allows for a ton of follow-up conversations about where the franchise's intermingling might go next.
It's Truly An All New World
More often than not, when The Walking Dead opens its world up, viewers are watching as the characters slowly make grand discoveries from one location to the next. But Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 drops fans into various areas that we've never seen before, and thankfully feels no need to drown us in exposition about what these places are. One of my favorite elements about this franchise (and post-apocalyptic entertainment in general) is exploring unfamiliar areas, from forests to neighborhoods to high-rise buildings, and in the early episodes, we're living vicariously through Morgan in that respect.
But it's not only the locations that are different, obviously. We have new characters in Garret Dillahunt's sharpshooter John, whose eagerness for a companion is more amusing than one might think; Maggie Grace's badass Al, whose vehicle houses one of the Dead franchise's coolest weapons; and Jenna Elfman's Naomi, a mysterious woman who is paranoid about trusting others. And there are also some new villains out there that share some similarities with some of the more evil Walking Dead factions, but with a completely different approach that adds some heightened stress to the drama. Season 3's location change turned Fear the Walking Dead from decent to great, and we think the Season 4 update will only add to the enjoyment, albeit with far less racial tension.
*Everything Is So Much More Unpredictable *
With each season of The Walking Dead, fans have a fairly decent idea of where things will go in an overarching sense, both because of the slow-burn timelines and because of the source material guiding the narrative. And even in Fear the Walking Dead, many situational outcomes aren't so hard to pinpoint. Mysterious strangers on a radio asking for help? Bad guys. Clean and safe strangers on a seemingly secured ranch? Bad guys, too, mostly. But by picking up long after the dam destruction that capped off Season 3, Fear the Walking Dead has made it hard to make any guesses about the future, or the past.
What happened to the Clarks & Co. between then and now is a mystery. How Morgan and the other newbies will get along with Madison and her family is a mystery. How the new threats will attempt to undermine the protagonists is a mystery. And what's more, these are naturally formed curiosities that occur, as opposed to how The Walking Dead will often use erratic and out-of-sequence editing to manufacture its peculiar talking points. This is just good, fun TV, and everyone needs to be watching.
Be sure to check out Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 when it premieres on AMC on Sunday, April 15, at 10:10 p.m. ET, following The Walking Dead's Season 8 finale. Check out all the questions we have about that big finale, and to see what other new and returning shows are on the way, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer premiere guide.