The Walking Dead: What Led To Its Jeopardy
The Walking Dead is, perhaps “was” now, my favorite show to always watch. Truly, one could catch me watching the show quite often. Ever since season 7 arrived though, the show’s captivating charm has lost its touch more and more. Three key turning points that changed the dynamic of the show are when 1) Glenn is killed off in a gruesome fashion (as well as that unforgivable cliffhanger), 2) Negan is given too much screen time that unnecessarily highlights his terrorizing regime, and 3) Carl is killed off (which I cannot emphasize enough was SO unnecessary for me). These are changes that clearly didn’t help the show gain more viewers, pushing them away instead.
Let’s Start with the Show’s Greatest Seasons (1-6)
From seasons 1-6, we saw some of the best episodes ever written for television. Season 1 brought us Rick Grimes’s overall mission, to keep his wife, Lori Grimes, and son, Carl Grimes, safe. Who can forget that very first episode on October 31, 2010, when Rick wakes up from a coma alone in a hospital, to an apocalyptic world full of walkers (note: the general term “zombies” is not used in the show, characters refer to “zombies” as “walkers”). He desperately searches for his family, and as the first episode rolls, we shockingly find out that Lori has been sleeping with Rick’s best friend, Shane Walsh, believing Rick actually died in a coma before society went to ruin. This sets up the storyline that follows on up to season 3. The show is off with an awesome start where we are eager and practically anxious to see how these characters, along with others, survive in a walker apocalypse world and on top of that, have to solve the love triangle between Rick, Lori, and Shane.
Seasons 2 gives us Rick and Shane’s relationship deterioration, unfortunately. Shane is unquestionably possessive of Lori and Carl, reaching a point where he is in a one-on-one fight against Rick. He even attempts to gun him down, in 18 Miles Out (season 2, episode 10). There is a moment when Rick himself considers leaving Shane behind to the walkers in this very same episode, but quickly changes his mind, because Rick is that good of a man with honor. Regrettably, Rick ends up killing Shane with a knife, when Shane leads him to the outskirts of the Greene family farm to murder him. This marks a huge turning point for Rick Grimes; he has just killed his own best friend. This is an intriguing part of the show, where fans are just crazed over how Rick handled the situation. The majority supported him, and it was clear he had no choice anymore but to end the messed up triangle that all started with Lori. As his group begins to question his leadership because the farm’s downfall, something in Rick snaps. Rick changes his leadership, stating coldly, frustratingly, and quite memorably, “This isn’t a democracy anymore” to his fellow companions. He delivers one of the best scenes with the most fitting soundtrack (that can bring chills to anyone) on The Walking Dead, as seen in the video below.
The audience starts season 3 off with a huge bang; we see time has passed, with Lori visibly ready to give birth at any moment (note: it is not clear who’s baby it is, Rick or Shane’s, but we all have a pretty good idea of the highest possibility), and Carl looking a little older than before. As the group conquers the prison and meets their very first truly dangerous foe, The Governor, the audience is eager for more each week, with ratings clearly going up the ranks of up to an average of 10.75 million U.S. viewers for all of season 3, much higher than the 6.91 million U.S. viewers from season 2, as reported by Nielsen Media Research. It is during the 4th episode of season 3, Killer Within, that we see Rick Grimes go through one of his toughest moments to date. Having had a very strained relationship with Lori after killing Shane, Lori gives birth to Judith Grimes, at the cost of her own life. As fate would have it, Rick was not there to help her go through the process. This scene caused so much talk over the following episodes, where many people felt bad for Rick never trying to talk to Lori about what they could possibly do to fix their marital situation. Audiences were mesmerized to keep tuning in even more with real-life issues becoming more present in the show, and what many may or may not connect with. What are the consequences of not talking to someone you have had the worst experience with? How do you get past that? The Walking Dead not only delivers drama in an apocalyptic world, but also has the huge ability to make audiences ponder on what is right, easy, etc.
While season 3 rolled on, we began seeing more diversity within the cast. It should be widely noted that actor Steven Yeun (aka Glenn Rhee), is one of the first few Asian Americans to be a main cast member, since the very beginning, of a widely popular television series. The addition of Danai Gurira (aka Michonne) to the main fold also helped build up that necessary variety to the show, which definitely attracted a wider, diverse audience as well. As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, the television series is “closer than most to mirroring the diversity of America’s real-world populace.” As we move on to season 4, the show gives us even more interesting and dangerous drama when the whole prison falls in the hands of a dangerous flu that seems to be infecting rapidly by the slightest touch of someone infected. This adds to the already dangerous atmosphere in which humans live with walkers. One of the biggest episodes in the fourth season is when Hershel Greene, a clear fan favorite, unforgivingly dies at the hands of The Governor, by having his head brutally chopped off with a sword. While fans were truly heart-broken, they were very eager to see how the group would cope with this, which is clearly visible since the season 4 mid-season premiere drew in the highest number of fans for a mid-season premiere, 15.76 million U.S. viewers.
Season 5 is the perhaps the best season in all of The Walking Dead history, where we immediately open up the show with Rick and co. fighting to the death against Terminus’s members. Terminus was first viewed by our favorite characters as a sanctuary for all, which of course immediately led fans worldwide to point out that “it’s too good to be true”. At this stage into the apocalypse, it was a no-brainer for fans to immediately become suspicious of anything that may seem too good for our characters. After all the horrors fans have witnessed with our characters on the show, there was no doubt that Terminus was another dream. However, it was because of the impending and mysterious conflict that our characters were sure to encounter that made the season that much more enjoyable and exciting to watch.
During Season 5 premiere, fans have the ultimate joy of seeing Rick and co. successfully escape Terminus. To add to that joy, top fan favorite Carol Peletier finds Rick and co., after having been separated from them for quite a bit (see video below). Daryl Dixon, another top fan favorite, emotionally reunites with her first, running towards her. Rick and the rest follow suit. On top of that, fans rejoice at main cast members Rick and Carl reunite with baby Judith, after thinking she was long gone. The Season 5 premiere successfully drew in the highest number of fans to watch The Walking Dead to date: 17.29 million U.S. viewers, with a season average of 14.38 million, the highest average for any season of the show.
Further into season 5, Rick Grimes delivers one of the most iconic phrases for the show. He states “We, are The Walking Dead” (see video below at 1:33). Fans were ecstatic that Rick had said the very title of the show in the show ! This scene was one of the most impactful scenes the audience has seen since.
While Season 6 may have had a slightly less viewership average, 13.15 million, it was still very exciting to watch. About 10,000 fans had the pleasure of attending The Walking Dead Season 6 Premiere at New York City’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Even all-time fan favorites long gone from the show showed up to the great event. During the first half of season 6, viewers were longing to see how Rick and co. adapted to the Alexandria Safe-Zone. It is hard to easily forget the season 6 mid-season premiere, where Carl Grimes loses an eye, and we see two young boys and their mother die eaten alive by walkers. It brought many goosebumps to viewers, and still, viewership remained loyal to the show.
Seasons 7 and 8; Where The Show Starts Reeling Off
Season 7 starts off in one of the most violent fashions ever seen in television history; both Abraham Ford and Glenn Rhee are beaten to death with a barbed wire bat, named Lucille, at the hands of the new villain, Negan. Fans were already explicitly furious with the show’s writers, producers, and AMC during the season 6 finale, because it left them with the craziest cliffhanger of all time. Season 6 ended with Negan beating someone unknown to death, since the camera shows us the victim’s point-of-view. When fans saw that it was Abraham Ford who got the bat, fans were undeniably sad and yet still angry that they had to wait a good 7 months to see who it was. Many people argued that the show’s creators had become too money-hungry, wanting to forcefully draw in the highest viewership number to date, at the time. Then, the show’s creators deliver something even more, dare I say, disgusting. They kill Glenn Rhee, a few moments later, by having Daryl Dixon angrily lunge at Negan for teasing Rosita Espinosa (Rosita had dated Abraham). Viewers lost it. Social media platforms were streaming with angry, sad, and totally shocked posts from viewers. In the comics the show is based off of, Glenn is the only victim to die at the hands of Negan. Just when everyone thought he was safe on the show, perhaps imagining him having a chance to meet his future child, he is ripped apart with a bat in the most vicious, horrifying manner. While this episode may have brought on 17.03 million viewers, it was obvious that viewership was going to start going downhill after the season 7’s first episode. Now that everyone finally saw who got the bat, viewership went away little by little as the 7th season progressed. By season 7’s mid-season finale, viewership had gone drastically down to 10.58 million viewers in the U.S.
There is no question that The Walking Dead lost important viewership demographics and a huge fandom; Asian Americans and Glenn’s ultimate fanbase in general. One could say Abraham’s loyal fanbase also decided to leave, but there is no question that Glenn had a much bigger and powerful one. Had Glenn survived Negan’s brutal introduction, viewership would not have gone so low in such a quick amount of time (between episodes that followed the season 7 premiere). Glenn had been on the show since Day 1, when he benevolently rescued Rick Grimes in Atlanta and helped set the course for the show since then. With his violent and depressing death, it is no surprise many fans were taken aback and even felt insulted. Seasons 4-8 Executive Producer Scott M. Gimple, who practically all The Walking Dead fans blamed for this infamous story-telling, said to Variety, “I ask people to give us the benefit of the doubt that it’s all part of a plan, all part of a story. I truly hope that people see [the season 7 premiere] and they feel justifies the way we’ve decided to tell the story.” Of course, he could not have been more wrong in hoping for that; fans were outraged. During the season 6 finale, Gimple states on Talking Dead, “We reveal [in the season 7 premiere] who’s on the receiving end [of the barbed wire bat], that’s going to be the start of another story.” Gimple did not realize he made a huge mistake in assuming that a huge number of viewers would see things his way. Whether he wants to call it creative writing or not, not everyone thinks the same way, especially if not everyone is a television writer, producer, etc. Fans were not going to see the season 7 premiere as the start of a new story if they were left off without a conclusion. As reported by Psychology Today, “when given closure, we can re-structure our past, present, and future in a healthy way…When we are refused closure, however, attempts to understand what happened flood our conception of the past, present, and future.” If fans had been given both Abraham and Glenn’s deaths in the season 6 finale, perhaps fans would have had time to mourn their losses and been looking forward to see how Rick and co. would cope with the tragedies. Unfortunately, fans were not given enough time to process the end of both beloved characters and were immediately thrown more episodes that made them see Rick and co. at their lowest points ever, which they were not used to and could not bare to watch.
In addition, no one will ever forget how The Walking Dead’s writers purposefully (and disgustingly) made us believe that Glenn had died eaten alive by walkers (season 6, episode 3). This marked the unfortunate course the show’s writers decided to take; writing scenes that guide us in one direction, only to show us episodes later, that the outcome had been totally different. For Glenn during this occasion, it turned out he was able to escape the flesh-eating walkers by crawling under a dumpster. As reported by Mashable, “to further manipulate the audience, the show even removed Yeun’s name from the opening credits for several episodes, as it had previously done whenever a main character dies.” The writers’ purposefully toyed with fans a time too many with one of their top favorite characters, Glenn Rhee, and their need for a “creative story” did not justify it.
Negan’s introduction was, unfortunately, done in a very unwelcoming fashion. While it may have worked in the comics, it was not the same on the television screen. Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan portrays Negan’s tyrannical reign with great accuracy and a charm that is easy to even like (props to Dean). Of course, it is the writers’ fault that Negan is not sitting well with most fans. Season 7 is, unquestionably all over the place, literally. Viewers see all characters dispersed into separate episodes, and while this may have been something done before, it was too many this time, on top of having to try to adapt to the show without all-time favorite Glenn, and seeing Negan’s vicious reign. We have Daryl trapped in a room, perhaps worse than an animal, Rick demonstrating lack of action, Tara is off at Oceanside, Carl is running off in a foolish attempt to try to kill Negan on his own, we have new groups pop up that have faced Negan’s wrath as well, etc. Even more so, there are too many new characters introduced in season 7, far more than were introduced in season 6. This made it even harder to keep track of what all of them were up to and for the audience to have enough time to get attached to them. It is too many directions all given just one episode each, leading up to the season 7 finale where Rick and co. finally decide to act against Negan.
We now turn to season 8, which has caused the highest uproar in all of The Walking Dead history. Carl Grimes, Rick’s last Grimes family member and driving force to survive, is bitten by a walker. Of course, as the writers would have it, we are only given hints at first that Carl may be leaving the show. For a brief moment, we see Carl with a shocked look on his face as he saves new character Saddiq, from a couple of walkers early in season 8. It is when we get to the season 8 mid-season finale, that we see Carl show Rick and co. he’s been waiting to die all along from a walker bite (after he offers himself to Negan as long as Negan doesn’t kill anyone else in the war). Fans did not remain quiet. There were petitions getting started to get Scott Gimple fired for “killing off Carl”. Rumors began circulating, stating that AMC did not want to start paying Chandler Riggs (Carl) an adult salary, now that he is coming of age. Chandler’s father even posted a photo where he states that his son trusted AMC, having recently bought a house in Georgia (where they film), looking forward to future storylines for Carl.
In the comics, Carl Grimes is still alive. He remains an integral part of the storyline, and is someone who fans, while not always liking him, have him in their hearts for simply being Rick’s driving force. It is a huge mystery what direction the show’s creators are going to be taking from here on, since Carl Grimes is said to take the lead now in the comics after his father. After Carl’s death, there is little doubt that two more fanbases have decided to drop out; Chandler’s loyal fanbase and the The Walking Dead comics’ most passionate followers. Viewership for this past season has reached its lowest since seasons 2-3; about 7.82 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.
I cannot emphasize enough how unnecessary it was to kill off Carl Grimes. After many fans have unleashed their extreme anger and sadness over this decision, Scott Gimple spoke out stating that “[Carl] needed to be the person who pushed the world in a certain direction, who put out a certain message. That message might even be denied, but we wanted it to have the incredible weight of coming from this young hero in the most serious of circumstances. And [his] demise can show that this world is still the world of The Walking Dead, where these things happen. It couldn’t have had more gravity [if it happened to another character]”, reported by Collider. Of course, fans were still not satisfied with this explanation, and I fully support them. It is quite obvious that Carl did not need to die in order for Rick to change his mind about killing Negan. In the comics, Rick slashes out at Negan’s throat, but does not kill him. Instead, he decides to keep him locked inside a basement where he will not harm others and rule his tyranny. Carl still wants to kill him then, having constant moral conversations with Rick. The tv writers could have easily recorded this exact scene if they wanted to, but alas, they chose to delve deeper into how Rick chose to keep Negan alive. Here are the possibilities:
- They could have easily placed Carl in the middle between Rick and Negan fighting, and have Carl get accidentally hurt (not killed), which would have caused both Rick and Negan to realize that they could have killed Carl off accidentally, making both men stop in their tracks (they both cared for Carl).
- The writers could have killed off another character (since they seem so willing to kill someone off every mid/season finale) that could have had a huge impact over them (remember, Carl is too vital to the current comics and is Rick’s driving force – something they mercilessly chose to ignore).
- Carl could have wanted to have some peace for his relationship with Enid, and told his father that he would prefer if they stopped fighting and tried negotiating with Negan. There was no reason Carl needed to die in the act.
- Judith could have been the one to have been accidentally hurt, causing Negan to retreat and for Rick to want to have him in confinement.
As much as one thinks over the idea that Carl wants peace between them while he is dying, it truly did not need to come to that. It would have made for an even greater season 9 to have Carl and Judith interact more, and see how Judith’s upbringing compares to Carl’s. Carl Grimes was the last sole survivor of the Grimes’ family alongside Rick (blood-wise).
It has been made known that the show’s creators have been currently filing lawsuits against AMC, among them the show’s creator Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabount, and Gale Anne Hurd. This is due to the fact that they are not receiving a fair share of the show’s immense profits. For a television show to air, it needs a studio to produce it, and a network channel to air it. AMC Studios is in charge of creating The Walking Dead, to which AMC is stated to have taken advantage of since AMC Studios is part of their company. Apparently, AMC has not been paying enough fees and taking money from the show’s creators in the process.
Now, it has been confirmed that Andrew Lincoln (Rick) will be leaving the show, and he may wrap up during the season 9 mid-season finale. Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Rhee, has been confirmed to leave the show as well. This is due to AMC not wanting to pay her the salary she deserves for being on the show for so long, which drove her to sign a contract with another television network. Many speculate that it is because Chandler left, that Andrew just doesn’t feel the same anymore. Others believe Chandler was unfairly fired and Andrew could not stand the injustice of it all. It is somewhat fishy how after 8 full seasons of being on the show, Andrew Lincoln decides to leave, considering how much he loves filming it. One might even consdier that AMC does not want to continue paying 2 actors (Andrew and Norman Reedus) very high salaries (for being in the show for so long), and chose to keep only one. If that is the case, then AMC is making a huge mistake, and may they feel the shame. Others have said that it is the emotional pain of having to fly off to Atlanta to film each year that has caused this. Leaving his family behind in England may have taken a toll on him, after 10 years. Alas, we will have to wait and see if Andrew Lincoln ever reveals the true reason behind his departure.
With Carl, Rick, and Maggie leaving, all series originals and fan favorites since season 1 and 2, respectively, marks the end of the best era television history has ever seen. Had Carl not died, perhaps things would’ve turned out differently. Had the show’s writers chosen to not continue to toy with viewers’ loyalty and emotions, viewership may not have gone downhill after season 6. Had AMC not gone money-hungry, the show could have continued being “something more” (AMC’s slogan). No matter how hard AMC tries to lure fans in now, it’s just not the same without a good number of the original characters, and that awesome writing and dialogue viewers used to get.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
I lost interest after watching a series or two. I assumed that, sooner or later, they would reach some sort of safe zone and build a new society. Did they ever do that? All I ever saw was the same scene replayed endlessly. Hole up in a safe place. Someone goes out to get something. Zombies attack. Rinse and repeat.
I believe you mean after watching the first two seasons (you wrote “series”). They did reach several safe zones and tried building new societies. You do point out a very important cycle; it’s one that has definitely become repetitive throughout the years, and proof that they need to revive it in a new way.
Ah sort of. Safe places for the group after the farm inevitably turned into holing up with other survivors (Prison, Governor’s compund, etc etc), survivors who seem nice enough until they aren’t. It became more about infighting and human vs human stuff, and the walkers were occasional obstacles to be overcome. I stopped watching after about season 6, so I don’t know really. I assume it’s just more of the same.
I am quite fond of this TV series, even though both the gentle nature of the apocalypse (everyone looks reasonably clean, people don’t carry appreciable provisions, access to water is often ignored, etc) and it generally being on premium TV, stopped me from watching it.
It’s established formula will probably allow the series to continue or even permit a Trek-like revival if it does disappear from our screens for a time.
Should have ended ages ago, it’s been dragged out way too long. There’s only so much you can do with Zombie stories – survive against our brain munching adversaries, or survive against other survivors. The series have done this to death now (no pun intended), they need to wrap it up and find a cure, or kill everyone off.
I completely agree that there are only certain things possible in a zombie apocalypse storyline. I believe that the writers could have impacted their audience so much more by actually sticking with a lot of the original characters (fan-favorites), instead of killing them off for impact/viewership. For example, I would have loved seeing how Lori and Rick tried working things out. Heck, it would have been awesome to see how Lori reacted to Terminus, The Alexandria Safe-Zone, Negan. The new characters can only offer so much when one is already used to the old-time favorites.
I’m refusing to watch anymore until I know there is an end. I’m not investing anymore of my time watching the same storylines being repeated. I stopped after Season 7. I know you should suspense reality with this show but once I saw those weird people dressed in black that live in a scrapyard I seriously began question what in the world am I watching.
That was the end point for me, too. Why on earth did they refuse to speak in full sentences? Why did Rick and co trust them at all? It didn’t make any sense!
After that, and the endless gun fight against Neagan, when he could have been shot as soon as he walked outside and started waxing lyrical, I realised there were better ways to spend my time. Like rearranging my sock drawer.
I agree that the “Dumpster” people were a bit too much, because it does not seem that likely that that would be a role people would take in an apocalypse. After Season 7, there have been too many new characters all at once, and not enough time for viewers to get attached enough to care for them. The audience loves their originals.
They’ve just spent an entire season on one gunfight. Where do all the bullets come from? Boring stuff.
One more season with the helicopter leading to the final settlement should be enough.
I actually hope to see where the storyline goes with Daryl and Carol being the last original Atlanta members standing. However, I do believe that only a couple more seasons would do just fine.
Having watched every season since its inception, it has gone a bit stale. The continual nay perpetual focus on Negan and the Saviours has stretched my patience to breaking point. Rick had the chance to kill Negan many times, the latest effort to incarcerate the psycho seems rather tame. You just know that at some point he will escape and reignite his feud with Rick.
Once Rick leaves that’s me done. Rick is the essence of the series, and the one that was (in my mind anyway) to lead mankind to salvation
Hands down, Rick Grimes is The show. If it weren’t for him, there wouldn’t have been The Walking Dead. Its’s truly sad to see his character go, yet I am eager to see what will happen to Daryl and Carol. There is no doubt though, that the show could have done so much more and better with Rick and Carl remaining with them. It’s a shame where the previous show runner decided to do to the show. Too many new characters, and taking away our all-time favorites.
I remember watching the series premiere back in 2010(at the height of the zombie phenomenon) and was amazed at how revolutionary the show would be. But it’s also the perfect example of what happens when studios see dollar signs and drag a dead show behind a cart instead of ending it on a high note. It could be because the graphic novels still have no set end or showrunners like Gimple just trying to squeeze as much profitability out of a show as possible, but it always sucks to see a show you used to like suffer in quality. It’s almost worse than watching a decent show cancelled too early.
Very true. The show was the best thing to have happened in the early 2010’s. But now, it’s pretty obvious the studio is aiming for the money much more than their audience and quality of the show. Evidence such as Lauren Cohan (Maggie) no longer getting a decent contract is among them. They also decided to kill off Carl, who is a MAJOR character in the comics, and now Rick Grimes is leaving the show. Gimple and the studio should have definitely been double-checked on where he was leading the show, because the show is no longer what it used to be.
Not a show I ever got into, but I must say I was impressed by your enthusiasm and passion. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you very much for your input, Sarai! It’s awesome that you notice how much I’m invested in the show 🙂
4 seasons of this was fun…after that they just lost their way and reverted back to the usual stereotypes and all the same boring relationship problems………it got really really boring and now its moved to total farce……..i’m expecting an alien spacecraft to turn up any day now……..
What relationship problems are you referring to, Neoma?
Surprisingly Fear the Walking Dead has become the superior zombie show of the 2 – I never thought that would happen!
One of the problems, for me, with The Walking Dead is the lack of walking dead. Sure they’re around, but they’re more of a regular annoyance than a threat. Like wasps around a jam sandwich, or tripping up.
Thanks for pointing that out, Magdalena. It’s something that hasn’t passed fans’ minds. It’s supposed to be about walkers and people being the threat. However, we’ve been getting about 99% people and 1% walkers in the latest episodes.
But the humans are…. THE WALKING DEAD
TWD died years ago. I gave up watching once I eventually realised my intelligence was being insulted every single time I watched it. The introduction of ‘Panto-Negan’ and everyone’s stupid inability to just kill him FFS, was the final straw.
Stopped watching during series 7, but tbh, I only kept watching it up till then in the hope that Darryl got killed.
He always really pissed me off, almost as much as Andrea.
Beth was the one who pissed me off. Key element of one of the worst episodes ever (the get drunk and burn down a cabin in the middle of the night one) and the singing… Fuck me, any chance to crowbar some singing in and she was there. I was happy to see her bumped off, but she came back as a ghost and sang!
Unbelievably, the show then managed to get worse. I bowed out at the start of last season after everyone went stormtroopery when it came to shooting Negan.
I honestly didn’t think Beth’s demise was necessary. The way it happened felt more forced than natural. One of the writers’ greatest mistakes was writing off characters just for viewer impact, instead of the quality of the story.
Pretty much only care about Carol anyway – why can’t she be the show lead in these supposedly more enlightened times?
Didn’t the show runner at some point a few years ago say that (on the TV version) she now was ? That she was the only character he couldn’t consider killing off?
I believe Carol will be getting more on-screen time during this upcoming season. It’s clear that she has the power to hold the show. She’s gone a long way from where she used to be.
I would suggest that, instead of ending on a high and leaving us with a warm glow, the entire cast falls foul of a huge horde and the last thing we see is them all walking off into the distance. That way it stays true to the ethos of the comics but there is a real ending for viewers.
It has run it’s course imo. The last 2-3 seasons have been a hard watch.
Agreed, I loved it, up to the point where Negan joined, now it feels like it’s just chasing silly storylines desperately trying to keep it going. I’m pretty much done with it.
I gave up midway through this series. They should have killed off all the main characters except Rick, Carol and Daryl, as they brought nothing to the show and many where highly annoying (especially Eugene).
Saying that, the straw which broke the camel’s back for me was when Glen should have died on top of a wheelie bin, but miraculously turned up a few episodes later.
Yep. Glenn and the magic dumpster did for me too.
I think they missed a trick not starting a spin off show where Glenn discovers the magic dumpster is a TARDIS and can travel to anywhere in time and space that’s looks a bit like southern California.
They might not die though… perhaps exile is on the cards for at least one of them?
It was very unwise for TWD writers to trick everyone of Glenn’s “demise” during the 6th season. Once they actually wrote him off in the Season 7 premiere, a large number had had it already. This is what happens when you toy with fans’ feelings.
Originally it was interesting to see the characters roaming around abandoned housing developments, gated communities, the wretched end of a consumer society that is trashing the earth. Then the show itself became a zombie, it’s own embodiment of the notion of walking dead. Poetic.
It was interesting up to a point because then they began adding so many storylines, that it became hard for the audience to really connect to the new additions.
there’s been some astonishingly bad writing going on for like 5 or 6 seasons now , like.. beyond embarrassing even for trashy tv . dont understand how its still alive .. sometimes its so bad that its just weird. you start to wonder if amc has any quality control ppl to check it or if the whole production has gone rogue or something
Fear The Walking Dead has risen as the original has fallen.
Kim Dickens, Colman Domingo, Garret Dillahunt and Ruben Blades are doing the business.
Kim Dickens’ character was actually written off last season.
Ways to improve The Walking Dead:
1) Bring back Ghost Merle and make him the protagonist.
2) After an epic mid-season finale in which almost everyone dies… Ghost Merle, Darryl, Carol, Jesus and Jerry stumble across a Mystery Machine/A-Team style van and head across country solving zombie related murders.
3) The “will they/won’t they” tension between Carol and Darryl hits new heights but every time they rip each other’s clothes off and start to get steamy… Ghost Merle barges in and interrupts.
4) After a couple of years of van-induced adventures, our heroes realise that America is a busted flush and they need to go abroad to find out whether the rest of the world has discovered a cure for the zombie outbreak and had more success in rebuilding society.
Ghost Merle, now dressed as a ghost pirate, captains our heroes as they set sail across the Atlantic ocean towards Europe.
5) The boat sinks. There are no survivors.
Glad to see Andrew Lincoln, a terrific actor, get out of this show. Hope he returns to doing interesting stuff.
I imagine he’s earned all the money he’s ever going to need so the world should be his oyster.
On balance there has been more good than bad but the bad has been too frequent recently. The whole next season has just been completely hamstrung as everyone will just be waiting for Rick and Maggie to die, thus rendering anything else that is going on utterly redundant.
You are absolutely right; the very best episodes are at the beginning of the show. Now there are too many episodes that are all over the place. Seeing the group members in different episodes (because they’re split apart) doesn’t help at all. We lose track of where everyone is and at what time. Like you said, everyone is now waiting to see what awaits Rick in his final episodes in The Walking Dead. I truly hope they do his character right.
So basically the Walking Dead has now become it’s own spin-off show with Norman Reedus in the lead role.
Should have ended the series after the prison went under.
I still watch it. I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to but it really doesn’t have any competition in the TV zombie drama genre.
Was a die hard fan but with the central character on his way out the whole point of the story will be gone.
It will be an end to this cycle of the story (with Rick Grimes). It’s truly devastating because he is who started it all. Once he leaves the show, it will be a whole new era of TWD. There’s no way it will be the same.
Excellent summary of TWD, I really enjoyed reading it; as well as, your personal observations. Thanks for supporting your arguments with stats and other publications. Great work!!!
Thank you very much Jacque! I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed reading it :)!
I remember when my friend handed me the first volume of The Walking Dead while we were eating lunch in the cafeteria. That singular moment got me hooked on a series which, in turn, had just premiered on television. I loved The Walking Dead in all mediums. Now, not so much. The comics I still keep up with but I don’t purchase monthly; I wait for the compendium that goes on sale at my local comic book shop. And I’ve cancelled subscription to AMC since the end of season 6.
Season 6 was a drag. It was all build up to a despicable cliffhanger. The deaths weren’t even a surprise anymore given social media spoiled it the minute season 7 started filming.
And I’m not even going to talk about Carl because you articulated everything wrong with what they did. My friend had to tell me about Carl and it was the only episode of the season that I watched because I could not believe they would butcher the already downhill series like that. Carl was the coffin being lowered into the ground but Andrew Lincoln leaving the nail that is keeping it shut. There is no reviving the show from this. No second coming as a reanimated corpse of what the show once was. It is a shame, really.
I first started noticing problems with Beth’s death. It was pure shock value. Her death added nothing to the show. Maggie only remembered her sister in time to mourn for a bit. Daryl continued to grunt, albeit perhaps more sadly. Nothing changed though. It was such an odd choice. Spending so much time on the hospital arc for no meaningful payoff.
It is such a shame that such a must-watch series became what it is now.
Although, the show did provide one of my favourite episodes of television with The Grove. It is just unfortunate that there is no way for the show to regain its former shine at this point.
The walking dead is one of my favorite shows indeed, but as you mentioned it has gone terribly in the wrong direction.
And I believe I had enough of that.
Last season was pretty awful. It felt like a chore to watch, like the joy had been sucked out of the viewing experience. I watched the new season premiere this past weekend just because I feel like I have to stick it out to the end at this point since I’ve been watching from the very beginning, and I was happily surprised. I’m excited to see what the new showrunner has in store for us now that Gimple is out of the picture.
Amen!!!!! You said it all! Frankly, I stopped watching after the stupid writing of (cant recall her name at the moment)- ol girl killing herself in the casket! I mean she went all the way to Negans compound just to kill herself? Really? I was done. Then when I heard tgey killed off Carl, I knew there was no going back! I just read the comics now….Good Job, AMC! You let greed take over, you couldve had a really good show!
I have never watched this serial. Is it worth to see?
It is! This article covers season 1-8; with seasons 1-5 being the very best. Now, we are into season 9 and I must say there have been changes for the better, especially with the new producer of the show. I would recommend you give it a try and if you don’t like it, you are free to stop watching.
A good essay. I know I started to see my interest in following the show as the seasons progressed decline. I do not see my declining interest related to who was left (or was eliminated) or stayed, it is more than that: Some of the character development began to get too philosophical–much too much talk and attempt at thought-provoking conversation. This is a show about zombies and killing zombies and getting away from that to address “building a better society” made episodes seem drawn out.
I agree that some of the character development was completely off the point. For instance, Carl changing his attitude all of a sudden seemed way off his true character. There is only so much you can talk about when it comes to humanity, however interesting, like you said, it is a zombie/walker show.
Carl’s death just didn’t make thematic sense.
I honestly think the series started its steep decline after season 2. After that, it just didn’t feel like there was a strong overarching story. There was way too much filler, and character arcs weren’t as focused on as they should have been. It felt like they were more focused on subverting our expectations than telling a good story. Admittedly, I think the comic books also suffer from this same problem, but that didn’t happen until volume 8 or so.
For anyone interested, I would definitely recommend playing Telltale’s The Walking Dead. As strange as it sounds, the first season of this game is far more compelling, tense, engaging, and emotionally impactful than anything the show has been able to pull off in its entire run. And for those of you who don’t really play games, I would recommend you give this a shot. It’s less of a video game, and more of an interactive movie. I could go on for hours about how the first season of the game elevates the source material, but I’ll refrain. It just shows what potential the show had to be truly groundbreaking.
The Walking Dead was my favorite series ever but they kept going for too long, playing with the fans emotions way too much and killing our favorite characters. I honestly keep watching it just waiting for them to finally settle in a “safe” place but like you, I understand that not everyone in the audience is willing to watch the latest seasons just to find a closure that won’t be the one the fans wanted, with Carl taking over for Rick.
However, I do think the latest seasons shouldn’t discredit the EXCELLENCE of the show in the first seasons. It deserved all the recognition it got in the moment.
Carl’s death was the last straw for me. Glenn’s death left a bad taste in my mouth but, having read the comics, I was willing to keep going just to see how the story played out. Carl’s death, as you discussed above, was highly unnecessary. On top of that, it is detrimental to the narrative that has been created for the last 10 years. Seasons 7 and 8 seem to have a misconception of why people watched the show, choosing to give us action and shocking scenes over truly interesting drama and story lines. Killing-off Carl to create the moral dilemma with Rick is not just bad writing, but it also makes no sense. Carl was all Rick had to live for. He didn’t want to lead Alexandria, he didn’t want to become the bad-ass killer that he did; all he wanted to do was keep Carl safe. Everything else was simply a by-product of trying to achieve that goal. Taking Carl away would be it for him. He would have nothing to live for, nothing to fight for. Not even Michonne and Judith could give him reason to keep going, as Michonne, despite their chemistry, really served to be a new mother figure for Carl and Judith was more of an obligation for Rick, as well as a grim reminder of how his whole life fell apart. Without Carl, these people mean nothing to him and life means nothing to him, and Carl’s melodramatic speech before he died would certainly not be enough to change that.
Yeah seasons 7-8 weren’t fantastic but did have interesting elements that still made the show watchable. The show is still fantastic now with seasons 9-The Final Season, being a fan of the comics makes me question just how the hell they’re going to end it after carls death.
I believe the first six seasons were so praised in its time that some colleges had a courses specifically devoted to the Walking Dead.
Yeah, they were! It’s funny how much the show has changed since I wrote this, and its finale is close by this autumn. A lot of speculation with Rick of course, so it shall be interesting!