The Downfall of The Walking Dead

by Yo Adrian on April 28th, 2018 | |

The Walking Dead, the Zombie genre show that appropriately premiered on October 31st, 2010 was an instant success. All anyone could talk about was the exploits of the surviving pack of humans lead by Rick Grimes. It came at the perfect time in the zombie craze to put more fuel on the fire and it started its own momentum with a talk show that followed up the new episodes and the more recent spin-off show: Fear the Walking Dead. The Walking Dead was never a critical success and has never been a true awards contender, but its ratings were strong and anyone looking for strong action could tune in. In more recent season though, the hype has been slagging off in the rating department, which is really all the show has. The brilliant movie minds at Looper produced the video below to explore some reasons for the rating slippage.

The wasting of good characters has always been a thorn in the show’s side. As a sprawling series, it would have been tough not to introduce many characters and eventually retire old ones, but too many of those who were retired never became developed in their own right or worse, others were just on the cusp of becoming interesting. The worst option is when these kinds of characters would simply hang around for much too long, never developing or attaching themselves to the audience. Beth Green and Father Gabriel Stokes were two characters who might have been interesting enough in their early seasons, but who the writers eventually forgot about and they played whatever role the writers had left over for the season or episode. T-Dog, Noah, and Doctor Denise were characters who came to the opposite problem. They were interesting and prime for development but were quickly killed off instead. As a result, much of the character deaths are not as impactful as the writers might hope for because we either don’t know them well enough, or we’re glad to see them go.

In an attempt to heighten the shows drama and keep people guessing The Walking Dead has tricked viewers multiples times with fake-out deaths or cliffhangers with unsatisfying conclusions. This has happened multiple times with audience favorites where the end of end episode with make viewers believe the character has surely died, only for them to be ultimately okay in the very next episode. This sort of writing, especially in genre shows like Supernatural or Game of Thrones has become repetitive and elects an eye roll from those tuning in. The worst result of one of these cliffhangers though has to be Negan’s mystery victim from the season 6 finale. Fans of the show were left to wait all summer for an answer as to who Negan killed.

The Downfall of The Walking Dead at All HorrorTweet it

The answer to that mystery ended up being the final straw for a lot of people. While many fans of the original graphic novels were excited to finally meet the evil Negan and his trusty barbed-wire wrapped bat, Lucille, it also meant the impending deaths of some favorite characters.  And when that time came, it proved to be too much for some. The sudden death of two favored characters was as brutal and harsh as Negan himself, with zero regard for the other characters feelings or the audience’s feelings.  Many of the fans who were already on-the-fence about the show jumped ship because of the gore and misery that they felt had become too much.

While the show is meant to be horror and gore, the lighter elements just weren’t felt anymore and it only got worse from then on. Instead of being a show about the possible darkness in humanity it became about showcasing the depravity and misery, especially where their main villain Negan was concerned. This focus has also come to the detriment of the walking dead themselves. No longer is the show about surviving zombies, instead, they feel like an afterthought and the focus of danger and resistance has become human.

The show is also no longer the only zombie show on TV. iZombie, Z Nation, and Santa Clarita Diet are all shows with increased mirth and more dynamic and interesting plots rather than the now repetitious and hopeless apocalypse story. And The Walking Dead’s individual season-long stories have been come repetitious themselves. It’s always a human group which threatens their safety after they think they’ve found a safe place to stay. Instead of creating and nurturing new stories or characters, different from the graphic novels, they retread the same path, making it easy for fans to guess where the show is headed and meaning plenty of viewers will stop making an effort to tune-in.

Founder and Executive Director of all things Horrific at AllHorror.com (Ok, actually I’m just a guy who watches way too many horror movies. It’s unhealthy, really).

All Horror – Discover new horror movies, create and share your own horror movie lists and curate watchlists from thousands of titles, new and old.

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