Jeff Gould is back with another Unpopular Opinion, and it comes on the eve of The Walking Dead’s return this week!
This is an emergency alert for all The Walking Dead fans out there: your show has lost its touch. The ship is going down, and all of you are still swaying on the dance floor like everything is just dandy. Jump off and join those of us who lost hope in this show a long time ago…we’re waiting in the lifeboats, watching from afar. All analogies aside, if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead and still haven’t stopped watching, let’s consider the 5 main reasons why everyone else has already jumped off of the bandwagon…and maybe you should too.
Let’s see if you’ve heard this one before: the group is lost and in peril…in their most dire time of need, they find refuge in a seemingly perfect new community…uh oh, all of a sudden that new community doesn’t seem so perfect…a bunch of people die…and the group is lost and in peril again (Repeat as often as possible). Sound familiar? That’s because every single season of The Walking Dead follows the same rudimentary story arc as the last one. Sure, when the show first started it felt fresh and exciting and new…but when the same characters keep enduring the same situations and the same problems over and over again, it just gets super old and boring after a while. Have these characters honestly learned nothing?
When your show is in its sixth season and there have only been maybe 2 or 3 legitimately believable, steamy romances…you’re lacking something. Hey, we get it…The Walking Dead is a horror show at heart and shouldn’t be held to the confines of other genres. But there’s something to be said about shows that are lacking in the relationships department. And before you get all upset and start throwing out random relationships that have taken place on the show, consider whether or not said relationships actually lasted more than one season. It’s hard isnt it? Whether you hate them or not, a good romance story that stretches over more than 1 or 2 seasons is what keeps viewers invested. Glenn/Maggie and Rick/Laurie/Shane are the only legitimate relationships that have really ever passed that test…and even those have their issues.
3. Bland Supporting Characters
When The Walking Dead first started, nearly every player had an extensive background and characteristics. But as characters started to die, apparently so did the writers’ imaginations. Obviously those characters with the most thorough and developed backgrounds are the ones who survive the longest…which means all of the new characters who are put on the chopping block suffer the consequences. The writers either have far too little time to develop side characters, or they simply don’t invest the attention and effort into them because they know they have an expiration date. This leads us directly into reason number 4 on the list.
4. Obvious Character Deaths
Remember when the show was actually shocking? Crazy, I know. Seems so long ago. Say what you will, but the past few seasons of The Walking Dead have been such rehashes of past scenarios, it is really no surprise when a character gets the axe. Fans might trick themselves into being shocked, but any outside viewer can see it coming from a mile away. Don’t even get me started on the “Rule of Only One Black Guy”. What’s the “Rule of Only One Black Guy”, you ask? Well, it shouldn’t be news to you but if you take a gander back throughout every season of the show, you’ll find that when a new African American male joins the ranks of the group, the previous black male character is killed off within a few episodes, if not immediately. T-Dog, Tyrese, and several others received their death sentences using this theory. For a show that’s based in Atlanta, there seems to be far too many white folks. Note, this strategy somehow doesn’t apply to black women, which is interesting. But with two African-American male characters in the current season 6 mix, if you want to put money on who might be going next…I’d say bet on black.
You want to know what makes a show truly great? It’s not the individual storylines or the small character arcs or even the little moments that make it stand out. It’s the way the show starts and how it finishes. It’s the feeling seeing a character find what they were looking for, or fail to find what they were looki for in some cases. When you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it makes you savor the moments in between just a little bit more. With Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and even with the inevitably guaranteed finale of Game of Thrones, the ominous fact that a series finale is looming in the distance makes these shows all the more worth enjoying. With The Walking Dead, there is seemingly no end in sight. The comics are still ongoing, the actors seemingly don’t have any desire to leave the show for reasons I honestly don’t understand (in what way does humid Atlanta sound more appealing than sunny Hollywood or literally any other city for that matter?), and there is a severe lack of hope when it comes to the characters ever actually making it out of this show alive. Why would something be worth investing in if there was never a time to cash out? These characters that you’ve invested so many hours in are either going to die, or just go on living an eternity in hell until you either give up or just lose interest. Sounds lovely…
So what do you think? If you’re such a huge fan of The Walking Dead, why do you keep watching? Is there something that keeps you coming back for more? For a growing number of us, those reasons are dwindling or already gone. In the end, it’s your choice whether to watch it or not, but consider these reasons when you do.