Why People Stopped Watching The Walking Dead

Why People Stopped Watching The Walking Dead


When AMC’s The Walking Dead first premiered
on Halloween night in 2010, it felt as if the world stopped turning and television lovers
across the globe turned into zombies themselves — ones hungry for more episodes of the groundbreaking
post-apocalyptic horror series. All anyone could chat about at the work watercooler
was what crazy, amazing, or insane thing happened to Rick Grimes the night before. The gripping action of the series, adapted
from the popular comic books by Robert Kirkman, helped turn The Walking Dead into a must-watch,
right alongside prestige programs like Breaking Bad and Mad Men. In the years since, however, things have taken
a drastic and disheartening turn. “Aw, no! Nooooo!!” The show has never been an awards season darling,
but now ratings have started to slip, as viewers begin to tune out the sheriff’s latest undead
dramas. So, what happened to make The Walking Dead
lose favor with fans? Let’s take a look, but, as always, beware
the spoilers. Squandered characters The Walking Dead has had no shortage of characters
come and go, but there’ve been an unfortunate amount of these newcomers who’ve walked away
completely underdeveloped or been written out just as they got interesting. At the same time, there are also plenty of
others who have been allowed to linger for way too long. Beth Greene hung on long enough to become
a bunch of different people and none all at once. She started out as a boring farm girl who
didn’t say much. Then she became a caretaker to a corpse, which
made her only slightly interesting, but then she got saddled with Daryl as his new confidante-slash-badass
roadie pal. Soon after, she was depicted as some mini-master
of espionage during her stint at the hospital, and let’s just say the arc was far from linear. There’s also the matter of Father Gabriel
Stokes, the priest who seems to do little more than sit on a high horse and repeatedly
backstab his brethren. He might’ve served a purpose in earlier seasons,
but, like Beth, the writers seemed to struggle with what to do with him. Then there are characters who are interesting
but get taken out far too soon, like T-Dog, Noah, and Dr. Denise. Their demises leave little impact on viewers
because we haven’t time to care about them. “And if you don’t wake … up.” Meanwhile, the loss of those who’ve overstayed
their welcome can bring a sense of relief, rather than sadness. In other words, the show has had a hard time
making fans even care about its most dramatic moments anymore, which means they’ve had to
resort to cheap mind games to keep people interested. Getting whiplash To help increase the show’s hype, the series
has intentionally tricked its audience in rather infuriating ways. In season 6, the creatives crafted a plot
purposely meant to trick everyone into believing that Glenn had been eaten alive by zombies. Using sneaky camera angles and close-up shots,
the show made it appear as though Glenn’s guts really were getting pulled out of his
body as he screamed in agony. In reality, though, it was a corpse whose
insides were spilling everywhere and Glenn was just near it. After a few episodes, it was revealed that
he easily escaped that brush with the beyond. But the “gotcha!” moment was seen as a cheap
trick and part of a growing troop of TV characters who’ve been killed off, only to miraculously
return within the span of a few episodes. The showrunners didn’t learn their lesson
there, either. Something similar happened in the penultimate
episode of season six, when Daryl is shot and blood speckles the screen. Of course, it was all just deliberate misdirection. Then, The Walking Dead pulled one over on
viewers the very next episode by showing Negan smashing someone’s skull in, but not revealing
who it was. Viewers were left to spend all summer debating
who was on the receiving end based on the camera angles, the comic’s version of the
scene, casting calls from the set, and more. And then when the answer was revealed, well,
it was even crueler than anyone could’ve expected. Meeting Lucille Fans familiar with Robert Kirkman’s comics
were equally excited and nervous about Negan’s arrival at the tail end of Season 6. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was a spot-on casting
choice, and his ability to sling four-letter words and his trusty, barbed bat Lucille were
second to none. But his arrival also meant that some fan-favorite
characters were about to get the ax, and when the seventh season returned in the fall of
2016, that’s exactly what happened. But even though fans were fully braced for
carnage, well, the sight of it playing out on-screen was still too much for some audiences
to take. In addition to taking out fan-favorite Glenn
Rhee, after having just given him a mulligan at life a few episodes before, Negan’s bat
also laid waste to fan-favorite Abraham as well. Both slayings were built of equal brutality
and disregard for the sensitivities of their friends and family or the audiences at home. Viewers who’d already been on the fence about
sticking with the series used this opportunity to call it quits for good, citing the excess
violence and dislike for Negan, among other complaints. For a show that was built on gore, this single
scene seemed to be simply too much for its fan base to bear. And they were probably right to tune out at
that point of grimness considering what would come next … Heart of darkness The Walking Dead has always hit hard with
misery, gore, and all things grim — and that’s to be expected from a series of its
genre: sliced-up limbs, open wounds, decomposing corpses, blood, and guts are the stock stuff
of a post-apocalyptic horror show. Violence and viscera are just the name of
the game. But after Negan and his not-so-merry band
of Saviors came to town, The Walking Dead experienced a dramatic shift in tone. No longer did it feel like a cautionary tale,
a series exploring the intricacies of existence and the darkness of human nature; it became
something that takes pleasure in causing pain, transforming into physical and emotional torture. Sure, brutality can be brushed aside when
it’s justified and balanced with some beautiful moments, but when an already-dark series zeroes
in on just how sociopathic its central villain is, the cynical attitude and malevolent tone
can be too much to take. Losing focus One of the biggest problems with The Walking
Dead now is that despite the show’s title, there’s very little focus on the undead anymore. Michonne’s badass samurai slayings and shots
of Daryl’s innovative maiming tactics have been reduced significantly. Instead, the show spends an inordinate amount
of time with the characters talking about their feelings and plans to take out other
humans. In its infancy, the series was the pinnacle
of what post-apocalyptic storytelling should look and feel like, and there was a clear
central focus: Rick and the gang needed to outsmart the zombies and survive long enough
to see a world without them roaming about, and they would sacrifice things they loved
to accomplish that. Now, the crew is almost exclusively threatened
by insane human villains, and the premise that the show once held — fighting the titular
walking dead — has all but vanished. Meanwhile, the show has also had a hard time
keeping things fresh from season to season. In the beginning, the creatives weren’t afraid
to branch out and make up their own characters to spice things up. Consider the fact that Daryl and his brother
Merle weren’t even part of Robert Kirkman’s comics, and yet, they were among the most
interesting characters to ever grace the show. Nowadays, though, the series seems to be simply
cycling through the villains and major wars contained in the comics, and even those creative
liberties they do take tend to be a bit formulaic. Most fans can probably predict what each will
do and how each episode will play out. Rick Grimes will lead his people to some kind
of temporary safety, but then all hell will break loose. Someone will get attacked or go haywire and
pass away. The group will mourn and move on, but then
the same thing will happen at their next hideout. Rinse and repeat. Fans can only be expected to endure that kind
of repetition for so long. Tough competition When The Walking Dead first debuted, it was
one of a kind in ushering in the zombie craze. Since then, though, even devout Walking Dead
fans have turned to other programs to get their undead fill. Shows like The CW’s iZombie and Syfy’s Z-Nation
are having a markedly better time because they’ve opted not to go too grim, the way
The Walking Dead has. Zombies are supposed to be at least a little
fun when they’re not completely frightening, but The Walking Dead has always been more
about emotionally affecting drama than the more lighthearted or action-oriented entries
in the genre. A better balance of moods could have gone
a long way toward hanging onto the longtime fans who’ve stopped watching, but eight seasons
in, the show is as dark and dreary as it’s ever been, and some fans have just had enough. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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