Saim Cheeda is an entertainment writer whose work can be found across numerous publications.
The Walking Dead will have been on-air for nine years by 2019, when the current season will see its end. Within this time, the show’s seen a meteoric rise to the top, followed by a gradual decline to lower depths.
It was always going to be a tall task to maintain fan interest for comic book material that doesn’t show any signs of stopping. The TV series' dabbling with creativity variations have reaped more bad than good lately.
There are calls for The Walking Dead to end; the show's experiencing a state of such uncertainty that staying on-air will only mean further mud splashed at its legacy.
An end to the series isn’t something AMC is too crazy about seeing that The Walking Dead’s still the highest-rated show on cable by a fair distance. However, it should end for a variety of reasons.
The Leads Are Leaving
Any other show would’ve pulled the plug by now, but The Walking Dead insists upon itself to ‘complete the story’. The trouble with this approach is there’s hardly anyone left for us to care about.
Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan have both confirmed their exits.
With the harebrained decision to let go of Chandler Riggs in Season 8, The Walking Dead has no central character to fall back on; one that viewers would’ve accepted as the new protagonist.
Clearly, the grueling hours spent in the Arizona sun has taken its toll upon the lead stars. The Walking Dead’s big paycheck doesn’t carry the same weight it did once for these actors; they’re moving onto better things and characters with more range.
The Characters Have Grown Stale
A few years ago, the very mention of Daryl’s rumored demise would bring out raging fans chanting “If Daryl Dies We Riot”, fast-forward to today and Daryl’s exit won’t evoke much of a response.
The guy barely ever speaks, and when he does, it’s too boring to engage.
Daryl’s charm had been his penchant to stay in the back but demonstrate his loyalties when the time called for it. He usually broke the tension, or made himself notorious, for wisecracks that showed his development from a racist redneck to a committed friend.
Now, however, a monumental shift is required in his character to entertain us after Rick’s departure.
Similarly, Carol’s time’s up as well. She was too violent by Season 6, with many fans put off by her bloodthirsty antics. Remarkably, Season 7 ruined her further by giving us a sedate Carol who was absent for more than half of the season.
Her interactions with Morgan had given her a lease in significance for Season 8, but once Morgan moved on to his personal story, Carol fell to obscurity again.
Apart from Negan, there’s no one left to maintain the fans’ hype level because they’re all simply too stale for us to care.
The Upcoming Storyline Sucks
The story following Negan’s defeat took a needlessly convoluted turn in the comics. Without giving too much away for TV fans, the plot involves a group called the Whisperers, who look to take down Alexandria while disguising themselves with Walker skin.
The comics played out a story where Carl falls in love with the daughter of the Whisperers’ leader, Alpha; this, of course, can’t happen at all in the show.
Before you know it, the plot dilly-dallies between the threat of the Walkers and the reappearance of the Whisperers, only to randomly throw in a governmental organization that has intentions of its own.
There’s not much to look forward to if the show goes down the route of the comics. The best times of the story died out long ago, but it doesn’t seem likely the comic will end anytime soon.
The Show Is Past Its Prime
That momentum The Walking Dead had in its favor can’t return. Around Season 5, the adrenaline pumping twists and turns with Rick and co. was the zenith the show achieved.
Ratings have taken a massive tumble; Season 5’s premiere raked in over 17 million viewers, while Season 8’s premiere brought in just over 11 million – a 6 million viewership loss. The mid-season episodes see worse numbers with Season 8 episodes regularly clocking in only about 6-7 million viewers, a far cry from its heyday when 13-14 million viewership was the norm.
Fear The Walking Dead Is Better
The spin-off has seen a change in direction itself. Morgan Jones’ psyche is better explored on Fear the Walking Dead, and his friendship with the new group is a superb work-in-progress.
Fear has taken the nomadic approach The Walking Dead had perfected around Season 4-5.
Restricted to one location, such as Alexandria, has caused the main series to lose its fear factor-it feels more like a family drama. Fear has fans guessing at every turn, and with a smaller, more intimate set of characters, we’re compelled to learn more about this dysfunctional surrogate family.
It Should End Gracefully
The Walking Dead should take a page out Game of Thrones’ book for this one; the latter has made it clear for years it would end in due course.
Game of Thrones also maintains a smaller episode count in order to play out quality content free of filler episodes. The Walking Dead seems to live on fillers, with most of the 16 episodes of the season dragging for no apparent reason.
The Walking Dead still has a sizable audience, but as the ratings have made abundantly clear, the fans’ patience is running thin. Social media posts reveal the frustration with the lackluster storytelling of the show.
A season of quality material should end the series on a high note so fans remember it for the good times rather than the bad.
Scooby5 on November 08, 2018:
The series as well as the comic have ripped off many of my ideas that I posted years ago. The Commonwealth is a direct copy of my NANO: North American New Order. This was from my series: Children of the Walking Dead, set 400 years in the future of the comic and series. In my write up of a year's scripts for: Fear the Walking Dead, I had a plot where Nick and the group are able to flee past Phoenix by setting the zombies on fire, resulting in a zombie fire falls as in Rick's departure and the burning zombies falling off the bridge.
Saim Cheeda (author) from Karachi on October 12, 2018:
They might deviate from the comic storyline (which I really hope they do), but with Rick leaving I'm not sure what the draw will be.
Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on October 11, 2018:
I don't know... I've loved the show, I keep hoping it will get better.