Why I’m (Finally) Giving Up on ‘The Walking Dead’

Lately, AMC’s The Walking Dead really sucks. The ratings are continuing to fall and the audience has begun to shrink. The show is beginning to stumble. Why?

[Spoilers ahead.]

Image courtesy of AMC.com

Yes, I said what everyone’s been thinking: The Walking Dead sucks. Here’s why.

First, it has a problem of playing with the audience’s emotions. A long-running show like The Walking Dead has a pretty big and dedicated fan base, so why tarnish a good reputation? A specific example that is always mentioned is Glenn’s “death” in Season 6, where the show went as far as removing the actor’s name in the title sequence just to f*ck with the audience and let the theories intertwine and coalesce.

Second, the show has a major issue with pacing and plot. I started watching The Walking Dead way back when it first aired in 2010 because it was interesting, creative, and emotionally driven. Of course the show is still emotionally driven — but I think that lately the show-runners rely to heavily on this concept. And this is what really bugs me.

Image courtesy of AMC.com
The Walking Dead’s hamartia truly is its pacing issue.

The show has become almost formulaic and predictable, which is why I now refuse to watch it, regardless of it’s compelling story and character arcs. Once the shows current season catches up, it halts the story arc to a screeching halt — just so we can dive into the specifics of certain characters. The show dedicates specific episodes entirely to one or two characters. This, mind you, is often directly in the middle of a compelling storyline. Episode examples include 06–14 (“Twice As Far”), 07–02 (“The Well”), and 07–06 (“Swear”).

Of course, the counterargument here is that “the characters need to be fleshed out!” or, “the storyline needs to be set up first!” or something along those lines. And I totally understand where these opinions are coming from. But I took a look back at the series’ overall arc, and I noticed the pacing problem starting in the latter half of the series, only continuing by each incoming season. Just when I thought Season 2 or Season 5 was boring, I was despairingly introduced to Season 7.

And it seems to just keep declining from here.

Again, I totally understand that the characters need to connect with the audience. The show has so many (too many?) characters that it wouldn’t be possible to flesh them all out relatively evenly — except it would. Try Game of Thrones, for instance. I just started GoT (I know, I’m one of the only humans left to have not watched it) and have realized that, although the amount of cast members is also just as massive (and growing), it does the story and characters justice by not having one outweigh the other. Spoilers aside, I can attest that Game of Thrones takes its time developing character arcs: always introducing new characters and story arc climaxes without devoting entire episodes to one or the other.

Unfortunately, I lost all hope for the Dead. Of course, I don’t doubt that the show will continue — according to one Forbes article, it could easily last for years upon years with its current pace through the comic book series that its based on. But, after an exhaustingly boring sixth season and a infuriating cliffhanger, I all but lost hope.

Image courtesy of AMC.com

Yet strangely enough, I kept watching. I guess after binge-watching a television show for so long, you get attached to its story and its characters — which is one thing I think The Walking Dead succeeds in doing: making us feel connected, optimistic, excited, and hopeful. (Well, with so many episodes devoted to individual characters, you sure would hope that you’d be connected to a character or two.)

…Alright, maybe not hopeful anymore. At least for me, anyways — the show, on the other hand, has a seventh season marketing campaign that says otherwise.