The Walking Dead: 10 Ways To Make The Show Great Again
AMC’s The Walking Dead is the highest-rated show on television. It has successfully transitioned from a popular comic book series into a mega-hit television show that’s not only tapped into America’s $6 billion dollar zombie industry, but also helped it grow in meteoric fashion. The popularity of the show has galvanized the movie industry into producing zombie films such as World War Z and Warm Bodies, just to name a couple. It’s even reported that The Walking Dead will feature a spin-off in 2015, featuring a new cast of characters dealing with the apocalypse in a different part of the globe. Its success is undeniable.
Oh, and it used to be a pretty great show too.
The biggest issue with television popularity is that it often shifts the focus from meaningful, artful television, to placating the masses in order to sustain its momentum. Zombies (or walkers, whatever you prefer) sell, and I get that. But when this show first began, it was hardly a show about zombies at all. It was about the human struggle in a post-apocalyptic environment, and mankind’s attempt to retain control of its own humanity in spite of a world that did everything to undermine it. Nothing will show who people really are better than stripping away the societal safety nets that we all currently enjoy. The Walking Dead did this to perfection in the first couple seasons, testing our favorite characters resolve and morality, time and time again. We struggled through the dark moments, rejoiced during the occasional respite for our favourite survivors, and learned more about each one as the layers of their collective pasts were carefully, brilliantly peeled back. It never insulted us with nonsensical or repeating storylines, the world they lived in made sense, and their actions seemed reasonable. The show had us in its grasp before we even knew we were hooked.
But then something happened.
Storylines took weird and abrupt turns. Characters behaved, well, out of character. We watched some storylines repeat, we saw the walkers become nothing more than fragile ornaments, and we got the distinct impression that just about everyone not associated with Rick’s band of survivors is a bloodthirsty lunatic, hell-bent on murdering them. Soon, the things we once loved about the show—the reason we tuned in each week—were supplanted with predictable storylines and eye-rolling moments.
So what happened?
I plan to answer that, and more, by examining ten changes The Walking Dead needs to make the show great again. This is by no means a comprehensive, all-inclusive list. In fact, I invite you to comment and share any thoughts not mentioned. But for now, here’s my list.