I have been a fan of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ since it first aired in the United Kingdom all the way back in 2010. For the past eight years it has been providing us with all the zombie kill of the weeks as well as a few character deaths that have shaken viewers and divided fans.
Though after eight years and with another on its way this coming Autumn we are left wondering how much more this show can deliver. Throughout the first four seasons the show does a clever job in showing that there seems to be little to no hope for the characters as every sign for hope just led to death and more misery. The Centre for Disease Control exploded, the farm was overrun with walkers, the Governor was a thing, the prison was overrun with walkers and everyone had to split up and so on so forth. As viewers, it is difficult to see how this will end nicely, though I can not help but feel that if Rick were to die than the show would naturally just fade in to the darkness with him. After all he was our point of view in to the show at the beginning and we do seem to be following him as a ‘main character’ out of the ensemble cast of players.
The graphic novels that the show is based on has around 180 issues, some are awaiting publishing later this year. While the show does not follow the plot lines and narrative of the graphic novels that closely we can see overlaps and it is often down to die hard fans to speculate and question when and with what aspects the two will merge.
As a franchise series ‘The Walking Dead’ has a lot of room for exploring the world it has created. It already has one spin off ‘Fear The Walking Dead’, which unlike the original series set in Georgia follows a group of survivors in California. My biggest pet peeve with the spin off was that we were promised to see the outbreak happen – which we did, despite it only lasted for like half an episode and was quite lack-lustre overall. The show runners and fans have always been open to see the universe of the show expanded and delved into more. Personally I would love to see people surviving in the North Western states like Washington or Alaska – or perhaps it is an international outbreak. What is the rest of the world like following the fall of America?
There are many ways to create short run series that look into all of these different ideas and narrative strands. Perhaps the show could have worked better with an anthology set up similar to that of ‘American Horror Story’, each season focusing on a different group of survivors in a different place and in turn their own struggles which could differ group to group. However I would argue that the system of ‘American Horror Story’ recycling cast members would not work necessarily with this idea of ‘The Walking Dead’. They could have done it so each group met up with other groups previously seen on the show, leading to the culmination of tensions between two large groups that we had seen come together over a period of time.
At least this way you would actually grow to care for the individuals in the large groups and they would still be able to have quite a large number of people to kill off. An issue I find with the show, as it has run so far, is that you are often introduced to new characters with no real compassion toward them. Only after six episodes and learning their sad back story do you start to warm to them only for them to become the next zombie meal or just murdered by a rival group member (i.e. Hershel).
In the latest season of ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ we have seen a crossover with the main show in the form of the character of Morgan. If this is to happen more and more frequently I feel as though the show runners could really deal with addressing the wider universe reaches if the naturally path of this two separate shows is to bleed into one another.
While I, like most of the world in 2010, loved to see a zombie apocalypse ensue the planet and follow a good cop try to keep world order while also having to survive in a ‘new and dangerous landscape’ I fear it has all become a bit tedious. I am just unsure on how a series like this ends, which is not helped by the series creator and executive producer admitting that they too have no idea how the show will close. Yet ‘The Walking Dead’s viewing figures are still pretty high with a strong and dedicated fan base, so why must it end really? Well because all good things should. Look at any long running television series and you can see where the cracks start to show up. ‘Lost’ springs to mind here as the show dragged viewers through years of torment and questioning only to lose half of them by the time the show wrapped.
It may be time to call it a day with ‘The Walking Dead’ and stop trying to flog the preverbal dead horse. Any show that deals with the end of the world as we know it has a lot it can try and do to explore how humanity would go about surviving the final days. Furthermore we seem to be seeing a lack of horror elements regarding the actual walkers within the show itself. Recent seasons seem to be focusing on how terrible humans can be; resorting to cannibalism or straight up bludgeoning people to death with a baseball bat. By taking this step back from the zombie horror of the previous seasons I personally feel that the show seems to lack a certain quality that it started with.
Hopefully the show runners will, when they decide to, give the characters and the story and decent ending. I am not looking for a ‘everyone-lives-happily-ever-after’ but perhaps they realise that the true power of friendship and humanity was in them all along. Perhaps all that they had to do was look deep within themselves. However it does decide to drop the curtain the fans will definitely have a few things to say about it either way.
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