Not sure if any of you have heard, but The Walking dead has lost nearly HALF of its viewers over the last few weeks and it has some folks over at AMC running in circles, freaking out, and has some fans of the usually awesome show curious as to why people are turning away from this show they have been so dedicated to for the past six years. The truth is, if you lay it all out side by side and look at it longitudinally, this dip actually makes a great deal of sense. A sort of perfect storm of things going wrong at the right time. But there are also some solid reasons that really do shine more light on this massive loss of viewers.
First, we start with the obvious….
Westworld Has Stolen Its Thunder
Westworld it an utterly brilliant show with so many layers to it, as soon as you peel one another reveals itself. It is also brand new to the world, on HBO (so you know it is genius), and has some really interesting takes on where A.I just might go in the future, with some awesome and talented people behind the wheel of this wickedly popular show (even though we are still only in season one).
So seeing as to how Walking Dead and Westworld have a tendency of airing at the same time and day, the simple fact is, people may have just jumped ship from one world filled with evil things (walkers) to another filled with evil things (sentient A.I and horrible C.E.O’s) but I would be lying if I were to pretend Westworld is not top notch TV right now. The casting was perfect (Hopkins is a brilliant menace on this show, like some sort of Heisenberg with a God complex) and it is fresh enough that it turns heads.
Walking Dead Feels Like It Has No Endgame in Mind
The problem here is, by now this far into the show, it is quite easy to bust down the formula of how the show works. Gang gets to new place. People pretend to be good. End up being bad (or if good, end up being raided and killed by bad guys). Gang takes a loss (usually B character, saving A character’s deaths for very few and far between moments) and then gang moves on to the new place where same thing happens. It is not that the show is poorly written by any means. I just think once you become so formulaic, it tends to turn people away.
So how about a little actual PROGRESS on the show? Like, no one has even mentioned walkers all season or a cure or any of that. It almost feels like the show has taken a back seat from itself. We get it, humans are the monsters now. Thing is, fans have known that for a long time. How about some more people looking into why this virus exists and what they can do to try and stop it?
A boat ride is nice, but when the boat ride goes on forever and has no planned destination, you eventually get seasick, and the Walking Dead writers need to know that. Another thing that may have really fucked up some viewers and turned them away this season could be…
That Brutal Season Opener
Make no mistakes here. I, for one, loved the season opener of Walking Dead this year. The mental and physical damage that Negan did to the group was without par on this show. It was like the Red Wedding, just blood everywhere with people we love falling left and right.
Even though fans know what they are tuning in for doesn’t make the impact (pun intended) of it any easier to take. When Negan killed Ginger, we kinda knew that would happen and though he was a cool character who finally found happiness, we all knew he went out how he would want to go out. Like a man and taking one for the team so they didn’t have to.
But then Daryl had to get all “rage mode” and also cause the very violent and hard to watch death of Glenn while he cried out for his pregnant wife, who was on her knees watching this happen, inches away. It was BRUTAL TV and that, matched with the slow dehumanization of Daryl over the last few weeks, may have just finally gotten to the point where the show is just too dark and our real lives are too dark as well. And while we may not be able to turn off our real lives, some people can walk away from the show and turn THAT off, and that could be the case here as well.
Hell, you watch enough characters you love die in close proximity, it can be pretty depressing.
That Lame “Girl Island” Episode
The actual name of the episode was swear, but let me tell you, a whole episode devoted to Tara was really not a smart idea. Not insulting her character at all, but as far as carrying an entire episode, she just didn’t have what it took, and to then throw her in some random, Amazonian forestland populated by only women all felt a little, well, cheesy to be honest. This is not a gender issue at all. It was just a little try-hard. They suddenly made Tara a hilarious character for no reason who is always making timely and spot on quips, which is not a trait I really recall for that character.
On top of that, the more interesting character of the two, Heath, gets five minutes of screen time and an implied (but not certain) death. It just was a very weak couple episodes in the last few weeks, and the ratings have reflected that.
So What Is Next for TWD?
Like stated above, any of these factors or all of these factors could be part of why Walking Dead fans have started walking away, but we really have no solid way of knowing. The curious part will be to see if the traffic picks back up over the course of the season or is AMC’s The Walking Dead about to become a walker itself?
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