This time last year, if it was a late Sunday night, chances are my friends and I would be glued to the television to catch the latest episode in the odyssey of Rick Grimes as he and his fellow survivors tried to traverse the new zombie infested world. For years, the Walking Dead was the show people devoted time to, week after week. I found myself hooked on the idea of watching how the survivors would make it through this dangerous world that has evolved beyond them. We were invested because the show made us ask what we would do in the apocalypse. How would we react if our loved ones were bitten by a zombie, could we kill them, could we make the hard choices? Most importantly, it made us question the human condition: are the zombies the monsters or are we? However, in the last few years viewership has sharply declined as more and more people are finding the once gripping premise becoming stale, uninspired, and honestly boring. This season in particular is when I checked out, as for me it felt as though we were beginning to tread into waters we’ve already traversed within the show’s narrative, being the nature of people and what separates the good from the bad. This is all stuff we’ve dealt with before and with the same characters, who never seem to learn from previous experiences and story motivations. Another big problem are story arcs just dragging on for the sake of the show running longer. The whole Negan War arc has run its course, and the only reason it’s still going is that characters will make silly, inconsistent out of character choices that will usually result in their goals taking a step backward. The final giant problem the show has is what should be the main overall antagonist of the show not even really being any sort of threat anymore.
It’s hard to really care any time a zombie pops up in the show anymore, and these days it’s rare for them appear in the first place. These creatures are supposed to be the main threat, the reason our characters are struggling in this new world, and they been reduced to more of an annoyance than anything else. I get why this is, after so many years eventually you’d find a way around the situation, the threat wouldn’t be a threat anymore once you’ve adapted and learn to live in the world. And once that happened, the most dangerous thing to face would be other humans. It all makes sense from a story perspective, however, it’s just made it less special and more tedious.
Ultimately, the Walking Dead is a show that was unique for its time, but has run its course, and now fights to hold the attention of many of its long time viewers.