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Why I stopped watching The Walking Dead
By Bert Ehrmann
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Fort Wayne Reader
I've watched every season of the TV series The Walking Dead (TWD) since it premiered on AMC back in 2010. It was a series I couldn't quite believe was being made because a) it was a horror series that was b) on a non-pay cable channel that was c) about zombies and d) quite gory as well plus e) was being headed by one of my favorite writer/directors Frank Darabont.
It's almost as if TWD was made for me personally.
And it was exactly because all of this that I didn't think TWD would last too long. I couldn't imagine the general public latching onto a horror series that sometimes literally focused on blood'n'guts. But I was totally wrong. Not only was the TWD good, it did VERY well in the ratings too.
The first signs of trouble for me with TWD came with the second season of the show. From the start Darabont had cast the show and set the look and direction of TWD but was unexpectedly fired from the series just after the start of production on the second season. Which was odd since why would such a key person like Darabont be let go at all?
Regardless, TWD only got bigger in its second season, gobbling up more viewers and more critical acclaim. Except that second season of the show wasn't nearly as interesting as the first. At the time I stood by the show arguing that it would be a mistake for TWD to be all zombies and gore all the time. But looking back now I'd say that the second season of the show with the story taking place mostly on a farm was slow and at times boring.
Things improved a bit in the third season where the group found shelter in an abandoned prison. But after a while with the characters safe inside the fortified walls the story got a bit stale and a villain, the Governor, was introduced to shake things up a bit. What's the Governor's motivation for being so mean, for wanting to destroy the prison and obliterate the group?
Well, that's never quite clear -- but shut-up already the dude's got a tank and an eye patch and a wall full of zombie heads in aquariums, motivation be damned!
Why have I given up on TWD now? Part of problem as I see is that after four seasons the show hasn't changed all that much. Sure, some old characters are gone and new ones are introduced but even then the new characters aren't that much different than what's come before. It also bugs me how the zombies of the show are used. When the story's getting a little too slow, zombies appear. Sometimes the zombies are loud, sometimes they are quiet. Sometimes there are many, sometimes they are few. The terms of the story dictate how the zombies act and that's been grating on me for some time now.
In the first season the zombies had some personality. They'd be found sitting on buses or sometimes used rocks to try and break into places almost like they still had some shadow memories of their past lives. They were characters with weird sorts of personalities. Now they're merely plot devices to keep the story moving forward.
Why I finally gave up on TWD after last season was that I just couldn't see how the show was going to change or evolve as the series went on. It seemed to me that each season of the show had the group finding a refuge only to discover that this refuge was really a dangerous mirage eventually forcing them out into the wilds of the zombieverse.
And honestly, I get the sense that this is how the show will play out season after season until it eventually ends. "We're safe here! Oh wait, no we're not! Oh no, we need to run away! John Smith and Joan Smith have been killed! RUN! What's that over there? A safe haven? We're safe here!" Repeat.
It doesn't help matters that TWD comic creator and series executive-producer Robert Kirkman has said that he doesn't see the series ending. Ever. So, in Kirkman's TWD universe the zombies will never rot away and the characters there will never find safety and will always be on the run.
Which is interesting for a while, but after four seasons is too repetitive/boring for me. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Visit me online at DangerousUniverse.com.