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Why AMC's The Walking Dead is worth watching again

by James Walters. Published Mon 18 Nov 2019 12:42
[AMC©, Fox©, Image  Source: Atlanta Magazine]
[AMC©, Fox©, Image Source: Atlanta Magazine]

Let’s be honest, The Walking Dead used to be one of the best shows on TV. Based on a hit comic book series of the same name, AMC’s The Walking Dead had fans, both casual and hardcore, gripped for many years and for many seasons, myself included.

Although I wouldn’t have considered myself a hardcore fan by any stretch; I dropped off around the end of season 4. It was only when I met my current partner that I watched it from scratch again and continued on until the most recent season which, at that time, was season 7. From the Governor to meeting Negan and beyond, the show kept people invested with its characters, plot and the most surreal gore I’ve seen on TV.

But then “All Out War” happened, otherwise known as season 8.

The hyped up “war” between the communities under our main cast of characters vs. Negan and the Saviours, even people who hadn’t stuck with the series knew that this was gonna be a great season to watch… but then it wasn’t. What we got was more of an “All out spat” than a war and the season reviews and views reflected this. Now, perhaps I’m wrong and the show died even before that, but I’d argue the show got a whole lot more compelling and intense once we heard Jeffery Dean Morgan walk out of that camper van whistling that tune which sends chills down our spines to this day.

Negan wasn’t just another Governor or group of cannibals; he was a genuine threat with soldiers and resources seemingly everywhere. Not just a “villain of the season” but something that presented a real struggle to how our group had come to know life in the apocalypse. Making the build up to the fight for survival all the more exciting… and all the more disappointing when it flopped.

Looking after that season, both season 9 and 10 have had record lows in viewer count in their
premier episodes and midseason premiers. Each episode released, while enjoyed by the most die-
hard of fans, still was nowhere near drawing in the same number of viewers it once did. Which is a
real shame as the show has really gone in a new, and more horror focused direction like in days of
old.

Season 9 took place a year and a half after season 8 finished, the real intrigue was looking at how the communities moved forward with their lives after the Saviours war. Rick was pushing These trio of characters keep long term fans connected, even just a little forward as best he could with Carl’s vision of a new life of peace in the apocalypse, Maggie focused on keeping Hilltop in one piece but couldn’t accept the fact Negan lived and Oceanside… just kept being Oceanside really.

Although the first half of season 9 was very tame and forgettable, only when the two parter that was Rick Grime’s exit from the show did we get any real sense of stakes again. Finishing out the end of the first half gave us another time jump, this time of 6 years. It’s in its second half that it really began to take a turn for the better because that was when we met The Whisperers.

Fans of the comics will known the name ‘The Whisperers’ but for those who don’t; they’re a cult that has formed in the world of The Walking Dead, they live out in the wild like animals, they hide among the walkers by wearing their faces and guiding them in herds wherever they please. Their leader, Alpha, is as sadistic as she is deranged and her second in command, Beta, is a force to be reckoned with.

It began slowly, as all good horror movie do, the walkers seemed as though they were growing in intelligence; following our heroes when they went outside their walls and avoiding obvious traps. Eugene and Rosita were the first unfortunate souls to encounter them when out on a run (for something I really can’t remember), having a herd follow them relentlessly and forcing them to hide among the mud and dirt. Then it came… to the most careful of listeners… “Where are they?”. Wait what, the walkers could talk?!

Things only got worse (or better for us at least) when our group had to find Eugene out in the wilds and lead him to safety on an injured leg. A dark and misty night lead them through a cemetery (classic horror setting) with nary a foot in front of them visibility. Our group made it out, but Jesus held back to slow the walker horde. With his ninja like fighting style, he quickly dispatched the small group that had followed them, all except one. He saunters over to deliver a killer blow to the head… but the walker ducks under his blade. He stumbles and the “walker” grabs him around the throat while driving a blade through his chest. This was no walker.

In its current state, The Walking Dead is now on its 10 th season; the Whisperers have come and affected our group in a huge way that the scars are still hurting them to this day. While the season has aired around 5 episodes thus far, I have only seen 2 but I am invested and intrigued to watch on.

Although the bulk of this piece has been a description of the series decent, I do want to emphasise that it is from this decent that a new, better Walking Dead has risen that is worth your time. The details I’ve omitted between Jesus death and onwards is the stuff that you have to see to believe, that is the point of this piece.

Despite what you may think of this series; you invested in it at the start and continued through to present day, you invested so much but dropped off somewhere in the middle, you never had an interest in the series. The Walking Dead, despite its flaws has had a new breath of life given to it (no pun intended) that is worth a watch. This is in no small part to the chance in showrunner for the series between season 8 and 9 Angela Kang. She has appeared numerous times on the fan show, Talking Dead and really emphasised the shift in tone and more tight focus she intended to take the series in and it really shows. Even with Rick Grimes leaving the show, his character will have all new experiences and encounters when the network releases its planed TV movies sometime in the next couple of years.

Even without the multiple seasons worth of backstory that some characters have established, the current events and what they’re alluding to are creative and investing enough that The Walking Dead needs, nay deserves, a second chance to grip audiences the world over. Perhaps under its new showrunner, the series can reach the heights it once knew of once again.



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"The problem imo is the plot. It really hasn\'t moved on since season 4. Just hops from one bad guy/group encounter to the next.Needs 2 end!" TGR, pietermaritzburg around 2 weeks, 4 days ago