While reading over an article on the season finale for “The Walking Dead” over on TV Line, I couldn’t help but find my eye drawn to a poll in which readers are rating the last episode of the current run.
While lots of people clearly enjoyed the episode, the most common rank is C (It was OK).
Boy, doesn’t that just feel like an apt way to sum up the entire season?
What’s weird about “The Walking Dead” is the fact that the show’s most recent story arcs have all felt so mediocre when it’s clear that the writers are trying really, really hard.
This season we’ve seen some big upsets, said goodbye to a key characters (no spoilers here, but you probably know who I mean), and seen one-note villains evolve into more complicated, interesting characters.
By all rights, this should make for entertaining television, but after eight seasons of the show, this has all become white noise. Some people still love “The Walking Dead”, and that’s great, but as I’ve expressed before, it’s hard to ignore the growing sense that the show is merely spinning its wheels.
No Bang for the Buck
A lot of the plot points this season that should have felt big and exciting ended up feeling cheap. A lot of the character development that we’ve seen has been tarnished by a sense that the creative team is being deliberately sensationalist.
Perhaps the problem is that “The Walking Dead” has now been on the air for nearly a decade. What was once fresh and originally has now aged, and viewers have begun to burn out. Even shaking up the status quo this season hasn’t helped, as those devoted fans that have kept watching have resisted seeing Rick change into someone unlikable.
Or, perhaps, this change itself is the problem. Maybe the show’s heart is gone. “The Walking Dead” always survived due to the engaging nature of its characters’ personalities, and blurring the line between hero and villain, or simply dismissing characters entirely to try and startle viewers, has backfired.
Whatever the reason, as “The Walking Dead” season eight comes to a close, there’s a definite atmosphere of apathy emanating from the show’s once rabid fanbase.
Maybe the zombie bug is finally losing its bite.
The dead can’t keep walking forever.