The Walking Dead is Dead to Me

What do all these characters have in common?
AMC recently renewed The Walking Dead for a tenth season. The second half of season nine begins this Sunday. I won't be watching it.

Those of you that have visited Doux Reviews for awhile are probably aware of how loyal I am to the shows I love. I don't abandon them in later seasons, especially if I'm reviewing them. I hung in with Smallville to the bitter end, even after quality markedly declined and my two favorite characters left. I kept reviewing both Alias and La Femme Nikita though their terrible, abbreviated fifth and final seasons, and True Blood until its ridiculous seventh season ending. Six seasons of Lost. Six of the failure of The Dead Zone.

Okay, I think I've made my point, which is that when I love a show and commit to it, I tend to stick around until the end. This didn't happen with The Walking Dead. And I know why.

Warning: There will be spoilers below for later seasons of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.

I get it. I do. Complaints that The Walking Dead is repetitive, yeah, you're right. I was one of The Walking Dead fans that was in it for the end of the world survival stuff and its effect on the characters, not the zombie gore. I liked the world-building, or re-building. I loved how Carol evolved into a bad ass, how Maggie found strength as a leader. I especially loved Rick and Michonne falling in love.

What did it for me was three strikes. And they were Glenn, Carl and Rick.

And again, I get it. I really do. One of the story foundations of the show is that anyone can die in a zombie apocalypse. But honestly, I got really tired of losing characters I cared about as the series went on. Dale, Andrea, Hershel. Andrea, Tyreese, Beth. Abraham and Sasha.

But Glenn was the turning point for me.


Yes, he died in the graphic novels in exactly the same way. But the seventh season premiere, "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be," was too much for me. This is where The Walking Dead lost its way. The show is not a graphic novel. It is its own thing. And its audience loved Steven Yeun as Glenn too much to lose him this way. Killing him so brutally was the wrong thing to do. The seventh season should have been a turning point toward hope and rebuilding to a more positive future. Yes, there could have been threats and deaths and wars and so on. But not like this. I honestly believe that the show runners miscalculated. They were too focused on the original comics and did an injustice to the show's fans.

Even though the deaths of Glenn and Abraham really upset me and turned me off, I stayed with the show. I know this was when a lot of viewers checked out. Maybe I should have checked out, too.

Because the second big blow was the unthinkable. And that was Carl.

And again, I understand. Chandler Riggs was a decent child actor, but the actor had grown up while his character was still a kid. Awkward. If he'd been anyone else's child, he would have been killed off earlier. But deciding to write him out was a huge error because, as I said in my "Honor" review, "Carl was a huge, honking symbol of the future on this show, and they just killed their future. I didn't think The Walking Dead could survive losing Glenn. Losing Carl was even worse. I still can't believe they did this to us."



That was the last episode I reviewed. I completely lost heart. I had thought I might go back at some point and watch, if not review, but that ended when I heard that Andrew Lincoln was leaving the show. Practically the entire original cast was gone. And while I've always been fond of some of the remaining characters, I simply couldn't drum up enough enthusiasm to watch season nine.

I should have written this diatribe last year. Better late than never.

I don't have much to add about The Walking Dead's spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, other than that I was in love with Frank Dillane's Nick, and the loss of this character affected me. While the new cast members are all great, my disappointment with the parent show bled over to the spinoff. I recorded it for awhile, but couldn't make myself watch it.

The Walking Dead Powers That Be have said that despite declining ratings, they want their franchise to continue "in some form" for years to come. I wonder how far the ratings will have to decline for them to see that even huge blockbuster hit shows have to end sometime?
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

10 comments:

sunbunny said...

Put me down as "quit when Glenn died." You are extraordinarily dedicated to your shows Billie, but I think it's healthy to drop shows that frustrate us or just don't make us happy anymore. I still love the early seasons of the show though.

Mark Greig said...

Glenn's death is also when I checked out for good. The show just became too bleak and hopeless.

WZILLA13 said...

I have voiced my support of The Walking Dead (and its spinoff) in the face of growing negativity before, and nothing has changed; I still love both shows, well, to death. I thought TWD's Season 7 premiere, while devastating and emotionally draining, was masterfully done, and the rest of the season that followed was the strongest of the series. I'm still baffled as to why "fans" of the source material clamored for Negan's arrival for years, then seemed perturbed when he wasn't defeated in one season so things could move on to the next threat (same thing happened with the Governor, come to think of it). Yes, the losses of Carl, Rick, Nick and Madison were tough, but plenty of great characters, both old and new, have stepped up to fill the voids. Despite its losses, Fear gets better with each season. And speaking as someone who doesn't read the comics, the Whisperers have me PUMPED. So I will be eagerly sitting in front of my TV at 9:00 on Sunday, as I will be for the long haul.

(I have considered throwing my hat in the ring to pick up reviews for both showing, but I don't know if I have the time.... Heck, I'm a mega- Punisher fan, and I haven't had time to comment on even one episode)

Logan Cox said...

I can handle the deaths of characters I really love (since I've experienced it with so many other shows), but everything else about the show grew tiresome. The endlessly oppressive tone, meandering plots, contriving events and stretching the development of story and character out to ridiculous lengths in a clear attempt to prolong the show, characters saying and doing incredibly stupid things again and again and again, all its over-stylized pseudo-philosophical bullshit without any real point. It just got old. Not even its entertainment value or remaining good characters could make up for all of that. I stopped watching around the middle of season seven, I believe.

TJ said...

LOL Billie! I know exactly what you mean. I tend to be very loyal to my shows as well. But I learned a lesson with Smallville. I still can't believe how I could hang in there for 10 years (10!!!! YEARS), and it was never that good. So, nowadays I say aloud to myself - "Remember Smallville!!", and that helps me to quit shows that I am not that fond of.

TWD was not for me, so I gave up already after the first season...

TheShadowKnows said...

My wife (the zombie fan in the family) has suggested we might not continue watching this. Even she is sick of it.

If she goes through with it, I may be able to use a quote suitable for Black History Month: "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last!"

Leah said...

Sigh. Agreed, Billie. I *loved* the show too, and I was determined to stick it out even when I didn't love it anymore a season or two ago, thinking they would end it soon since it was not doing well. Logan is right, the storylines and plots got old and tedious. It's like the producers and writers just can't figure out how it should end, so they continue to rehash old ideas.

I'll try and finish season 9, as I'm marginally intrigued by the Whisperers (although ugh, again, they did kill off another actually interesting character). But renewing for season 10 is beyond ridiculous.

Remco said...

It's interesting to see an opinion piece like this when I'm a few seasons behind. In my 'timeline' you're still quite enthusiastic about the shows! I'm currently watching season 3 of Fear, so I'm post-Negan but pre-deaths-of-4-main-characters. I know quality can drop fast, but it's hard to imagine the shows becoming unwatchable in such a short period of time. In my timeline they're on top of their game!

I'm a bit sorry I couldn't resist reading this, because now the impact of those four deaths will be diminished. But maybe that will turn out to be the reason I can continue watching. ;)

Billie Doux said...

Wow, strike four. Danai Gurira is leaving, too.

https://tvline.com/2019/02/08/the-walking-dead-danai-gurira-leaving-michonne-season-10/

Mallena said...

My husband and I argue about TWD, sometimes. He's still watching it as it comes on Netflix and getting our son to watch it with him (giving my son no time to watch old seasons of Supernatural with me..grumble). The hubby says that TWD is a zombie show and should be violent and it should follow the comics. Bah! I agree with Billie. Violence in a comic book is different. The TV show should have been loosely based on the Comic and became its own entity with its own natural progression. Would Buffy be the same if Spike was killed off early on? The writers of the show wisely saw his potential and kept his storyline going. Spike wasn't in the Buffy movie, either.

Is a comic book a true story that has to be shown literally? Nope. I was done as soon as that awful wire-wrapped bat showed up. The show's producers wouldn't have shown a young child being killed with that thing. That would be wrong and horrible, but just because adults were killed with it doesn't make it okay. A human is a human, whether 5 or 35.