When AMC’s The Walking Dead (TWD) premiered nearly a decade ago, I must say that I was hooked from the very first episode. In my eyes AMC could do no wrong when it came to cranking out the programming that had me and millions of other viewers coming back for more every single week.
AMC was the channel for bad-asses and I was here for every single minute of it. At one point I couldn’t get enough of Don Draper (Mad Men), with his cold, calculating, con-artist ass. Then, here comes Walter White (Breaking Bad), with his chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-king-pin ass. And finally, I meet Sheriff Rick Grimes, with his post-apocalyptic-zombie-killing ass. Yeah, it was my must-see TV.
That first mini-season with six episodes had a bish shook. I was literally on the edge of my seat—yep, the edge of my little crackly pleather sofa—waiting to see if Rick and his crew were going to make it past the walkers and live to see another day. It was truly a thrill-ride that I thought I’d never want to hop off.
I was a dedicated follower and rocked with Rick and his group through the good times and through the storms. I rode with them to the CDC, then on to Hershel Greene’s farm. Next, we wrecked shit over at the Woodbury and ended up killing the Governor. Then, we all had to split up and reunited at the “safe haven”, Terminus. We learned the hard way that that wasn’t the best move. But, most of us made it out and found Alexandria, which was all good for a little while, until we stumbled upon Negan, the Devil himself. And that’s when shit started going downhill like a MF’er.
Certified psycho, Negan murdered my baby, Glenn, a day-one Rick Grimes’ crew member, and bashed newcomer Abraham’s head in too, but I didn’t care about him as much I cared about Glenn.
And, no, the brutal murders weren’t the reason I found myself backing up from TWD. Well, not the only reason, but it didn’t make me want to stay, either. Basically, I found myself losing interest because it seemed like everything was pretty much set on repeat. Rick and his crew find a spot, they attempt to settle, then something crazy happens, and everyone is right back where they started, if not in a worse situation.
In my opinion, it started to feel like it was never-ending. It became a question of: Where do we go from here?
I understand that when a TV network has a bona fide hit series on its hands, it becomes hard for it to let go. But, that’s what AMC should’ve done with TWD a few seasons back. I’m sorry, but they should’ve wrapped it up, gave the fans an epic ending, and closed that door. That’s exactly what Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, did with his phenomenal series and it worked. No, we didn’t want to see Walter White and Jesse go, but the time had come. In an interview with Digital Spy, Vince Gilligan commented on ending his emmy-award winning series. “I was very anxious about the idea of folks suddenly moving on, and saying, ‘Is that show still on the air? I used to watch it. It used to be good.’ I wanted folks to rather say, ‘Don’t end it now!’ That’s what I wanted, and that’s what we got, thank goodness. So, it was me as much as anyone who said, ‘I want to leave the stage at a high point, and not go past the high point.”
Yes, quit while you’re ahead. I’ve witnessed this a thousand times over when networks start trying to squeeze the blood out of a turnip. Storylines start to feel forced and viewers witness the actors start to lose interest in playing the characters that we all fell in love with. And eventually, the show goes to shit.
Although I haven’t sat down to watch an episode of TWD since around episode 3 of Season 7, I’ve noticed that most of the actors who portrayed main characters, such as, Morgan, Carl, Maggie, Rick, and Michonne have exited or are packing up and getting the hell outta Dodge.
If that’s not a sign to rethink dragging a once beloved series out until it suffocates and dies, I don’t know what is. Should TWD gracefully take a bullet to the head, or keep shuffling down the road of rinse-and-repeat?
Let me know what you think.