I’ve watched the Walking Dead from the beginning, through all the high and lows, the characters loved and lost. After watching the season six finale, the feeling that it’s got nowhere left to go, just won’t leave me. Speaking to my friends, they disagree completely. They keep telling me how great a character Negan is in the comics and how many cool and incredible characters could be added for the new season. I’m still not convinced. I have to add I’ve not read the comics so don’t know how this all plays out in them, all of this is based on the show itself.
Season one of the Walking Dead was something new, fresh and exciting new take on a genre, that we’d seen with shows like The Wire and The Sopranos. What happens after a virus wipes out most of humanity? How do those left rebuild society, will we lose what makes us who we are, how far will you go to survive? It was an intense experience, a rag tag group of survivors defying the odds against massive hordes of walkers, the simmering tension between the characters as they struggle for dominance, sometimes exploding to the surface. I was hooked!
Then we moved to the second season, which was mainly contained on Hershel’s farm. Everything slowed down and we got to learn more about the characters, for me to much. There’s only so much hand wringing I can take, sure the world has ended as they know it but moping around on a farm for hours on end got grating. It definitely picked up at the end of the season which kept me watching, the next two seasons were a massive improvement.
The introduction of Characters like Michonne and The Governor revitalised the show over the next two seasons and reignited my interest. It was exciting again no more moping around, there were dual threats. It’s always feels more interesting a show when the main adversaries for the group are human and not the undead! This is where the show really sings, when it focuses on the fight to retain a semblance of a way of life, what’s the point of being alive if you’re not living?
After season four it’s felt like the shows been in a cycle of rinse and repeat, meet a band of sociopaths, with a slightly different monstrous quirk ,take them out. Run into walkers, gruesomely defeat them and do it all again. The things that made it different, are now making it feel like the same events are happening over and over again. This feeling isn’t helped with the use of black and white for the first episode of season six, or going back to the opening shot and showing what different characters are thinking and doing at the same moment in time. It felt like they were running out of ideas, throwing something visually different at us to distract us from the fact it was the same old thing happening in front of us.
The end of season 6 didn’t grab me at all. The cliffhanger, who’s Negan killed didn’t land. (unlike Lucille who definitely did, repeatedly in someones skull!) I didn’t care who had been clubbed to death. Negan was this scary guy that the whole season had been building up to, he seemed charming more than anything, the kind of guy you’d like to go for a drink with, as long as he left Lucille at home! Sure he might start a few fights, but it’d be a night to remember!
Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate the show, it’s still one of the best out there right now, I’m just worried that it’s maybe, run out of ideas. At the moment it feels like Rick is going to accept Negan’s terms, fume and plot, waiting for a sign of weakness, before going full on throat ripping Rick on Negan’s ass.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Negan will turn out to be the character the show needs, bringing it back to being more about the conflict between those who survived, trying to reshape the world in their own image. I hope it will be like a shot in the back of the head from Lucille, restoring my faith in The Walking Dead and begging for more and more seasons.
We’ll find out in October.