The Walking Dead season eight is set to premiere on October 22nd and… Ummm, wait. Are we supposed to be excited for this? Seriously, I’m just asking if we’re actually supposed to be excited for The Walking Dead to come back, seeing that season seven really struggled. I mean, the chances are pretty high that season eight is going to suck too.
This is not to say that The Walking Dead is a horrible, unwatchable show. It’s still a highly entertaining zombie apocalypse show. But now that we are 100 episodes in, there are some real issues with the series as a whole. I mean, we definitely didn’t need all those solo episodes in season seven. Remember the hour of television time devoted to watching Daryl eat dog food? Yeah, we really didn't need that one. Other than the solo episodes, the show also struggled to find its voice post-Glenn’s death. Losing Glenn was difficult for us fans and, on top of it, the show never fully knew how to tackle Glenn and Abraham’s deaths. Season seven went from being melodramatic to not even acknowledging the deaths sometimes. It was jarring.
17 We've Spent Way Too Much Time In Alexandria
One major issue with The Walking Dead is that it relies on a premise that can easily go stale, which is the zombie apocalypse. To the show’s credit, it has managed to keep things seemingly fresh for a long time, which is partially due to the show changing locations.
When we first meet the group, they are situated with RVs. After seeing just how vulnerable their little RV camp left them, they went out on the road. There was the one episode spent at the CDC, followed by even more on-the-road action. Then, there was Hershel's farm, back on the road, the prison, and back on the road. You get it, right? This finding shelter then fleeing shelter thing was a definite pattern in earlier seasons of the series. That is, before they landed in Alexandria, where they've been sitting pretty for some time.
16 All The Fake-Out Deaths
Every show is concerned about ratings because that’s the bread and butter of television. However, shows shouldn’t tick off the entire audience just to get them to tune in. What I’m talking about, of course, is all the fake-out deaths. UGH, all the fake-out deaths, guys!
The Walking Dead season six ended with the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers. We saw one of the main characters die in a horrific nature, only we didn't see who. Sure, everyone tuned into the season seven premiere to find out who Negan’s victim was, but all the speculation in the meantime was just plain annoying. There was also that one time Glenn “died” but it was really just Nicholas being eaten by zombies ON TOP of Glenn. Duh, guys.
During the course of season seven, the show didn't utilize the fake-out deaths too much. There was that one time it kind of seemed like Rick was dead, but no one was buying that. Out of everyone, Rick is not going to die right now. The other fake-out death in season seven was Heath’s. Speaking of which, where is that dude?
15 Also, Can We Get Some Shocking Deaths Again?
I don’t necessarily want characters I love to die, but also can some characters I love die? Thanks. Sure, season seven started with two major deaths: Glenn and Abraham. That’s all good and well, but no one can really call them a shock. I mean, both of these characters are dead in the comics, so… That said, the show did its best to make the deaths of Glenn and Abraham as surprising as possible by slightly tweaking their original comic book deaths.
Of our dearly departed characters, the last truly shocking death was Beth Greene. Since Beth wasn’t adapted from a comic book character, there was no blueprint for her arc on the show. It seemed Beth was finally coming into her own, then she was killed off by accidental gunfire. Yes, it hurt. It really, really hurt. But we also need more moments like this; y'know, those moments that make you cry hysterically and scream at your television.
The show should consider introducing more characters who aren’t from the comics, as this would allow for some truly shocking deaths. That, or they should kill off the comic book characters in new ways at different times.
14 Glenn's Death Didn't Reinvigorate The Series As It Was Hoped To
Supposedly, they waited until the season seven premiere to reveal Negan's victim because it would supposedly reinvigorate the series. But, um, it didn’t. Maybe the issue was that the very next episode focused solely on Carol and Morgan, two people who didn’t even know about Glenn’s death. It was like, "Hey, Glenn just died in a super brutal way, but here’s Carol, Morgan, and a huge tiger. None of them know about Glenn, so shhh."
Overall, it just seemed like the show didn't know how to handle the two deaths. Between Sasha and Rosita’s reckless anger over Abraham and Maggie’s sudden stoic heroism, the approach to handling these deaths felt all over the place. This didn't quite give us a reinvigorated show. In fact, the failure to find a proper tone when approaching these deaths caused season seven to struggle.
13 Hey, How About That CGI Deer?
THE DEER, GUYS. I’m sorry, but is this not one of the most-watched shows on television? Why don’t they have a budget big enough to have a good CGI deer? Or hell, shouldn’t they just be able to afford a real deer? To be fair, the CGI on Shiva – Ezekiel’s tiger – is pretty on point. So, maybe they blew their CGI budget on Shiva and just said screw it with the deer...?
Whatever the case, seeing special effects done this poorly can completely take you outside of the show, which is especially an issue for a show like The Walking Dead. When dealing with a show taking place in a world that is completely fictional, it’s important that the effects are realistic. For us to buy the zombies, we have to buy everything else, and no one bought that deer.
Since the special effects are usually spot on, hopefully there’s not another deer-gate issue in season eight.
12 The Solo Episodes Simply Aren't Working For Anyone
For the love of everything that is good, no more solo episodes.
For whatever reason, someone decided to do a zillion solo episodes in season seven. There was a solo episode of Carol and Morgan at the Kingdom; a solo episode about Daryl at the Sanctuary; a solo episode for Maggie, Sasha, and Jesus at the Hilltop; a solo for Tara at Oceanside. It was way too many solo episodes. And yes, the world of the show is much bigger now. Instead of just one group of people in one location, all of our favorite characters seem to be sprinkled about in different communities. The writers simply need to do a better job of incorporating the plots and stories.
With an ensemble cast of characters, an occasional solo episode can help us get to know a support character. But solo episodes shouldn’t be used week after week. After all, this show is about community.
11 The Zombies Aren't Scary Anymore
After nearly 100 episodes of The Walking Dead, the zombies have officially lost their edge. Sorry, zombies.
There are several factors that have made the zombies feel less threatening. First of all, the main characters are no longer scared of zombies. And why should they be? They’ve all killed a billion zombies and lived through dire situations. It’s also been a while since we’ve seen someone gruesomely eaten by zombies. It’s usually human-on-human deaths these days, as was the case with Glenn, Abraham, Olivia, and Spencer. At this point, it’s also not big enough to kill one of the main characters via zombies. We're simply not going to see Rick, Daryl, or Maggie eaten by a zombie. That's not how they go out.
However, zombies can be scary when weaponized by men. The spike zombie the Trash People created was pretty scary. Unfortunately, it was Rick, who is pretty much certain to not be killed, battling said zombie. We all knew Rick would be okay even if the zombie was terrifying. If The Walking Dead can find more ways for zombies to be used as weapons, they may just make us scared of zombies again.
10 Negan Worked Better When He Was A Mystery
Speaking of the horror element of the show, Negan was introduced at a perfect time.
During season six, zombies were already losing their fear factor. With all of our favorite characters tucked happily away in Alexandria, we were pretty much removed from the zombies. And even so, we had already seen so many zombies taken down from the group. The zombie fear factor was just... eh. So, it was perfect that at this point, when zombies were much less scary, Negan was introduced. However, Negan was much scarier when he was a mystery.
9 Also, It's Become The Negan Show
On the Negan topic, can we just not show so much of Negan in season eight? Alright, I don’t mean let’s completely ditch Negan. We can't do that. Plus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan does a fine job in the role. The real problem is the show is paying way too much attention to Negan. Sure, Negan is a decent villain with an interesting moral code. This is the dude who is firmly against r*pe, but also beats people to death with his bat and throws doctors into furnaces. By the way, doctors seem hard to come by in The Walking Dead. Negan should have maybe not killed someone who can perform surgeries. Just sayin’.
It’s likely the more we get to know Negan, the more interesting and layered he'll become. That's all well and fine. If the plan of the show is to make Negan a layered character who is not all villain, it’s not necessary to do that right away. The show would take its time and slowly reveal that there may be more to Negan. Also, maybe give us more Maggie, who just watched her husband and baby daddy be slaughtered. That would be nice.
8 Oh, And We Already Know Negan Is Going To Lose
Rick Grimes has taken down every big bad villain he’s encountered. The Governor, Terminus, even BFF Shane? Yep, he’s taken all of them down. That said, it’s easy to assume Rick will also take down Negan, which is an assumption confirmed by the comic books.
Not only that, but the show shows no signs of ending. If the show is not in its final season, any viewer that understands how television works knows Negan is not the big bad who will finally take down Rick. Not by a long shot. That means that, despite the build up, this war between Rick and Negan will be anticlimactic. We already know what will happen. Sure, there will likely be a few surprising deaths, but in the end, Rick will beat Negan. That is certain. It kind of takes all the stakes out of the war, right?
7 Why Haven't They Just Run From Negan?
Why haven’t they just run away from Negan? Why haven't they at least tried to run away from Negan? Seriously, why not?! It’s something that doesn’t quite add up and makes the whole war against Negan a bit flimsy.
In the past, Rick and the gang have run from vulnerable locations – the RV park, the farm, the prison – when they are threatened. Sure, it's usually the threat of zombies that they run from and not the threat of dictators, but still. Apparently, running is not even a thought in Alexandria.
6 The Characters Are All Making Uncharacteristic Choices
Um, who are half of these characters? I mean, we know these characters, but they aren’t really acting like the characters we know. There’s Maggie's resurrection into a complete hero. This is the same Maggie who had a meltdown when Beth died, so why is she able to take Glenn's death in stride? Seriously, Maggie, go cry over your dead husband for a minute. We won't judge you. It just rings false that Maggie would be so dead-set on taking down Negan without even a moment to mourn Glenn.
On that note, Rick Grimes has made some uncharacteristic choices as well. The most obvious uncharacteristic choice being the fact that he trusted the Trash People. Like, he totally trusted these strangers and had no backup plan. This is the same Rick who wouldn’t even come to Alexandria, right? This is the same Rick who buried guns outside of Terminus before entering? Well, no. It's not the same Rick. He’s not acting like that Rick at all.
5 Completely Sticking To The Comics Makes It Predictable
Many adaptations will stick firmly to the source material in the early seasons, then slowly veer away from it. However, this is likely because many shows run out of source material, like Game of Thrones has. That said, The Walking Dead still has plenty of source material to work with, as there are over 50 comics yet to be adapted to the television. Also notable is the fact that the early seasons of the show took more liberties, like that CDC episode. Meanwhile, the later seasons have tended to stick to the comics more faithfully.
While the comics are full of interesting characters and shocking plot points, sticking to them too much takes away the surprise factor of the show. All upcoming twists can be predicted. Even when the events don’t play out exactly as they did in the comics, they are still easy to predict. For example, Sasha doesn’t appear in the comics, but her arc mirrored that of a character Holly in the comics. Sasha met her end in a way that was quite similar to Holly's end.
To avoid being ruined by the source material, the show should utilize the comics but also zig zag left once in a while just to keep us on our toes.
4 There Are SO MANY New Communities
Um, could we maybe have been introduced some of these new communities in previous seasons? For several seasons, it seemed only to be Rick and the gang. There was maybe one other community. That was it. However, through season six and seven, we found the Sanctuary, the Hilltop, Oceanside, the Kingdom, and the Trash People. Jesus had warned Rick that his world was about to get much bigger and it really did, but we also could have met a few communities in the earlier seasons. I mean, suddenly we have so many new communities and not enough time to learn about them individually.
3 More Flashback Scenes Would Help
The flashback scenes both work and don’t work. It’s hard, guys. Sometimes flashbacks give great insight into a character who is otherwise hard to crack, like Michonne’s flashback scenes. Other times, the flashbacks don’t give us insight or empathy to the characters, like those Terminus flashbacks. Um, people being mean to you doesn’t mean you can eat other people, Terminus folks. Anyway, some well-done flashback scenes could really help us understand some of the newer characters. Let’s get to know Ezekiel and Jesus and the women of Oceanside.
2 Hopefully It's Not Another 16 Episodes Of Filler
At this point, does The Walking Dead really need 16 episodes per season? Really, does it? In the past, the 16-episode seasons felt full of plot and character development. Every episode was an entertaining must-watch. Unfortunately, season seven didn't feel this way. In fact, season seven probably could have been 10 episodes. One can chalk this feeling up to all the solo episodes, because did we really need to watch Daryl eat dog food for an hour? No, so hopefully season eight won't make the same mistakes as season seven. To the benefit of season eight, there’s also been news of a Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead crossover, which may help fill out the 16-episode season. The crossover event will make for at least one really interesting episode, right?
Whatever the case, audiences would prefer seeing ten perfect episodes rather than sixteen sub-par episodes. If there isn’t enough material to fill out 16 episodes, let’s stick to shorter seasons of fully entertaining episodes. Thanks, AMC.
1 There's No End Game
This final issue is an issue with the entire show: There’s no end game. Many shows are working towards something, whether it’s a couple getting together, someone achieving their goal, or who lands on the Iron Throne. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with The Walking Dead. Working towards an ending in which the zombie outbreak is cured and world order is restored was ruled out during season one, when the only remaining scientist from the CDC decided to kill himself because he had no hope. The ending of the show is just going to be... Um...
While the characters aren’t working towards curing the virus, they are working towards rebuilding society. However, it’s not likely that season eight will focus on this. Instead, season eight will focus on the goal of defeating Negan. The issue is, what happens when Negan is defeated? What next?
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