The Walking Dead used to be one of the hottest shows on television. But in recent years, viewership has fallen off. Ratings reached an all-time high during season five, with an average of 14.38 million watchers, but has steadily declined ever since. This season’s tenth episode recorded the lowest ratings since the first season, leaving many critics wondering what’s going on. Here are five reasons that The Walking Dead keeps getting worse.
So Many Characters, So Little Time
It seems that for every character that’s killed off, at least two new ones pop up. When you have so many characters running around, it’s difficult to develop them. So, when their inevitable demise comes around, it’s hard to care. Too many of the side characters feel flat, and they just aren’t worth the emotional investment. But underdeveloped characters aren’t nearly as frustrating as the next point.
A lot of shows use cliffhangers and trick fans to keep them watching. But when The Walking Dead was doing this, and they were already pulling in over ten million viewers a week, it felt pathetic. The use of cheap cliffhangers like making it appear as if one of the beloved characters died betrays a lack of faith in the fanbase. The most notorious cliffhanger came at the end of season six, as fans were given five months to wonder which of their favorite characters had been brutally murdered by Negan.
17 million viewers tuned in for the season seven premiere, but by a month later, only ten million were watching. What happened? The episode was the most brutal yet. Two beloved characters were killed, while Rick’s spirit steadily broke. It was emotionally exhausting. It also seems impossible to top without becoming ridiculously ultra-violent. But mostly, it desensitized audiences to the point where they could no longer stand for the notoriously slow pace of the show.
For as long as fans can remember, characters have been doing ridiculous things in the show. They’ve broken out of character for pure shock factor and otherwise served as plot devices. This is never a good thing. You can have as many zombies as you want, but if human nature is sacrificed for the sake of a tight ending, the suspension of disbelief goes out the window. But the worst thing about the show is broader than this point.
It’s Getting Repetitive
Eight seasons into a series, and there’s bound to be some tropes that just won’t die. How many times are we going to hear Rick say something like “Things are different now!”? How many times are we going to see a zombie-killing vet surprised by a zombie? Or an episode opening that involves Rick digging a grave? Sheesh.
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