When the first episode of The Walking Dead appeared on Halloween night 2010 on AMC, it had to be the best hour of television I had ever watched to that point. I had followed the comic before the episode, so I knew what the show was all about and seeing the source material so well taken care of made it so very special. It was like the panels hopped off the book and onto my television.
The Walking Dead phenomenon would hit my family and friends and we would all get together – dressed as zombies no less – and watch the premiere episodes. True story, we called it The Walking Dead Dinner Dance and we would eat themed food. It was awesome. Sundays were reserved for zombies and man the zombies were good.
Fast forward 8 seasons and holy shit is this thing a mess of a show. I’m not talking one or two episodes bad, I’m talking season 9 of Scrubs bad. (Seriously, why’d they have to bring that show back after ending it so great?) Watching The Walking Dead in 2018 is a chore, and I’m done doing this chore.
For fans of any television series that goes downhill, you can pinpoint the exact moment where your show went full retard, and you never go full retard. With The Walking Dead, there are two. The first is the famed “Dumpster Incident” and the second is the “Cliffhanger.” Even if you’re not a fan of the show, I’m sure you’ve heard of these. Glenn hides under a dumpster from certain death? Bullshit. The season finale ends without knowing you got murdered by a barbed-wire bat? Even more bullshit.
Most people I know tapped out at one of those two incidents. Still, I kept persevering. I knew the introduction of Negan would be a turning point. “It would be so much better,” I told myself. All they have to do it follow the comics and it’ll be great!
Scott Gimple, the showrunner for The Walking Dead, not only went full retard, but he went full Kamakaze. If The Walking Dead was a plane, he crashed that son of a bitch into a Naval destroyer.
See, the problem with The Walking Dead isn’t that they have multiple boring episodes that don’t advance the plot (they do, but it’s not THE problem). The problem with The Walking Dead isn’t that the characters are unlikable. (They have some, but again, it’s not THE problem). The problem with The Walking Dead is that they have a showrunner WHO DOESN’T FOLLOW THE SOURCE MATERIAL.
Gimple told Deadline, “You know that I believe in the comics. I believe in fidelity to the comics, but I also believe in trying to tell the comic stories in different ways to ensure that the impact of those stories can even hit fans of the comics.”
I get it, you want to divert from the source material on occasion. They did it a few times and I was like, “Oh, that’s supposed to be Abraham’s death. Cool, I’m glad they did it to Denise instead.” But you can’t change the source material so drastically that it doesn’t look like it any longer. You wouldn’t say Superman never came from Krypton. You wouldn’t keep Batman’s parents alive. You wouldn’t say Bigfoot isn’t real. The point is comic readers WANT to see what they’re reading properly transitioned from page to screen. With the departure of (SPOILER ALERT) Carl, it’s a middle finger to the face of both readers and watchers.
So goodbye, The Walking Dead. I’ll continue to read the comics, but as far as the show goes, last night’s episode might as well have taken a bullet to my brain. Because I’m out.
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