The producers of AMC’s The Walking Dead are insisting the show’s level of violence won’t be toned down. This might prove to be the program’s undoing.
The opening episode of the seventh season of The Walking Dead was one of the most shocking debuts in television history. The shocks were not well received by millions of fans. The decline in audience viewership during the seventh season was pronounced. In fact, many were suggesting heavy loss of the audience members was catastrophic. Due to the violent deaths of the characters Glenn and Abraham, the program veered from entertainment into a harsh spectacle of horror. The Walking Dead simply went too far in its presentation of realistic death. People tuning in for a little bit of zombie mayhem were forced to watch all-too-human carnage.
There is a huge difference from fantasy violence and violence that is cruel and disturbing. The Walking Dead walked over a threshold and many fans simply could not forgive the showrunners. The millions of people who left during season seven are not likely to come back until they feel confident such violence will not be repeated. Better storytelling would also be quite helpful to the fortunes of the program. In addition to the outrageous violence, the narrative has notoriously dragged. What is worse than excessive violence? The answer is excessive boredom.
The Walking Dead is squandering its goodwill with the audience that made the show the super hit. The villainous Negan works quite well in the comic book, but the television presentation has been very singular in note. When Negan is not turning off the audience with brutal violence, he is boring them to death with a flat performance.
The Walking Dead may continue to survive while hemorrhaging viewers, but the show runs the risk of becoming a zombie apocalypse version of the final season of Happy Days. In other words, the show may get worse and worse while hanging on to a shrinking the audience. That is a fate worse than a living death.