Three Ways I Would Save The Walking Dead

by StevenHelmer

Three suggestions I have for the TV series The Walking Dead that might bring back viewers for the show.

I was reading an article last night that said the television ratings for the long-time hit, The Walking Dead, were continuing their downward spiral and, while the show doesn't appear to be in any danger of cancellation yet, it also doesn't look as though it is going to pull itself out of that descent any time soon.
After reading it, I thought of three ways I, if I were a show writer, would save the series. Granted, it's quite possible the series has reached the point of no return already. But, I do feel these steps would at least give it a fighting chance.

First, There Would Be a Mass Extinction

If you've read my past reviews of the series, you already know I'm not a big fan of the growing ensemble cast. With the addition of Hilltop, The Kingdom and holdovers from the Saviors and other groups, there are just too many people to keep track of. And, to make matters worse, the show is bringing in even more people by the wagon load.

We already saw a negative result of this during the mid-season finale, when Jesus (Tom Payne) was killed off before he even had a chance to really reach his potential. 

Other characters, like Rosita (Christian Serratos) still hang around even though their importance to the series has already passed them by.

The first thing I would do is wipe the board clean and kill off everyone except Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), Judith (Cailey Fleming), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). This would allow the show to start fresh with a main cast that is large enough to support multiple individual storylines but small enough to give them meaningful air time.

The Walking Dead: Season Eight (Season 8 DVD Set)

The Walking Dead: Season Eight (Season 8 DVD Set)

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Second, Let's Also Say Goodbye to the Communities

This can tie in with the massive wave of death that thins the cast down. Maybe the zombie herds grow to the point they are able to stampede the communities (with help from the Whisperers). Or, maybe someone catches the flu, dies and, after turning, kills everyone else. Regardless of the methods, Hilltop, Alexandria and the Kingdom must go.

When this show first aired, one of the things that made it exciting was the survivors had to contend with their various problems while also trying to find food, shelter, medicine, etc. without accidentally stumbling into a town run by cannibals or worse. And, even when they did find a place of refuge, like the prison, it seemed like a temporary arrangement.

Now, the series really doesn't have that going for it. Things like zombie herds and bad guys like the Whisperers really don't have the same impact when the survivors can simply hide behind a wall and sleep in a comfortable bed at night.

On top of it, the show is starting to get bogged down with community-related details, such as trade agreements and bridge building (both literal and figurative) that make me yawn just talking about them and take time away from action scenes.

Let's get the survivors back out in the wilderness. The show will have new scenery, there will be additional threats and the series can even examine their individual reactions to being back to square one after being able to live in a civilized manner for so long.

The Walking Dead Compendium 15th Anniversary Box Set

This deluxe boxset includes COMPENDIUMS 1, 2 and 3—with new covers exclusive to this set—collecting the first 144 issue of the New York Times bestselling survival horror series....

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Last, the Show Needs an Anti-Hero

At one point, this show was, among other things, edgy. Best friends were feuding over a woman, brothers were trying to kill each other, little girls would wander away and be turned into zombies while other little girls were encouraged to look at the flowers.

That's no longer the case, the show has grown soft. And, a large part of the reason for this, in my opinion, is all the anti-heroes have been killed off.

Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) was a good one. But, I think Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) was even better because you never knew if he would choose to change allegiances or just leave the group. Carol filled this void for a while too and there was a point in the series when I thought maybe the writers would pull the trigger and have Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) finally cross that line.

I've said this before, but the best fit this series has for this role today is Negan. I would love to see him join the survivors (perhaps because of the Whisperers) and serve in that capacity, even if it is just as someone who will cross a line the others won't but is needed even if they can't fully trust him.

Perhaps, as the show finally gets back to killing off stars on occasion, he can even eventually take over as the group's leader. After all, it's the zombie apocalypse. Wouldn't the bad guy be the best choice to call the shots when the world is in anarchy?

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Updated: 11/28/2018, StevenHelmer
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dustytoes on 11/29/2018

In my opinion this show can't be saved. It went off the rails seasons ago when they began getting rid of the characters we enjoyed. Also the good characters became something less and less until they are now barely recognizable. Negan was the chance they had to make it a great show and they blew it. The Walkers are boring too, and really, how are they still dragging those wasted bodies around? Shouldn't they all be decayed and useless by now? Even if some excellent storylines were written, and your ideas are good ones, the main people we want to see in them are now all gone. I watched to see what happened to Rick, because after all, I just had to. And that was disappointing as well.

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