The Walking Dead: Sink or Swim?


Marissa Gaslin, Staff Writer

AMC says ratings are down.  You can only lose so many viewers before the show can no longer continue.  That leaves one question, Do you think that The Walking Dead will “Jump The Shark”?

For those of you who maybe haven’t heard that expression before, “Jump The Shark” is a phrase describing TV shows that are in desperate need of content. They reach a point at which they include outlandish content for the sake of ratings.  This is where quality and substance go out the window.  The phrase stems from an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie literally jumped a shark while water skiing.

If you were to look The Walking Dead up on Rotten Tomatoes, you would find an overall score of 82%.  The ratings had dipped for a while around season 3, came back and have now fallen again after season 7.  Is this due to the content?  Or is it just one of the many shows who’s ratings have been dropping in this age of digital streaming apps?  It is well known that many people just wait to binge watch their favorites shows these days.

The Walking Dead, while still popular, has been losing many loyal viewers. Personally, I have been a fan of the show for some time now, but there have recently been many plot twists that have left people quite unhappy, including myself.

Many people that watch the show don’t know that it is based on a comic book series, and they are staying on track with the time line of the comics (just a couple years behind). These graphic novels may be the key to knowing how much longer the series will last. It is true that the author of the comics has said he intends to end the series.  He also has said that he knows the ending and he wants to stay true to his vision.  This conclusion that he has planned, and is working toward, comes after he admitted to continually trying to top himself and said it was getting harder an harder to do that.  Sounds like “jumping the shark” to me.

AMC, however, claims to want to keep the series around for possibly “a couple decades”.  How will that work out after the story they had been following comes to an end?

When the show launched on Halloween of 2010, it quickly grew into one of the world’s most beloved zombie apocalypse themed television series’.  Fans tuned in every week to watch their favorite character try to survive in a world full of zombies.  The more you watch, the more attached you get to the characters, it’s only natural.  TWD used to be filled with so much action and suspense that it kept us on the edge of our seats.

At the end of season six, we were left with a cliffhanger. Negan and his sinister cult had Rick and the rest of the group scared senseless for their lives. While this was a very suspenseful part of the show, it was not what left fans upset. Afterall, cliffhangers almost guarantee we will be back to see what happened.  In the final scene of season 6, Negan did claim a victim, and left us wondering who.  When we finally got to see season 7 and discovered the victims, yes there were two, that is when most fans proclaimed their frustrations..

Abraham was the first victim, Negan’s “warning” victim. However, Daryl did not take this very well, and that caused Negan to also take the life of Glenn.  He was married to Maggie, who was pregnant with their child at the time of Glenn’s untimely murder.

Another thing that caused fans to become upset, was that the entire first half of season 7, Daryl was held captive by the Saviors, and subjected to the torture of listening to the song ‘Easy Street’ on an endless, horrifyingly annoying loop that we all endured along with him. I am almost certain that we could all sing the song from memory by now.

There was also a raid of Alexandria that Negan and his minions took part in on their first trip to the small community. Negan, being the sick, twisted individual that he is, came a week early, and took all of the community’s mattresses only to burn them.

Maggie almost lost the baby, Tara was almost killed, and Negan tried to take Carl in.  Carl made killing Negan his top priority, and failed miserably. The satisfying moment though, was when Rick finally mustered up the courage to fight the Saviors, and Daryl escaped. The reunion, in many peoples eyes, was beautiful.

Even if you have never watched the show before, I am sure that sounded like a lot of drama.  This is just not the way die-hard fans expected the show to go.  Possibly this is the beginning of the end.  I am just not sure if it is the comic book end or the shows end.

About 85% of the people I have talked to about it think that there will be a couple seasons left.  The others think that there is even less.  I think it would be unrealistic to think that AMC will be unable to go on for decades without some pretty ridiculous content. How soon will it end? Only time will tell.