Okay, look. I get it.
I know that occasionally, it's not just because of the saddest deaths that make people want to leave a show. I know that there’s a certain threshold that shows reach sometimes where they just don’t feel the same anymore when they’ve gone on for so long. It’s why shows like Breaking Bad will always be the epitome of what good television is like – because they knew when to end it properly to make sure the story always stays great. Many TV shows don’t do that and outstay their welcome.
However, the one show that has gone on for so long that I do believe you should give another chance is AMC's The Walking Dead and is finally going into its last season later in 2021. Obviously, this show is nowhere near as popular as it used to be, but I’m here to tell you why you should sit down and maybe binge-watch The Walking Dead's recent seasons. The Walking Dead had its lows, but it’s also had some insane highs lately.
The World-Building Has Been Expanded... Greatly
I remember when a lot of people started to drop away from the series. It felt like Rick’s group was always just trekking along, finding a new place to settle down, and then somehow something happens to that safe place and they have to get back on the road again. It was the same process over and over and over, and I can understand why any The Walking Dead fan with a brain would begin to lose interest and watch something else. I almost did.
But I can assure you that after some time, they’ve really expanded this world. There haven’t been any real location changes since around Season 5 – if anything, they’ve only expanded the area in which the characters exist, giving more opportunities for plenty of new survivors from different areas, almost making this tiny survival area into a brand new world for everyone’s favorite characters. They’ve upped their game so much.
The Threats Have Been Exponentially Bigger And Badder
Another big issue I had long ago was that the threats on The Walking Dead didn’t seem to escalate that much. I felt like everyone knew who The Governor was. He was this big baddie that seemed to be nice on the outside but sinister on the inside. We spent a season and a half following this guy, all the way up to a war that separated our survivors from the prison.
But after that, the threats didn’t seem to go anywhere. We'd have some groups thrown in for a couple of episodes that were very much an issue, such as The Wolves or The Cannibals at Terminus, but the group always seemed to figure out how to get rid of them very quickly and move on with their lives while trying to find shelter or their next home. It didn't feel as prolonged as it used to be, or as fleshed out.
Now though, the threats are just as big as before. I feel like there was a return to Season 1 The Walking Dead with some of the most recent episodes. While Seasons 7 and 8 focused on a more human conflict while simultaneously introducing one of the best The Walking Dead villains, Seasons 9 and 10 upped their game so much so in terms of villains and threats.
Let’s just say that humans are no longer the big threat in those – it’s walkers, big-time and it feels like a flashback back to the original seasons, where that was the only threat. It's refreshing where not every villain thrown in there fills like a filler for the sake of "needing a threat." The conflicts now are long, and lasting, and have several horrible outcomes - it's what an apocalypse is supposed to be like.
They’ve Created Wonderful Backstories For New Characters
Back in Season 5, the group of survivors arrived at Alexandria, a hopeful community that could offer a bit of normalcy. This new area gave plenty of new characters, but I just didn't click with them. It's not that there was anything truly wrong with who they were - they were just bland, with not much personality or story.
However, there are some awesome characters in the later seasons of The Walking Dead that are not only inclusive but incredibly relatable. For example, in Season 9, we are introduced to another new group of survivors, all with their own quirks and personalities. One of them is named Connie, and she is actually deaf in an apocalypse world. Think about it. That is one amazing concept, where you live in a world that relies on the ability to hear threats from a decent distance and prepare yourself. It’s so interesting, and not only that, but she has a fantastic backstory to follow.
She’s just one of the many examples I could put here on characters that I know you’ll come to love if you gave The Walking Dead one more shot, because honestly, I’ve come to care for them too now.
They’ve Also Added On So Much More Story To Fan Favorites
I’m going to admit that I was one of the Daryl fangirls at the beginning of the show. I absolutely loved this dude’s character. I loved that he was this closed-off guy with a big heart who just wanted to try and find some way to help without getting too close. I could understand why he was doing it. But by God did he annoy me in the later seasons. All they did was make him grunt and groan and take away any character aspect that we all liked about him.
The same goes for many of the other characters as well. For so long, they were making such terrible decisions and I felt that we had truly lost the group of survivors we all became close with at the beginning of The Walking Dead. That was what made the show so good, not the zombies around them but the people fighting back against them.
In the more recent seasons, though, they really dig deep back into these characters that we adore and give them stories that are some of their best. One of the most recent episodes covered a major character development for Daryl, Michonne has become a seriously badass woman who has the best heart in the world – I even learned to love Carol, because, for a long time, I hated all the decisions she was making. They’ve done a complete 180 on these characters from the previous seasons, and I love it.
The Story Doesn’t Feel Like It Drags Along
I feel like I mentioned this earlier, but in the earlier seasons of The Walking Dead, there were so many episodes that felt like they should not have been there. Many were filler, where the characters didn’t do much and just sort of walked around in a forest, trying to find shelter. Look, we get it, you live in that world where nothing is guaranteed, but it doesn’t mean we have to see every little second of it.
But that’s not the case anymore, especially now in Season 10. Every episode feels like it’s needed, from the introduction of characters to the beginning of a battle, to an episode featuring the background of one survivor to another showing prep for war, every single one of them feels earned. There’s no dragging along with the story so that they can reach 16 episodes.
Each entry we have into The Walking Dead saga this time around makes sense in its own respective degree, and honestly, I’m here for it. I hope that the last season will provide just as much action, story, and character development as the last seasons have. I hope the upcoming The Walking Dead movies are just as awesome as well.
While I do understand why many would drop this show, I do hope that you go back and watch it once again. I promise you that the characters you cherished are back and better than ever, and the world has changed so drastically that you’ll find yourself in awe of how much has developed.
Even so, I know I’ll still be taking a seat on my couch and watching Season 11 regardless of whenever it premieres in 2021, for one last ride with The Walking Dead crew. I wish that you’ll do the same. Check out how to watch The Walking Dead streaming.
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A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.