When The Walking Dead came out in 2010, fans of the comic and fans of the zombie horror genre flocked to their televisions—eager to see what would happen, which of their favorite or least favorite characters would survive, and where Rick Grimes and the group would go next. It seemed like not a single television set in America wasn’t tuned into AMC every Sunday night for years when the show was at its strongest.
On any given Sunday night, The Walking Dead was all anyone was talking about (for the first several seasons). The show became so instantaneously popular that by the time the second season came out, there was an entire talk show called The Talking Dead devoted exclusively to talking about the show and the episode of the night. And, there is a Con dedicated to all things The Walking Dead.
There was a period of time where certain characters (like the new character introduced for the show that was not in the comic books, Daryl Dixon) were so popular, and the show had such a large audience, that fans would pick their favorite character and say “if so and so dies, we riot.” People all over the internet would discuss what would happen on the show each week after the new episode would premiere, and make all kinds of predictions about how the show would end and who would survive. The Walking Dead also sparked lots of “would you survive the zombie apocalypse” quizzes and articles on the internet. Basically, The Walking Dead was a big deal, and perhaps it did too much too fast. The show that was once at the top of the charts for views and ratings has steadily declined in terms of quality of story and camera work over the years.
The Walking Dead may have even been the first show to introduce a spin-off series—an idea the producers and creators took too far since AMC has not one but two spin-off shows and a third on the way. The creators appeared to be trying to put out more content in an attempt to bring back the larger fan base they once had, but in realty that forced effort and nonstop barrage of The Walking Dead content back fired and pushed people away even more.
There really can be too much of a good thing, but even looking at the main show alone, the quality in storytelling, dialogue, and camera work has felt forced and too preachy or monologue-y ever since about mid-way through the sixth season. Plot points were drawn out for far too long, every scene back-to-back was a different character reciting a stiff and strangely worded speech, and certain characters (who were once so beloved fans claimed they would riot if they died) lived well past their expiration date. And all of the stationary and bland camera work did nothing to add to the excitement of any scene.
There are also characters—like Morgan and Carol—who reached a point in the sixth season where the writers’ idea of character development was to have these two characters switch back and forth between two extreme, polar opposite personalities. An example being Morgan’s “clear” or “all life is precious” phases that the character switches haphazardly back and forth between. The show has a history of killing off main characters in a way that isn’t satisfying and seems to be without purpose for the story other than for shock value.
And now that the main character Rick Grimes isn’t even in the show anymore (but will apparently be in three The Walking Dead movies), fans have practically abandoned the show. Those in the age group of 18-49 vastly differ from one another, but The Walking Dead once received the most viewers in this age group of any television show ever. But back-to-back seasons of nothingness made the show not worth anyone's time. When the show finally got a new showrunner for seasons 9 and 10, things seemed to finally be picking back up again.
But then the lockdown happened and everything was put on hold. Whether it be because of this world event or steadily declining viewership, The Walking Dead has announced that the current season (season 11) will be the last in the series. However,The Walking Dead, The Talking Dead, and the (soon to be) three separate spin-off series are pretty much the only thing keeping AMC alive, so if this “final season” gets the views they are probably hoping for, Would the show actually come to a definitive end?
It's entirely possible that The Walking Dead will disappear for a bit to give time for viewers to look back on the memories they had when they first watched the show, and allow the nostalgia to kick in. A break from all the zombie drama is most likely the only thing that will save the memory of the show. And if (or when) the show makes a comeback, fans will once again tune back in to see what happens and where the characters have been since they last saw them.