The Walking Dead is one of my favorite picture-box programs. It doesn’t rate as highly as Breaking Bad or Justified or anything, but it is a weekly program I enjoy consuming. That said, the show is nowhere near perfect. There are flaws, gaps of logic, and many of the non-main characters have been poorly developed. So much so, in fact, I find myself actively rooting for their demise.
Hell, I spent a majority of this season cheering whenever an Alexandrian died. Like, rooting for the undead to eat their brains. I’m not a physiologist, but that’s probably the opposite of normal.
Despite that, I continue to find myself watching the show. I remain invested in certain characters (mostly Glenn and Maggie).
Also, I need to know how this unfolds. What is the endgame? I mean, there’s no solution to this epidemic, right? So, basically, everyone is simply trying to survive until they die of old age… and then turn into walkers? Hooray… I guess?
That seems less than ideal. While it is actually more logical than not, there’s no happy ending to this story in sight. That is why, at least partially, I think that AMC and the show’s front-runners should make a public declaration of sorts. They should tell fans of the show, in sincerity, that The Walking Dead is going to air FOREVER.
Much like a soap-opera, actually. Unlike a soap, where there’s little reason to watch shows not aired on a Monday and Friday (and there’s no recourse for actions or death), expanding on the scope of TWD universe simply by saying it is in it for the incredibly long haul alters a few things. It also proves the show’s story tellers more time to tell stories in proper ways.
Let’s break this down in the absolutely most simplified way as humanly possible. By, ugh, bolding numbers!
One: We get to have the idea of seeing young characters literally grow before our eyes implanted in our bellies. You know, someone like Carl — who isn’t actually the most beloved of the original characters on the show — can become a man in real time.
However, even if it is solely in the idea of seeing him grow and adapt in the world, imagine watching the show and wondering how his skewing of how human behavior works might backfire on him when he is a 23 year-old leader of his own camp and Lucy is into all sorts of kinky shit and wants to have some foreplay on top of some walkers?
A similar thing applies to watching characters grow old. That is if they survive walker attacks and evil-doers trying to steal their last can of Mr. Pibb. Seriously. Think about it. Grandpa Rick Grimes?
Two: It might take away SOME sense of the urgency, but character development could get some much needed attention. Really, without trying to stockpile side-characters’ death into mattering by 15 minutes of ill-scripted screen time in one show, TWD would now have the luxury of years to build that side-character — one who may very literally not matter to the show on a weekly basis — into a beloved character of sorts. Making his or her death all that more impacting.
Obviously, there’s a slew of reasons why this would be a horrible idea. Urgency would be lacking (at least in the early years), and lord knows if/when ratings dropped that AMC would rather cancel the show than stick by their word of keeping it around for the long haul.
However, even if the latter happens to inevitably be the case, a simple retooling of the show could happen. Instead of doing more spin-offs like Fear The Walking Dead, create a “lesser” version of TWD for daytime TV or something. One that focuses solely on all those side characters we rarely see get any run during Rich, Carl, and crew’s quests to reach a Utopian age.
In this theoretically AMC-backed world, the company would let The Walking Dead function as it. But instead of focusing its efforts on creating original-ish spin-off programming that is set in the same universe, create more of backdrop in the exact universe (and timeline) TWD currently operates in.
Naturally, this is all “me preference based.” It is something I’d like to see AMC and TWD creators attempt to do. It isn’t realistic, either. That’s something I get, but fantasy booking shows is something we do from week-to-week anyway. Why not do that from a much larger — and equally as unrealistic — scale?
Finally, how much MORE amazing would it have been to see Shane and Rick separate instead of Shane dying, only for Shane to pop back in like seven seasons later as the leader of his own camp (or The Wolves?). Because there’s currently an expected payoff to each season, Shane had to kick the bucket, but with a much longer time being provided to tell a story, we could have revisted this later.
I mean that. Especially because Shane was way ahead of his time as a leader of people during the end of the world. While Rick was wallowing in his own sadness, and he and Lori did a horrible job of protecting their son from the undead, Shane was not only banging Rick’s wife, being a better father to Carl than him, he also knew that is was going to be an “us vs them” world moving forward. Something Rick didn’t realize until last season.
Eh, I digress. Shane > Rick, though.