Why The Walking Dead Sucks

Upwards of 15 million people watch AMC’s The Walking Dead every week. That’s more than the populations of Rhode Island, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and Oregon put together. It’s more than the amount of combined eyeballs high-quality shows like The Americans, Better Call Saul and The Leftovers draw.

That’s a clear indication that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

It doesn’t take a genius of Eugene’s intellect to see that The Walking Dead just plain old sucks. Sorry all you new age Dead-Heads, but it’s time to wake up and smell the rotting corpses. Despite the show’s immense popularity and ratings, it doesn’t hold a candle (or a katana) to many of TV’s best offerings. All the series is good for is letting your brain decompress after a long day as other brains are devoured on screen.

The Walking Dead has many flaws, but the show’s most glaring issue is a complete lack of quality characters. Audiences should be excited to meet up with these familiar faces every week. But TWD doesn’t really have a single main character that you’d describe as complex or interesting.

Rick is a good dude who pulls out some badass tricks from time to time, but he’s about as flat as Glenn’s head (still too soon?). Without describing his physical appearance, family ties, or “leadership” position, tell me one thing about Rick’s actual personality. He’s…loud? He says “Carl” in a really funny way? Ughhh, I’m drawing a blank.

Like the zombie virus itself, each character is infected with one-dimensionality. Daryl is The Man, but the show doesn’t let him say more than 15 words per episode. Michonne is awesome, but she’s been relegated to a sideline cheerleader for Rick. Negan is charismatic, but his screen time is just one entertainingly sinister monologue after the next. No wonder we haven’t even noticed that Heath (who?) has been missing for months.

It’s practically a death sentence anytime a side character is the least bit fleshed out (pun intended) on this show. RIP to Beth, Abraham, Lori, Andrea, Tyrese, Spencer, T-Dog, Bob, Dale and all the other interchangeable faces that have come and gone. We barely knew ye.

Of course a show set in the zombie apocalypse has to maintain a steady diet of causalities; I appreciate the difficulty of living up to that expectation from week-to-week. But character deaths should take an emotional toll on the viewer because they feel like they’ve gotten to know these characters and they’ve come to care about them. It shouldn’t feel like monotonous one offs (say goodbye to Sasha as actress Sonequa Martin-Green booked the lead gig on Star Trek: Discovery). More importantly, in the rare occasion that viewers do feel for a character, their deaths shouldn’t be used as a cheap cliffhanger ratings ploy (shout out to Abraham and Glenn, y’all deserved better).

I’m not here to poo-poo all over your favorite show because I like feeling superior. I just think the most-watched series on television should actually be, you know, good. C’mon America, we’re smarter than this. We don’t need to be as brain dead as these mindless walkers.

I get that The Walking Dead is popular, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

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