LOS ANGELES. – These days, mention of The Walking Dead is usually followed by an eye roll.
Then a groan.
And then the words: “That show got so, so bad!”
This happens a lot with initially adored shows. Lost, Homeland and ER were all wholeheartedly embraced in their early seasons, before being met with lazy criticisms as they went on.
What is true is that The Walking Dead started out as a moderately sized graphic novel adaptation and coalesced into a franchise as huge as the horde of zombies its characters repeatedly tried to outrun.
It followed Mad Men and Breaking Bad as a firm, if unlikely, critical darling for AMC.
It enjoyed this feat for six seasons, by which point, it was the most-viewed show in the US. Then season seven arrived.
It’s well documented that the gratuitously violent season seven première, which aired in 2016, slashed the show’s viewership clean in half.
The episode, which spearheaded a two-season arc centred on Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s baseball bat-swinging antagonist Negan, was watched by 17 million – the show’s highest-ever rating.
By season nine, only four million were tuning in each week.
In 2019, it was announced that The Walking Dead would come to an end, and on Sunday, the last ever episode aired.
It was a lightning-paced, nostalgic watch that’s sure to avoid placements on those “dreadful series finale” lists.
But, more importantly, the finale proved that those who jumped ship have missed out.
People are quick to assume that The Walking Dead stayed bad without exploring whether that was actually the case.
Under the guidance of showrunner Angela Kang, very much a saving grace, the series learned from its mistakes and, with season nine, confidently returned to its original mini-season-within-a-season format that had kept viewers on their toes for six terrific seasons.
It even went on to show it could survive without its two lead stars, Andrew Lincoln and Black Panther’s Danai Gurira, who departed as Rick and Michonne in recent years. – MSN.