But something went wrong along the way, and this season is the first time that I've purposely missed episodes. Everyone has their own opinion, but this is why my interest in the Walking Dead has been waning.
The Firing Of Frank Darabont
Frank Darabont did a great job of introducing us to these characters but was let go by AMC in the middle of filming season 2. The writers of the show even teased the fans in the episode Judge, Jury and Executioner. The characters on the show were divided regarding what to do with the fate of a young prisoner named Randall. Some wanted to spare him and others wanted to kill him. A similar argument happened when Darabont was let go; some cast and crew wanted him to stay but other personel wanted him gone. The character Dale became walker chow in this episode because his actor, Jeffrey DeMunn, wanted out of the show due to Darabont's departure. Funny how the writers put their real life drama into the show and in both scenarios, DeMunn made his exit.
However, Glenn Mazarra swiftly replaced Darabont, and the ratings stayed high. Mazarra didn't like flashbacks and rarely used them, but he did increase the show's action and pacing. Under Mazarra's direction, the Walking Dead became an action show. Season 3 moves at such a fast pace that the TV series had almost caught up with the comics and season 4 had to do some stalling, but I'll get to that later.
Glenn Mazarra left the show before Season 4 started, and Scott Gimple took his place as showrunner. I'm not saying it's primarily Scott's fault, but it was during his tenure that we started to have some bad episodes. After the attack on the prison, the show increasingly began to focus only on certain characters for each episode. For example, we might have an episode focusing on Rick, Carl and Michonne one week, then the next episode is about Daryl and Beth, then we have an episode about Glenn, Tara, Abraham, etc. Basically, you only get to see your favorite characters once a month!
That is one of my main hang-ups. In season 3, there were plenty of episodes that swung back and forth between the prison group and Woodbury. Why can't the show do that now? You can have an episode that keeps you updated on all the characters in different locations. But lately, we'll get an episode all about Daryl being tortured as a prisoner, and then next week we'll get an episode devoted only to Tara.
Don't Insult Your Fans, Please
I could be wrong, but it looks like the show is desperate to keep viewers, but its methods are having the opposite effect. The ratings have been sinking lower and lower each week. To me, the show has not been the same since Darabont left. And all of my favorite characters, (Shane, Dale, Hershel, etc) are all long dead. The show's original cast and characters were the best, in this writer's opinion.
But what really disgusted me is their lack of interest in developing his character. T-Dog had a lot of lines in the first season and the first half of the second. He was featured as much as any of the regular supporting characters. And then, after zombie Sophia emerged from the barn, T-Dog suddenly went mute. When Glenn Mazzara took over the show, T-Dog had no lines or contributions whatsoever. It got to the point where fans joked about this on the regular. But again, when Frank Darabont was producing the show, T-Dog had plenty of lines.
I don't like how T-Dog how never developed. I felt like the writers were keeping him around because they had big plans for him later, and were getting the Rick/Lori/Shane storyline out of the way. After all, Beth and Carol were initially background characters who eventually got developed and became strong. This wasn't true for T-Dog. The writers kept him around just to suddenly kill him off after three seasons. It's a shame because we didn't know much about him, and he was doing a great job as the group's enforcer in season 3. While Daryl was Rick's right-hand man, T-Dog stepped up as the group's muscle. I think AMC regretted killing T-Dog with no development, because the other male African American characters since him (Bob, Morgan, Tyreese, Father Gabriel, etc) got plenty of character development and impacted the show's stories greatly.
Also, the character of Andrea became a stupid slut, sleeping with the Governor even when she knew of his evil nature. But in the first two seasons, Andrea was one of the show's best characters, becoming a walker assasin under the tutelge of Shane. This is getting redundant, but again, things went wrong when Darabont left.
I'm on a roll so I'll keep going. Props to you if you're sticking with me this far. I think The Governor storyline went on far too long, beginning in early season 3 and not ending until the season 4 mid-season finale. The Governor was not a bad villian per se, but it felt like he was only there to be a villian. He was a lunatic and his reasons for it are kind of understood, but Shane was the more interesting and realistic villian by far. He was Rick's best friend, and he betrayed him. People like that are the worst kind of villains because they know you're vulnerabilities. When a person close enough to you to be your brother does the same things that Shane did, it can be a lot more dangerous than someone who randomly pops up to antagonize you. Shane's gradual slip into madness was very believable and understood. If he didn't have his obsession with Lori, he would have been an awesome leader.
But looking back at things, Shane was ahead of his time. His calls were a bit more brutal (killing Otis, freeing the walkers from Hershel's barn, etc) but they were the right calls. Rick was still holding on to his humanity when Shane was increasingly becoming hostile, but he began to change after Zombie Sophia emerged from the barn. In the following episode when he killed Dave and Tony in that bar, we knew that Rick was becoming a darker character. Later, when Rick killed Shane, he became Shane. Rick became the darker, ruthless leader that the group really needed; the guy that Shane was pushing him to be.
Around the same time, Daryl Dixon's character was becoming more of the anti-hero. If you take a closer look at the Better Angels episode, you see that Daryl was already becoming Rick's right hand man even before Shane's death. Daryl stepped up in a big way when he put down Dale, which Shane, (as Rick's second in command) should have done. It's the little smart, subtle changes in the characters like this that kept me intrigued with the show for so many years.
The season 7 mid-season finale is tonight. I hope it doesn't disappoint. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the show so far. It's not too late to turn things around.