Long gone are the days of the initial season of the Walking Dead. It makes me sad to think on my initial experience with The Walking Dead and how much that has changed over the years. I can still remember watching the pilot when Rick snaps out of the coma only to wake to an empty hospital with a broken clock and rooms filled with the undead. It was horrifying, enthralling, entertaining and all the while truly captivating – I was hooked immediately, tuning every week was not even a question at this point. 7 seasons later and I could not care less. What happened? What went wrong?
So many fans are pondering this exact question while only a handful of dedicated viewers still remain. The answer is quite simple – Frank Darabont. Ring a bell? Well this is the guy that brought us the Shawshank Redemption, the Green Mile and the Mist – massive movies which had very successful runs at the box office. Darabont was the reason why TWD is even on the air right now.
Back in 2005 Frank was walking along a street in Burbank California when he decided to walk into a comic book shop. Frank decided to check out an obscure at that time comic book “The Walking Dead” by Robert Kirkman. Frank was blown away but the source material and immediately envisioned the comic book becoming a TV series.
Flash forward 5 years to 2010. Frank has inked a deal with AMC becoming the show runner and agreeing to direct the pilot episode. The first season was a massive hit and just like me, millions of others viewers around the world were hooked. The pilot became one of the most watched pilots ever to air clocking at almost 5.3 million viewers. AMC had a smash hit and Frank’s image of a TV show inspired by Kirkman’s source material was coming to fruition.
One year later Frank was fired as the front runner. Initial reports had surfaced that perhaps scheduling was to blame as Frank was on the most in demand directors/producers in Hollywood. However these reports later turned out to be false as the reason he was fired was due to AMC’s desire to reduce the show’s budget. He and his agents have since filed a lawsuit against AMC seeking almost 280 Million in unpaid profits – wow.
This is painful obvious when you rewatch the show. After the first 6 episodes the show most certainly lost steam. Season 2 saw a massive downtick in ratings as the band of survivors headed to the farm house. The prison season as well as the addition of the governor certainly helped the show but it never reached the same tone and feel that the first season hit so effectively and filler episodes galore. Now we are in Season 7 with no end in sight. Every episode at this point now seems like an extension or a lame attempt in stretching out a pointless message. I’m reminded of writing essays in university finishing one after pulling an all-nighter only to realize that the word count is slightly less. Well what do you do at this point? Add random paragraphs that simply don’t add to the overall thesis or message. Stretch out words add additional letters and sentences where you can until finally your almost there. I can’t help but feel this in 90% of the episodes of TWD at this point. Every person locked into the show right now is simply waiting for the battle with Neagan. Last season we were waiting to see Neagan. This is all too reminiscent of hit shows that lost their former glory yet continued on anyways (khm-Lost).
One thing is for sure – I will probably keep watching this because I’m already so invested just please spare me any flash backs or single character episode arcs at this point – not sure how much more I can handle.
Come back Frank!