We’re now through seven seasons of The Walking Dead, and the once-great zombie apocalypse survival show just doesn’t quite hold our interest the way it used to. It still does massive ratings numbers for AMC, but from an entertainment standpoint, it’s getting harder and harder to stay tuned in every week.
One of our biggest complaints (recently, anyway), was the way the episodes in Season Seven were structured. The show would use an entire episode to show the events of one (or just a few) characters, completely ignoring everyone else. The goal was probably for the audience to build deeper relationships with the characters they did see on-screen, but the result was actually much different. After not seeing Daryl or Ezekiel (for example) for three or four weeks, audiences began to lose interest in their story arcs.
We suggested, as have others, that The Walking Dead take cues from Game of Thrones. The hit HBO series also has multiple characters engaging in various plot points, all over the fictional maps of Westeros and Essos. Yet each episode usually checks in on most (or all) of them, allowing viewers to stay invested in each character and their motivations.
Scott Gimple, the Walking Dead showrunner, recently told Entertainment Weekly that Season Eight will offer a change of pace.
“By virtue of the fact that the narrative has turned into one of pretty intense conflict,” he said, “it’s going to affect the structure in ways that make it a bit more kinetic, a bit more breakneck — shifting away from entire stories in one episode, and sort of fractured over several episodes, with little pieces of each story coming together.”
“So, yeah, things are going to move, and possibly not have the kind of deep dives into characters in single episodes, but rather laying out the pieces as we go on.”
The real problem is that some of the characters just aren’t interesting. The episodes that have exclusively featured Morgan have been some of the best. But an entire episode of Tara visiting Oceanside? No thanks.
Season Eight begins production on May 1, and will likely debut on television sometime around Halloween, as per usual.