The Walking Dead will officially be hanging up its ass-kicking boots at the end of season 11 and quite honestly, I was absolutely gutted when I first heard the news.
But, after careful consideration, I think it’s the right thing to do.
I have been watching this show since I was 13 years old, which is basically just short of half my life, and it has been that one series I have looked forward to every single year – apart from Bake Off, of course.
From tuning in with my parents with a huge bag of cheesy Doritos, the Rick Grimes fronted franchise has carried me through high school, college and university, where I switched up my snack to a pint of cider and a Chinese takeaway.
No matter what was going on in my life, it would always be an autumnal ritual to watch The Walking Dead every single week, kickstarting winter (aka Christmas) – and let’s just say, Daryl Dixon has seen me through a lot.
As hard as it will be saying goodbye to the series, I do actually think this is a good move for the franchise, especially after the showrunner Angela Kang announced that there would be a Daryl and Carol spin-off – the only two original characters left on the show that have formed such a special friendship throughout the past 10 years.
So, there is no need to lose hope just yet.
We all know that the ratings have dropped considerably since Jeffrey Dean Morgan joined as the villain Negan right at the end of the sixth season (don’t worry hun, it’s not you) – before he went and completely annihilated fan-favourite Glenn in the season seven premiere (okay, maybe it is).
Since then, it seemed we were long past the golden age of The Walking Dead, with not many of the original characters left and Samantha Morton’s Alpha being our only light at the end of a very dark tunnel when the introduction of her character injected life back into the series in 2019.
But, even when Alpha and her dead flesh-covered tribe, the Whisperers, did eventually make their appearance, their eerie presence wore thin fast – and it left me pining for another bad guy like David Morrissey’s Governor, who almost brutally murdered the protagonist Rick (Andrew Lincoln) before the show’s hero was saved by his girlfriend Michonne (Danai Gurira).
I’m intrigued to see if the new Whisperer leader Beta (Ryan Hurst), who took Alpha’s place once she died, comes anywhere close to filling The Governor’s shoes as he takes on Daryl and his group in the season 10 finale.
On top of this, all of the characters are spread out in Alexandra, The Hilltop, and The Kingdom as well as their own little missions, so it just feels as though the show is lacking that family vibe it started out with where Rick, Carol, Daryl Carl, Shane, Maggie, Beth, Andrea, and even Dale spent their days on Hershel’s farm.
As King Ezekiel star Khary Payton said, all good things must come to an end, and I think executive producer Scott Gimple has made the right call by bringing the show to a head before it morphs into something completely different to what it was when it first started out.
In a way, the decision has saved the series, giving the cast and crew the opportunity to deliver the send-off it deserves instead of the episodes fizzling into nothingness, or the network, AMC, cracking down on the show and axing it without warning.
And now that we have a Carol and Daryl spin-off on its way, it looks as though bosses can actually focus on the plot that has secured a life long fandom – the one that people care about the most.
I have really high hopes for the new venture, and I’m desperately wanting it to become The Walking Dead 2.0; allowing the writers to scrap all the irrelevant storylines that are hitting a number of dead ends (I’m looking at you Rosita and Gabriel after your unexpected romance); explore Daryl and Carol’s relationship tenfold, and hone in on the humanity of the franchise, instead of it being a show about zombies.
Because let’s be serious, while the walkers are a huge part of the story, it is the relationships and friendships of the characters that are truly at the heart of the show and what actually drives the series.
And who knows, maybe some familiar faces will resurface in the spin-off? I’m not ruling anything out, and I think this move could be a breath of fresh air that is well needed.
The Walking Dead season 10 will continue on AMC and NOW TV October 4.
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