Steven LaBella, Staff Writer
“The Walking Dead” was the number one television show going into season seven, with a a highly anticipated premiere that hit 17.3 million viewers. Ever since the episode “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” during season seven, ratings have plummeted. In a stark contrast from the previous all time high, the season eight premiere experienced a 33% drop in ratings and has left AMC wondering how the show took such a bad turn.
Although the show’s storyline has shifted gears, the show has improved the quality of character portrayal and special effects. Show production maintains the same award winning quality, perhaps even more so since the new seasons.
Past viewers argue that they stopped watching altogether, due to a lack of interest in the show, but some have come out and stated that the arrival of Negan has ruined the show entirely. People argue that some of his scenes have been lackluster. During the season, the popular comic character made his impact immediately. He killed off two of the most popular main characters, Glenn and Abraham, using a barbed-wire baseball bat named Lucille.
While the ratings of the show do not reflect that the production quality has declined, it can be attributed to the erasure of beloved main characters and the addition of a new member. Despite the popular distaste for the new character, current viewers have actually praised Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s portrayal of Negan, nominating him for a Critics’ Choice Award.
Another potential cause for the possible dissatisfaction can be the protagonist, Rick, who has been dethroned by Negan. By using mental games, Negan has broken down Rick, even using his son Carl as a taunting technique. For years, fans have viewed Rick as a strong character that demands the respect of others, but the new season has flipped the script. With Rick out of power, and Negan in full control, the show has assumed an unfamiliar feeling.
Overall, since “The Walking Dead” has made its anticipated return, the show’s atmosphere has changed. Although this may be because of Negan making his appearance, it does not seem to be a valid reason for the ratings to take such a huge dip. Despite the change in direction, many fans will continue to tune in every Sunday to hear the familiar words: “Previously on AMC’s The Walking Dead…”