Just Me and The Walking Dead
As I was just saying in the shoutbox, every now and then for the past however long I've remembered that The Walking Dead is still a thing, probably because I saw a /tv/ post or something. I check in, and to my surprise it's not dwindling off or dying, it's bigger. There are two more shows one hundred episodes between them since the last time I checked. This has happened repeatedly.

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Look. It just happened again. I didn't even know all of these. I was prompted to make this by learning about 'World Beyond'. I thought that was weird. What the hell is 'Dead City'?

There is a lot going on with The Walking Dead. I am going to look at this from multiple directions at once. Any that interests me. If you'd care to contribute please do the same. No wrong answers here.

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Anyway, the main series, we'll start there, ran for 177 episodes. That's pretty impressive. How many did you watch? I remember being somewhat interested this. I had looked at the actual comic this is based on since it had zombies had was about the only interesting premise around in western comics at the time. I tried reading a few western comics around this time and I don't think I fondly remember a single one.

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It's not manga, but it's something. I suppose the fact it didn't occur to me to write a post on this after having devoted however much space in the manga thread to the subject of doing "zombies" in comics tells you how much of an impact it ultimately made upon me. If you read it like everyone reads manga now, in big blocks online, it'll pass quickly and probably make zero impact. And also compare very badly to manga you could be reading.

But the comic was only so successful. I suppose it did okay for one considering how long it ran. Like all American comics it was written by a beardfat who looks like this.

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I normally find the idea of a western comics writer absurd, since the Japanese tend to do both writing and drawing most of the time while also being way better at it. This guy I'll give some credit. He clearly had about as much taste as one could hope for considering his circumstances and was generally ahead of the curve in reading and pleasing the public.

Quote:Kirkman was born November 30, 1978,[sup][3][/sup] in Lexington, Kentucky, and was raised in Cynthiana, Kentucky.[sup][7][/sup]

Kirkman was a fan of zombie films such as the Night of the Living Dead series and Zombi 2 as well as zombie video games such as Resident Evil.[sup][8][/sup]

Guy from Kentucky born in 1978 who lives on pop media. He at least has the sense to sift out the better parts. George Romero and Lucio Fulci were excellent filmmakers, and Resident Evil is a brilliant video game. He made a few not particularly interesting western comics that are boring in the ways they all are, but pitched and wrote two weirder and edgier ideas that are now massively successful. One is The Walking Dead, the other is Invincible. Yes, the thing with the moustache superhero man twitter browns like for some reason. Yes, it's kind of lame, but why I give him credit is that he had these ideas in 2003. That's kind of like someone coming up with Rick & Morty in 2003. I think it's an impressive read on latent cultural potential and momentum.

Robert Kirkman is an American pop culture beardfat. But of that type, he's perhaps the most advanced. Filling something closest to real entertainment niches in American culture. He thought "edgy superheroes" and "long form black and white zombie character drama" and man were those ideas with legs.

If you don't quite get my feelings on Kirkman, read this

Quote:Kirkman was a fan of zombie films such as the Living Dead series and Zombi 2 as well as zombie video games such as Resident Evil.[sup][6][/sup] The original pitch by Kirkman and Moore was for a follow-up to George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, with the series taking place in the 1960s.[sup][7][/sup] Image Comics co-founder Jim Valentino suggested using an original concept instead so the creators would own the property outright.[sup][7][/sup] The pitch was revised into an original story, taking a more traditional approach to a modern zombie survival tale. The revised pitch was again rejected, however, for being too "normal". Kirkman then pitched it again with a new added twist that the plague was sent by aliens, and that the comic would be more of an alien invasion story. Kirkman had no intention of making the comic about aliens, but felt that the lie was necessary to get the comic published, which it did.[sup][8][/sup]

He basically saw the same cultural niche I described in my post on '68, and tried to make a plain proposal for that. He got rejected until he tactically beardfatted the pitch sufficiently for his beardfat editors and superiors to feel excited. "WOWEE ZOWEE, ALIEN ZOMBIES!" This is where we were at in 2003. Kirkman was trying to drag his weak and vestigial little world into the future and I think he deserves full credit for that.

Kirkman makes this thing, it seems to do pretty well as far as an American comic go, then 6 or so years in AMC buys the rights and want to make a tv show. Now, there's a question of to what extent was there a desire for a specifically Robert Kirkman's 'The Walking Dead' show as opposed to a 'zombie show', were these rights expensive or strongly taken advantage of in the show they eventually made? Kind of hard to call.

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The first season of this show really took on a character of its own due to a very strong creative executive in Frank Darabont.

Darabont is not a great master of cinema. But he's a very solid guy. Lots of successful genre work behind him as a writer and a couple of directed features, one of which happens to be considered the greatest film of all time by certain popular metrics.

He was an experienced production leader who had a lot of success doing pop horror and Steven King adaptations and relatively high-concept TV. He was pretty much perfect for this. And he was totally on board with the thing. He wasn't disrespectful of the source material, more like he was so inspired he was bouncing off of it to the point the show took on a life of its own, expanding and growing in new directions. The first episodes are the start of the comic but bigger, and promising more. He wanted more grounded human drama, and more extreme episodes of zombie survival scenarios.

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Darabont's version of Rick's entry into the city resembles the events of the comics, but a but bigger and more dramatic. His horse gets eaten and he runs and gets helped by the Korean guy. Only in the show Rick gets stuck in a tank with this soldier zombie. This little episode with soldier zombie is a neat little scenario. But that zombie is actually played by a real actor, not some random extra or stunt guy. That's Sam Witwer. Yeah, you probably haven't heard of him. But he's someone who was trusted to carry episodes of the show down the line.

Quote:Sam was to supposedly reprise his role as the walker in the tank in Season 2. He would be the main cast for the two first episodes of the season and it would be like the Twilight Zone episodes, where the main characters, like Andrea and Amy would be seen as cameos. Sam's character would get bit and his death would be depicted, thus explaining how Atlanta fell. However, due to Darabont getting fired by AMC at the start of Season 2, the idea was never filmed.[1]

This leads into why I'm talking about the production side so much. It leads into the show's primary nature and place in culture. Darabont was fired. And with this firing came a massive scaling down in both creative ambition and the scale of the production. But don't take my word for it. Here's Sam Witwer, clearly very pissed off. Look how aggressively he's sitting in this chair.

"It's really, really ugly what happened."

I really recommend listening to all of this if you want the rundown on what this was under Darabont and could have been if he was kept around. Darabont was a passionate and driven champion of the people who make this stuff happen. Crew and such clearly love him and feel personal loyalty when working with him. He was bouncing off the walls with original ideas and attracting far more support and talent than would have been drawn in by just AMC's raw budget...

And AMC still cut and cut until eventually they fired him.

The first season was a lot of setting up, it was still tv, they could only do so much. But you can feel this loss of direction and ambition immediately in Season 2 if you ask me. I felt it at the time and didn't bother watching beyond an episode of it. Wasn't even crazy about season 1, but it was clearly trying.

One can imagine this scene being enthusiastically pitched and assembled.

And having been flipping through stuff from the entire course of the show's production, there's really nothing that feels remotely like it after this season. The entire rest of the show from here onwards is people walking through the woods in summer or having tense confrontations in front of some rundown rural property in which nothing really happens.

The Walking Dead Season 2 opens with the cast leaving the city where things were happening in the first season for six episodes, they get disrupted in the first episode, find a farm in the second... and then spend another eleven episodes there. Compare that to Frank Darabont's ambition. "Black Hawk Down with zombies". The cast are trying very hard to sell this, and some novelty and excitement were drawn out of this. Jon bernthal is a real one so who locally burns the fuck out of the scenery whenever he's on screen.

This is about the peak of the show's drama post-Darabont. Doesn't quite measure up to what could have been, does it? But the show just... kept getting bigger.

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[this chart I stole from reddit goes to season 8, the decline continues from there]

The show really bleeds out viewership towards its ending, but that seems as much attributable to the decline of the American Cable TV format as anything to do with the show itself.

Now, the show itself. Let's actually talk about that. Not its roots, or what it could have been, but what it was for this entire big successful middle reign. Post-Darabont The Walking Dead.

It's a show about people in raggedy cowboy clothes having frontier conflicts which mostly consist of walking through the woods in summer and not doing anything too expensive.

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Pretty much any given moment in the show looks like this. Really specifically this.

What do you see? If you see a man and a woman outside you're starting. But let's be really specific. You see a black woman with dreads and mall-ninja gear and a cowboy man who's just exotic enough to be interesting and exciting to a completely provincial audience (actor is a British guy with a bit of presence, despite playing a lead in an American series). This show gets very weird and very stupid very quickly.

It's a frontier show. There's always been some element of neo-western in the post apocalypse premise, latent if not expressed. At times this show feels like normalfags have been tricked into watching Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman again. Other times it's a very violent but also oddly sterile cowboys and indians story with brief spikes of superficial masochism, that never truly feels mean or violent no matter what's happening on screen. Other times it's just a night time soap opera that's a bit overproduced. Point of all this being, it's not super compelling or ambitious programming.

What are people watching for then? I think obviously there's the inertia of being there until people are invested. And there are also weird pathological drives and angles of appeal emerging as we go. This show is diverse. In a way that at first feels perhaps incidental, and then becomes very obvious and weird. It's set in the American South-East. I believe that's where the black people are. So their presence kind of makes sense. There are a lot of them. Maybe not an absurd number. Also there are Asians. More Asians than hispanics. Maybe that reflects this part of America, I really don't know. Also disabled people start showing up. Yeah it gets weird. Even wikipedia has a section devoted to its diversity.


Quote:Some critics have commented on the increasing diversity of the series.[sup][237][/sup][sup][238][/sup][sup][239][/sup] This approach was initially applauded by commentators.[sup][237][/sup][sup][238][/sup] In 2015, Lindsay Putnam of the New York Post questioned whether the show was in danger of becoming "too diverse" as the show "seemingly reached critical mass for its nonwhite, nonmale survivors — and now has no choice but to kill them off".[sup][237][/sup] Robert Kirkman has discussed the increasing diversity of the show and the comic books. He has described how he regrets the lack of diversity in the early issues of the comic book series and explained how they would have been "vastly more diverse" if he were to have started them now.[sup][240][/sup]

Yes, if you introduce so many diverse coded characters that they're your entire incidental cast (non-villain) and much of your main cast, and this show runs on constant killing off, diverse people will start dying. A kind of dilemma there. This show has lots of these introduced, so it also has to either kill them or suffer a cancerous bloat of black and deaf women until the show has 300 characters.

I don't really know if this is too appreciated. I think that since it's tv a few fairly dumb people are in control. And maybe, since it's tv, it's watched mostly by lower elements of society, and this kind of crass signalling would appeal specifically to provincial idiots into only the most crass and outdated leftist pandering. I get the impression that this show is for hicks, which means that the women watching also probably have hicklib sympathies (or are non-white and the rest themselves). And when I say hick I mean real hicks, people not even neurotic enough to develop a warehouseman's aversion to this. May not have heard the term "woke" before this main show ended. In fact let me check.

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There we go. About exactly what I expected.

I put it to a few people already, I imagine all of the people dbdr met when he went South being The Walking Dead viewers. Millions of these burned out and forgotten people drinking twisted tea and rotting. Look at these thumbnail people. I think these images say more than I could myself on this matter.

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[also, have this random Red Dead Redemption thumbnail because youtube is a toilet]

In these thumbnails I see fat black guys, filler men, and particularly dumb looking women.

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Something about this show is grabbing this kind of person. I mentioned the characters above, I think there's something to that.

The dynamic I see driving this show, is that at pretty much all times it revolves around and is driven by three exceptional white men, with the rest of the supporting cast being a kind of idealised reflection of what would come to be its viewership.

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Rick Grimes. Our original lead. He starts out a sheriff or whatever, police officer. Then after the world falls apart he has to learn what it means to wield authority and responsibility when everything his old status and position rested upon are gone. That could lead to some interesting human drama. Or we could fire Frank Darabont, put him in Leon Kennedy's Resident Evil 4 jacket and rely on the fact our audience have never seen a lean English guy before and let that do the dazzling, while he shoots a bunch of nobody characters and has pointless yelling matches with people. His presence strikes me as very English. You may disagree, but I think it explains some of his enduring presence and impact. He's credited as James Lincoln, but his name's really James Clutterbuck. Good thing he changed that. Might have given up the game and made people insecure.

Yes I do think the audience are particularly into this guy. Let's go back to the two characters pictured together above.

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These two characters. The lead, English sheriff man, and one of the female leads of the main cast, mall ninja. This element is a tv show original, comics weren't this advanced. They end up fucking, then married and having a mulatto son. I don't have it on hand but I remember on /tv/ seeing a compilation of tweets from black women following the show who thought this was the coolest thing ever.

Now I'm not saying that the entire show was built up to send some kind of long game race mixing message with these two. I think they just leaned into the cards they found themselves holding as the show went on. Mall ninja was still around, and she was a great empowered and idealised self insert for their southern mulatta trash audience, and Rick Grimes was still around and single, and had a kind of exotic allure to their female viewership. Easy tv setup.

Back to the other half of what I said, the rest of the cast being a kind of idealised reflection of the types you see in the reaction videos. The other women in the show, one of the first to get development is Carol. She's an abused wife whose husband is killed early on. Her growing into self reliance, strength, and responsibility rather than decrepitude and twisted tea consumption was surely nice for the white ladies watching. And as you see above, black mall ninja does quite well for herself. And various increasingly strange women who can be described with more diverse adjectives join and go through increasingly empowering transformations. And there's one other type I want to note.

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Don't worry fat black pop culture guy. We've got you covered too. It feels like there are at least six of these and they're all basically the same person. Very fundamentally good guys who go through some struggles and self doubt but learn to come through for everyone. Like women standing up for themselves, isn't that just very nice and something that can be repeated indefinitely as a side plot?

These characters are all fine. The show isn't about them. Next exceptional.

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It's evil baseball bat man, Negan!

Before this guy the show already had a winner with 'The Governor', evil eyepatch man. Also a white guy with a strong and memorable presence. I suppose I should briefly cover him.

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This guy got to kill established characters, chew scenery, and have lots of screentime. The show's form was less steady during his run around Season 3 and maybe 4. Kind of cheap and location bound. An abandoned prison and a little town in season 3 mostly. This guy having lots of goons and mean intentions meant lots of cheap gang encounters could be staged in various woods clearings and abandoned southern junk buildings. But the fact some weirdo with a unique presence beyond being an affable fat black guy or woman with minor character flaws to overcome meant he was the most human and interesting element in the show in his time. I have heard that Thomas777 has said something to this effect before. Again, no records, believe or disbelieve. My primary point still stands. This guy was kind of like a proto-Negan.

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Then actual Negan gets to make his entrance by killing a guy who showed up in the pilot episode.

Negan enters this world of affable diverse and minority adventurers who if not disrupted by his kind would just be restaging Doctor Quinn, and beats heads in with a baseball bat named 'Lucille'. And people fucking loved it as far as I can tell. The drama of knowing someone would die led to a massive viewership spike, and following that the most viewable element in the show seemed to be this guy. Much loved for his charisma and the unpredictable element his character represented in the story. Like The Governor he is allowed to have some very strange and extreme stuff going on in his head, he's allowed to do extreme things, and, in true trash media fashion, he becomes another protagonist.

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Here he is carrying a spinoff. This man is The Walking Dead's Vegeta. When you're the season's new tall enigmatic white man they let you do it.

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And here he is with his obligatory post-redemption black wife. The communitay has heard that he is sorry and believes he means better. Yes, they also have a mulatto son now.

Now that that's out of the way we can get to what this post is really about. The Man. Mister Walking Dead. The man who might as well be the show, while the show might as well be him.

Daryl Dixon, AKA Norman Reedus. Look at this French video. Even they introduce him as the character first and the actor second, while interviewing the actor at length. Look, the vessel of Daryl speaks!

It's kind of a shame he's treated like this, since he's probably the most interesting actor in the show, and one of the more interesting American actors around. He's an artist who got into acting, not an actor with pretensions in art. So when he talks he makes sense and expresses real interests. I didn't link the video to demonstrate that, but it is a good example if you're curious.

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Look at this early promotion image. You can tell it's early because of the higher effort with the colours of the image and rougher tone both visually and in details of his appearance. His hair is short and ragged, he actually looks a bit dirty, he has been hunting and killing things. He looks like more or a Darabont character at this point. An outsider who will maybe prove to have a heart of gold in a way that is human rather than facile or superhuman. But that starts to change very quickly as Darabont's influence bleeds out after his departure and the show needs to lean harder into gimmicks and pandering to survive and have an identity.

Dixon has elements that could make him an OC superhuman. He's got a weird gimmick weapon, a natural outsider status, gets around on a motorcycle rather than a car, is very handsome but presented in a way that kind of suggests that's hard to notice without actually doing anything to obscure it. But he soon becomes a kind of superhuman fantasy. I mark this transition by his hair growth.

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Also he starts wearing vests and opened shirts now and spends all of his time stoically shouldering other peoples' burdens, saving lost children, being extraordinarily practically useful. There are some attempts for a couple more seasons to give him some conflict and internal dynamics, his relationship with his far more authentically redneck feeling brother Merle. But as time passes he starts to become more and more something we've discussed before.

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Kind of.

Daryl takes on a really heroic role as this story goes on. Not because he does anything that extraordinary at any one given time or goes through any epic personal struggles. More like the opposite. He's just always there. Always prominent. Always competent. Always getting things done. Particularly he feels like a kind of folk hero in the universe of The Walking Dead. He's like their Ip Man or Drunken Master. This guy who travels in circles, wanders into peoples' lives, exercises some extraordinary competence, maybe saves a day in some less significant way, moves on in his own way. The show is never his show, but that makes his presence feel more mythical and strange.

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Daryl does actually have sex at one point I think, but he spends most of his time on the show reclusive, reserved, platonic in his few close relations. I honestly think they feel the need to keep him free for the fans on some level and that this one episode of sex with a doomed minor character could have been to at the same time assure them he's not another one of their diversity gays.

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[just friends. don't worry southern mulatta viewerbase, you're a chance]

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He gets some clothes with collars and a more distinguished covered look with these heavier dark clothes at times, maybe that doesn't look too supporting of my point, that he's a mythic hero but then look at this progression.

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Now he's Obi-Wan.

He's dressed so differently because he's travelling.

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We eventually get a spinoff in which the character is dressed like this standing in front of fallen monuments. "Hope is not lost". This is not a practical or reasonable plot development for the team's handy reliable supporting backbone. This is a mythical journey across the ocean for a living legend. This man does not participate in a plot anymore. He has arcs.

How did this happen? Look back to his first image in which he looks like a Darabont character. Who saw this coming? Or the other ten spinoffs I suppose?

The Daryl one is the most interesting, since their kind of lazy writing and allowing the actor's charisma to take over turned him into a kind of larger than life figure from below their attention. But we've also got broader plots emerging about different regions of America, and as I understand it, the fate of the country and the world are coming into play now. Through laziness and sheer survival and accrual of plots, The Walking Dead is now forced to confront bigger ideas again. Will it do so well, will it do any justice to these stakes? Very possibly not. But even if it's bad, this thing is still big. And it has weight, history, and a kind of prestige behind it now that makes it in its own way complex.

Complex, but it's still way too long and stupid to be worth the time. But now we can tie this into another old amarnacept.

Don't worry if you haven't seen the show. I haven't either. This should only take you a few days if viewed in pieces. And the presenter kind of reminds me of Ross Scott if he was a retarded English guy. His thoughts as he goes are another layer of sociology. What does a more informed and advanced but still kind of dumb mind make of this show in retrospect, while also trying to entertain you? And of course all of the shows million spinoffs have videos like this too. Walking Dead: Hispanic Edition (AKA Fear the Walking Dead), Escape From Walking New York, the video games that are movies probably have these too (we didn't even go into those yet, important obamacore phenomena), there is so much Walking Dead to show you.

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I watched the first season on AMC and wanted to see how they would handle the big picture aspects of the story, and then never returned because they dropped those in favor of just focusing on this group of survivors wandering around.
As I said, so much to show you all. There's still more to mention.

obscurefish Wrote:I watched the first season on AMC and wanted to see how they would handle the big picture aspects of the story, and then never returned because they dropped those in favor of just focusing on this group of survivors wandering around.

Yes, the show as it was quickly became unwatchably boring. I saw nothing to hold my interest at the time. A comic can be read very quickly even in its slumps. While this show just became hours of people walking through forest clearings and standing outside old rural structures. The interest in this is all retrospective. As a piece of the greater phenomena of what The Walking Dead it's picked up new angles from which to be studied. More is going on.

Now as I said yesterday, I think I wanted to raise three more points for now. I'll do at least one here.

I made a big deal of Frank Darabont's replacement since he was so obviously the engine of the original show. But I didn't go into what happened after him.

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The series had three more showrunners after Darabont, but they all feel mostly interchangeable. All of these people emerged from within the greater production. No new vision was allowed in to impose itself. These people were all in somewhat high up production and writing roles and rose as the thing went on. Yes, as you're probably already thinking, the most interesting stuff comes up with Angela Kang in charge. She was there all along, but you get some real Asian American Woman from the Writing Room ideas when she's shot-caller. Would these things have happened with someone else in the top seat? Probably, since it sounds like firing Darabont was more like a rejection of the idea of having a showrunner at all. But this does get very funny.

Ninth to eleventh season. What was going on then? First season is Darabont attempting something radical with tv, high concept stuff. Two and three are basically low energy parasite successor show to Darabont's idea. Four to eight things get sillier and pulpier and bigger (not higher concept, more like the show just accruing characters and plotlines over time), then by nine to eleven this really starts feeling like something else. Weird branching superstory about the fate of the world, we are now well and truly a story about SOCIETY again, which means we can do SOCIAL ISSUES. We have characters who have been with the audience for a decade now. People are invested to a strange degree, Daryl is a new American folk hero, a bunch of weird LOST conspiracy stuff is going on, there are entire cities which have been rebuilt across America now. The Walking Dead can be basically anything now, but rather than Darabont's edgy original plans, it's just a giant pile of kitsch and lazy stringing alongs built over time.

So where does the show end? After something like 175 episodes where do these people who have been with us for over ten years find themselves at the end of their journey? What does Angela Kang have in store for us? How do you send off what is now an established part of the American pop cultural landscape? How do all of these years of survival and struggle culminate..? 

Are you ready for the final boss of The Walking Dead? I don't think you are. I wasn't.

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The first post already covers the most important point about this series, that it's basically two different shows (perhaps even three but we'll save that for later) held together by a name and a few surviving characters. Darabont and post-Darabont. If anyone here had the patience to dig through years of articles and reaction videos I think you'd find the mulatto-ification of the fanbase correlates with these cut-off points quite well. For now you'll have to rely on [source: Dude trust me]. Of course, anything of quality in this series can be traced back to this original showrunner. Even the most enduring character Daryl was his invention, after Norman auditioned for Merle but wasn't quite right for the role. Anthony mentioned the military's mysterious collapse in the manga thread and how much of a blow that was to his suspension of disbelief, well he wanted to cover this too from what I've heard, but AMC had other plans. That's enough establishing his vision though, as I'd like to move onto the bellwether of the show's quality that stands out the most to me.

That would be the dialogue. Let's watch some clips from the first season.
Here the audience meets Daryl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij9klrQggBc
And here we see his brother's first appearance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JSZxeJ5MZw
Generally, I think the dialogue here makes a clear attempt to feel natural. This is a survival drama where the disaster happens to be zombies, and you can see believable character archetypes try to deal with this using their own skill-sets. I think it largely accomplished this. You'll also notice that it avoids the very American compulsion to never allow a silent moment. Another seemingly small detail I've picked up is that the staff decided to set the series in an alternate present where zombie media doesn't exist, presumably to avoid any "Wow just like in my favorite zombie movie!". Yet another divergence from the source material and this choice being made during a time when Joss Whedon style writing was beginning to pick up steam also feels significant to me. You'll notice some 2000s era anti-racism in the second scene but imo this is more a product of its time rather than tying into the recurring theme of The Resistance vs vague militaristic order that we see later in the franchise which was alluded to earlier in the thread.
Of course, this is mostly just to give you all a point of reference for what we see later.

Now, a scene from the final season, where the Korean guy's wife confronts his killer turned hero: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvJyyUxYxs0
Next, a scene from the sequel where we check in on Rick after he left the series via helicopter one day. Now with what appears to be a Cape Colored ally...somehow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RiEVxSb-wM
"I know that you killed my husband and saved my child. I will not forgive you but maybe I won't kill you." "After becoming a father, I finally understand your pain. I will now go be a wholesome chungus father figure somewhere else."
"I was involved in events. I had to do bad things like joining vague militaristic order. The old world is gone, but I still know that loved ones are important. You should not get yourself killed."
This all feels very ChatGPT but it's clearly not. You almost get a hint of funwaa but that's not correct either. It's all just so amateur. This may just be me but the pauses all feel very cloying in comparison to the ones in season one. Are these even characters at this point? This is clearly not a survival drama anymore. You're left watching floating signifiers like [heroic yet non-threatening White guy] and [capable non-White woman] play out the most stock events imaginable. Did I mention that The Resistanceleader is played by a composed, well spoken Black man in both cases? Let's not forget the focus on empathy. I almost feel sorry for the actors in the first scene as they're clearly trying. I encourage you all to chime in with your own observations here.

Now, you might think that this is mostly a case of studio drama causing quality to suffer in the process in addition to the lack of vision. They can't possibly want this, right?
Well you would be wrong, and I point your attention towards TWD: Hispanic Edition, which serves as a microcosm of all of the main series' faults. It starts out on a similar but less polished or ambitious premise and attempts to return to a survival drama format.
Here's an example, mostly just for context as I don't have much to praise or criticize here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQpHHAtguVc
Then, after three seasons, AMC repeats their meddling from the main series and replaces the showrunners with two inexperienced hires with only a few WB and ABC series to their names.
Here's the result: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgk0U9Q2X6U
As a final example of this franchise's decline I'd like to point out the increasing insistence on "signature weapons" throughout the show's run, all done at Scott Gimple's request. You start with Rick's colt python: subtle, believable, a tasteful choice. I could see someone like him carrying it in such a situation but it's not "in your face". Towards the end a Hispanic girl somehow gets a macuahuitl.
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I believe this speaks for itself.

To tie all of this up, I don't believe this is unique in any way. This is what the American media industry does, it sands down any one man's creative vision. It's just more noticeable here since it happened to an ambitious series that did enough things right at first to somehow survive the process. It was mentioned in another thread that in American comics the artists are considered fungible and they're often swapped around during a series' run without much fanfare. What you see here is an extension of that mentality. A man with a vision for a story, any creative talent, these are all incidental to a property in this world. A series is a name and a general premise, and the rest can be swapped out or altered as needed. There's been discussion on Americans being "spiritually sick" on this forum, and I wonder how much of that is due to a relatively small group of tasteless individuals like this controlling all the media that a normie would interact with from early childhood onward. Leaving aside any ideological messaging, what happens to a person who's bombarded with media that's more or less at a post-Darabont level?
A lot of the success of the show was just as a social activity. Far more women attended the viewings than men. Talking about "woke" this or "deviating from the comics" that detracts from the real genius of the Walking Dead; they took a show with zombies in it and got guys' girlfriends to watch it.

You can criticize the artistic integrity of turning the show into a soap opera: but it certainly worked.

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