Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Walking Papers

Bad news for fans of The Walking Dead!

This week AMC announced that Andrew Lincoln, aka Rick Grimes, will be leaving the long-running zombie series after Season 9.

Lincoln's contract was actually up at the end of Season 8, but he's agreed to come back for one more season in a "limited capacity." That's Hollywood Speak for "he'll only be in eight or nine episodes."

Obviously this means Rick will be killed off, as it's unlikely the show would send him off on walkabout and leave the door open for his return.

Sounds like a good place to end the show to me. The ratings have been on a steady downhill decline since the beginning of Season 7, when many viewers tuned out for good after the gruesome death of fan-favorite character Glenn Rhee. I'd much rather see the show go out on a high note, rather than sputter and lurch to a stop, as we all know it will after Lincoln leaves. Nine years is a pretty good run for any show.

As for myself, I lost interest in it halfway through Season 8, when showrunner Scott Gimple made the bone-headed decision to kill off the character or Carl Grimes. This was especially perplexing, since, if the show followed the comic, Carl was scheduled to become a major player and star in two or three vitally important storylines.

Killing him off was disappointing and made absolutely zero narrative sense, as it completely torpedoed the future of the show. In fact Gimple's asinine actions pissed me off so much I STILL haven't finished watching the last two episodes of Season 8! And I'm not sure I ever will.

So what next? Can The Walking Dead survive without its main character? AMC is sure doubling down on the answer being "yes." Supposedly they're grooming actor Norman Reedus, aka Daryl Dixon, to become the new series lead. They've even renegotiated his contract, offering him a cool $20 million to stay with the show! Yow! That ain't hay!

I dunno... Norman Reedus is many things, but a leading man he ain't. His Daryl character is sullen, grim and most of all, taciturn (that means he don't say much). He's a character who works best in small doses, as a sidekick to the hero. 

Promoting him to star status seems like yet another in a series of wrong moves. They'll have to fundamentally change everything about Daryl's character to make him and effective leader, and then he'll no longer be the Daryl we know and love. So what the hell's the point?

As I said, best to go out when they're sort of on top, instead of being yanked off the stage by the neck with a Bo-Peep staff.

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