When The Walking Dead premiered on AMC way back in October 2010, the first fans of the show were the ones who were intensely devoted to the horror genre. But now, The Walking Dead has picked up not only fans that have crossed the line for horror TV, but also those who enjoy truly epic drama.
Therein lies the reason that the show seems to have taken on a life of its own. Most horror TV shows have short life spans with networks taking chances on them and getting minimal results, then cancelling them after a few seasons. A few exceptions to that have been The Walking Dead and Supernatural on The CW, which has been trucking along for 12 seasons now.
But there are a few things that set those two shows apart from other horror TV shows. As most fans may already know, The Walking Dead was first conceived by Robert Kirkman in his comic books of the same name. Kirkman has been truly a visionary creator for The Walking Dead and other comic stories that he writes, which include Outcast (now a TV series on Cinemax as well).
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) April 13, 2017
With a large fan base rolling into The Walking Dead AMC show from Kirkman’s comic books, the series was destined to start out on a higher note than other horror TV shows. But that did not mean that it did not have to earn its valor. The Walking Dead on AMC has experienced seven seasons of dramatic storytelling, which has resulted in the show being the highest-rated drama on TV, according to Variety.
But that also twists things up a bit. In the beginning, the drama of The Walking Dead was finding a safe place. In Season 1, the safest place that the survivors of the zombie apocalypse could find was the Hilltop. At that time, they were all inexperienced and still learning about the plague of undead they were encountering.
They almost got answers at the conveniently located CDC in Atlanta, but those few answers almost got them killed. Even though they walked away with their lives, fans of The Walking Dead still saw many of them perish in subsequent seasons.
In Season 2 of The Walking Dead, our characters found their way to Herschel’s farm and made do with what they had in camps on the outskirts. But in the end, the zombies still found them and they had to flee.
In Season 3 of The Walking Dead, they found the prison and enjoyed a nice safe haven to live in until the middle of Season 4. That is when the Governor reemerged and rained on their happy parade. Of course that leads them to Terminus at the beginning of Season 5, then to Alexandria at the end of the season.
That is what brought The Walking Dead AMC series to Season 6 and the running theme of the show was horror and suspense. They were essentially trying to stay alive by finding safe places to live. That core group had settled in four different locations before they arrived in Alexandria and what made it a horror TV series was the constant threat of getting mauled by a large group of zombies. They never really could sleep easy and the entire group was always tired from fighting to stay alive from the monsters.
But Season 7 of The Walking Dead changed the whole dynamic of the show and made it something completely different.
This is the part of the article where we need to warn you about SPOILERS coming up from Season 7 of The Walking Dead. Please only proceed with that caution in mind.
Before Season 7 of The Walking Dead, Rick and the core group had found their safe haven in Alexandria and they did not have to spend all their time fighting off the zombies. Instead, they spent their time finding ways to improve their lives by growing food, scavenging, and building. They had befriended the neighboring colony on the Hilltop near the end of Season 6, so restoring trade to their lives was a big step in how they would eventually prosper.
But it all changed when Negan came along in Season 7 of The Walking Dead. It was no longer fight the dead and stay alive. Now, the show had transformed into something completely different. It was political at its core and it played out with some good old-fashioned European tyranny.
Negan was essentially (for lack of a better term) a king in the region. Even though King Ezekiel claimed the title, Negan was the real power. So the core group had to go back to fighting to stay alive on The Walking Dead, only now it was them having to deal with a homicidal maniac and the zombies were just the wasps that they occasionally had to put down.
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) May 15, 2017
So I pose the question again: Is The Walking Dead still classified as a “Horror TV” show? Can it just be an intense drama even though there are still zombies to deal with, but they are mostly inconsequential to the story anymore? Do viewers even tune into The Walking Dead to see Rick Grimes and the group kill zombies, or do they want to see how the war between Rick and Negan is going?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
[Feature Image by AMC]