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It’s great, but how long can this show sur­vive?

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - News - Will Salmon

What we’re lik­ing – or loathing – on TV right now.

The Walk­ing Dead just wrapped up its fifth sea­son in style. “Con­quer” was an ex­cel­lent fi­nale that high­lighted ev­ery­thing that’s been en­joy­able about the show since showrun­ner Scott Gim­ple took the hot seat. This is now a se­ries that pri­ori­tises char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion over ac­tion, while still be­ing thrilling, sur­pris­ing and won­der­fully, ridicu­lously vi­o­lent. Gim­ple has rein­tro­duced hope into the mix too, which is vi­tal, given how The Walk­ing Dead’s de­fault state is so of­ten de­press­ing and doomy. The in­tro­duc­tion of the Alexan­dria Safe Zone is the big­gest shift to the sta­tus quo since the Gover­nor ar­rived. Rick and his pals have found a home that’s worth fight­ing for. It’s not the gun­metal con­fines of a pri­son, ei­ther, but a lush sub­ur­ban town. And, if the show sticks to the gen­eral map of the comics, then they’re go­ing to be there for a good long time…

All of that said, I’m con­cerned about the chat­ter com­ing out of AMC that it could run for as long as The Simp­sons ( 26 years and count­ing...). It’s nice to know that it’s not go­ing away any time soon, but re­ally? If we’re to take that lit­er­ally – or even “just” cre­ator Robert Kirk­man’s spec­u­la­tion that it could run for about 12 sea­sons – then that raises a num­ber of chal­lenges. Mi­nor comic spoil­ers ahead...

The most ob­vi­ous of th­ese is Rick. An­drew Lin­coln is the face of this show, but can you see him stick­ing it out for more than a cou­ple more sea­sons? Pre­sum­ably he’s not han­ker­ing to do an Adam “Ian Beale” Woody­att and play a sin­gle char­ac­ter for the rest of his life. At some point, Rick will have to go. And given that he is still alive in the cur­rent is­sue of the comic (# 143 at the time of writ­ing)

that’s go­ing to be a ma­jor, though not nec­es­sar­ily fa­tal, hur­dle to over­come. Per­son­ally I’d love a se­ries that was more fo­cused on Daryl, Mor­gan or Mi­chonne. But would the au­di­ence fol­low?

Not so much a hur­dle, but some­thing to take into ac­count as the show pro­gresses, is the pas­sage of time. So far The Walk­ing Dead has taken place, roughly speak­ing, over a cou­ple of years. If it’s to con­tinue, then it’s go­ing to need to move on. Those aban­doned cities are go­ing to de­cay and fall into ruin. The com­mu­ni­ties will need to change too as re­sources from be­fore the fall be­come ever more scarce. Then there’s rep­e­ti­tion. Now this is a prob­lem.

The Walk­ing Dead is nat­u­rally in­clined to calm pe­ri­ods in set­tle­ments, be­fore some dis­as­ter up­roots the char­ac­ters and forces them to move on again. For that rea­son, it’s dif­fi­cult to trust the idea that the Safe Zone is now their home. That said, the comic has kept the Alexan­dria set­tle­ment in play to this day. Will the TV show be able to fol­low that lead with­out it be­com­ing vis­ually bor­ing?

But most danger­ous of all is the prob­lem of overkill. The se­ries is in its prime right now, with sea­son five bring­ing in record view­ing fig­ures, and there’s a spin- off on the way. Fine, but how long is this go­ing to be sus­tain­able? Robert Kirk­man has stated that there are plans in place if the show ever starts to dras­ti­cally lose favour. I don’t want The

Walk­ing Dead to shuf­fle off any time soon, but let’s hope that Kirk­man, AMC and co don’t try to drag it out for­ever. Let it die when the time comes. Then, per­haps a few years down the line, res­ur­rect it. That would be won­der­fully ap­pro­pri­ate.

He re­ally wasn’t sure about th­ese new in­tense fa­cial treat­ments.

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