Walking Dead Suffers Lowest Ratings Since Season 3
Spoilers for The Walking Dead season 7 below, as well as key plot elements from the first six seasons.
When hit drama The Walking Dead batted it’s way back onto our television screens with its season 7 premiere, it looked as though it was here to stay.
An astounding 17.03 million people in the US tuned in to see whose brains Negan decorated the ground with – the second highest behind the season five premiere (17.23).
Since the premiere however, the viewing figures have plummeted week-by-week and now sit at just under 11m, the lowest since season three.
In each season, TWD has seen it’s ratings dropped steadily from episode one before rising at the season premiere. It had however enjoyed consistent figures between seasons four and six, with the number only once dropping below 12m in that period.
So why are people tuning out?
NEGAN FACTOR NOT ENOUGH
Perhaps ironically judging by the above figures, I’m someone who stopped watching after season 3.
The early seasons of TWD came at the perfect time for me as I was at university and willing to fill my time with anything that didn’t involve me doing work or changing out of my pyjamas.
I was pulled back in however by reading about the season six finale and once I’d watched a YouTube video of the charismatic Negan’s introduction (played brilliantly by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) I went back and binge-watched all of seasons four, five and six. After the premiere, I couldn’t wait to see more of him.
Although he still has the same blend of menace and charm, the leather-clad dictator hasn’t been given any depth as of yet. It seems just having a sharp smile isn’t enough to keep people on board.
FOCUS ON SINGLE STORYLINES DOESN’T WORK
One thing that seems to be the bugbear of many fans is the insistence on focusing on one plot line per episode.
It has been a common tactic since season three – following one character or a small group for a full 45 minutes – and is vastly different to shows like Game of Thrones, which checks in at different places.
This was fine when the group was mainly together, such as in Alexandria, but becomes incredibly frustrating when the protagonists are split up as they are now.
I enjoyed the episode with Daryl and the Saviors as it made you empathise with how isolated he must feel, but there’s no need to imprison the viewers as well.
MORE PEOPLE ARE BINGE-WATCHING
There is a chance that people have wised up to TWD’s template of a huge premiere, big mid-season action episode and exciting finale.
With more and more options of television due to the advent of Netflix, Amazon and also just generally better writing, people may just decide they don’t have the time to set aside each week and would rather watch a few episodes at a time.
When the audience twigs that they won’t miss anything for a few weeks, they’re more likely to take a break and tune in when something starts happening.