Season 8 of The Walking Dead has been an interesting one. With All Out War declared against Negan and The Saviors, there has been far more action than the long running series has ever seen. And although the hardcore fandom had been patiently waiting for this exciting chapter from the comics, the season isn't quite as beloved as it used to be. Last season saw a steady decline in viewership following a handful of frustrating capsule episodes, and it looks like things are getting even worse in Season 8. Because the most recent episode "The Big Scary U" just got the worst ratings the series has had since back in Season 2. We've got a few ideas as to why this may be happening to the apocalyptic drama.
The Season's Pacing Is Off
This explanation is one that probably rings true for the more rabid Walking Dead fanbase. Because while anticipation for the war against The Saviors was at a fever pitch this summer, the first handful of episodes has been a mixed back. All five episodes of the season are set within the same day or so, as the various communities rise up in an elaborate plan to destroy Negan's rule. And while this has provided more than enough shootouts, there's been no room for character development. After all, we haven't seen most of the survivors together, or being able to have any conversations about their issues.
Of course, Season 7 had the opposite problem- with the plot essentially going nowhere, making room for world creating and introducing the slew of communities around Alexandria. Tara's episode at Oceanside hit a major low, but now it appears that last Sunday's episode at The Sanctuary even beat that number. Perhaps the inclusion of Eugene also contributed to last week's drop off. Some felt so strongly about the character's actions that they took to social media and harassed actor Josh McDermitt enough that he left Twitter.
Sunday Night TV Is Jam Packed
Sunday nights are typically known as the biggest for television, as networks like AMC and HBO reserve those slots for their top performers. This trend has increased since TWD began its long tenure on the tube, adding to more competition for AMC's big money maker. Major sport events also get in the way, and The Walking Dead has had to really compete for ratings during its first handful of episodes this season. Season 8 began around the time of the World Series, which was especially popular this year. We're also currently in the midst of Sunday Night Football as well, once again dividing TWD's impressive audience over a few different TV choices. Pair that with the aforementioned pacing issue, and its a perfect recipe for some folks to stop tuning in in favor of other programming.
Additionally, the American Music Awards took place this past Sunday, which didn't do the Sanctuary-heavy episode any favors. The event included pop culture moments like Christina Aguilera's attempt to pay tribute to Whitney Houston, P!nk's latest high flying performance, and Demi Lovato's possibly lip synced performance of her song "Wolves".
There's No End In Sight
They say all good things must come to an end. And unless you're talking Doctor Who or Grey's Anatomy, that is usually the case with long running TV shows as well. But The Walking Dead is now knee deep into its whopping eighth season on AMC, and the network does not have any plans to let the series go anytime soon. It's spinoff Fear The Walking Dead recently wrapped its third season, and the fans should expect some sort of crossover to occur in the near future. Many believe that Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) is going to show up on the prequel series, as Madison may be headed to Texas.
Considering that Robert Kirkman's graphic novel of the same name is still releasing new entries, there's still a wealth of material to be tapped and adapted for the small screen. In fact, AMC recently revealed they believe the property could continue indefinitely, much like an actual zombie apocalypse. But the networks's faith and excitement for the series also means that fans won't be given a conclusion anytime soon. If fans know that they won't ever get to the damn ending, they may lose interest and slowly fade out of the loyal audience.
There's Too Much Great TV Right Now
TV fans know that we're in a bit of a renaissance right now. The past few years have seen a shift in the way TV and film is produced, and the small screen has recently become the place for the best storytelling. As such, projects with major film names have quickly become TV's hottest shows. Big Little Lies won a ton of Emmys, Ryan Murphy is consistently bringing in film talent for his various anthology shows, and even film directors like Spike Lee have made the switch over to TV and streaming. As such, there is just too much awesome content for people to possibly consume, and so long running shows like The Walking Dead will see some fans jumping ship in order to experience all that TV has to offer elsewhere.
The addition of streaming services has change the TV game, allowing way more content to be released every year. And because Netflix releases full seasons in their entirety, the sense of urgency is way higher than weekly shows like The Walking Dead. With Hulu and Amazon also in on the action and producing challenging and acclaimed content of their own, there's a wealth of shows and not enough time in the day to watch it all. Unfortunately, this may spell bad news for The Walking Dead.