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The Walking Dead Reaches New Heights?
Last week our favorite apocalyptic, zombie show aired its Season Four finale. It was watched by a whopping 15.4 million viewers, with last year’s finale drawing in 12.42 million viewers – giving last week’s an increase of 26%.
The Walking Dead also held top spot on Twitter with 1.01 million show-related tweets from 356,770 unique authors, generating a total of 63.11 million Twitter TV impressions. The show really has reached new viewing heights, but has the quality reached the same?
The finale delivered what many fans were waiting for, in the form of the many groups split up from the aftermath of the prison, finally arriving at the supposed “Sanctuary For All” Terminus.
The journey felt like it took a bit too long for the characters to make it there. However, it was great to see a bit of suspense being brought back into the show after a season rife with pointless supply runs, and characters searching empty houses. The show finally pushed into fourth gear in last week’s finale.
The Walking Dead is not usually known for cliff-hangers, but it decided to hand us one last week. With all the characters trapped in the crate at the end; we were left with Rick’s words, promising the people of Terminus that they were “messing with the wrong people”.
So with that, what’s in store for Season Five?
Scott Gimple (lead show runner) made an appearance on the Talking Dead on Sunday night (which also drew a record 7.3 million viewers), and spoke about the future of the series: “We’re really excited about it, the writers are working very hard,” he told Talking Dead presenter Chris Hardwick of the next season. “We’re looking at all the new places we’re going. It’s going to be an incredible season. It’s going to be completely different from this year.”
Gimple also expanded on how the show manages to change each season saying Season Five would be “a nuclear weapon.”
I suppose it’s refreshing to hear the show is going in a new direction, and not hanging around. The second half of Season Four felt like it had no clear direction, and the writers were just filling in time with characters slowly ambling towards the Terminus.
Don’t get me wrong, The Walking Dead is still one of the greatest TV shows on air, but recently the show has felt stilted, with a heavy focus on small-talk, and not much forward movement, which has led many fans to complain about the lack of pace.
However, I think it’s just a rare blip, where the power of the Governor’s demise in the mid season finale carried so much weight, the writers did not want to introduce another “big” threat so early; probably because they wanted the Governor’s fate to linger in the minds of the fans for a little longer.
Another reason for the slow-paced episodes would be that the writers wanted to flesh out old and new characters that were not given much attention early on in Season Four, e.g. the Army medic Bob Stookey, and Beth. They needed time to develop these characters so as to build a relationship with the audience.
It’s all well and good doing that, but not at the cost of suspense and plot momentum. Where they made entire episodes filled with just a few characters. For instance in episode 12, which was filled with watching Daryl and Beth creep around abandoned buildings searching for supplies: while, yes, it might be fun to act out – feeling like you’re in a real apocalypse by being stealthy . . . but watching it? No. It serves as nothing more than filler. Instead, they could have shown multiple storylines, to quicken the pace to Terminus, while still having character development through meaningful dialogue, not searching dead bodies. So if the writers implemented these things, then we could have had the capture scene from the finale arrive earlier.
With those minor niggles out the way, I’m sure the pace will pick up in Season Five, as maybe the writers felt this season that they were catching up to the comic book too quickly. Whatever the reason, I’m sure Season Five will be one of the best yet, and will break new record viewing figures.
Let me know below whether you enjoyed Season Four, and if you think Season Five will improve the quality of the show.