Can the New Season of the Absolutely Dreadful ‘Walking Dead’ Save It From Itself?

'The Walking Dead' could actually get better by going simpler.

The Walking Dead Season 8 Synopsis
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan and Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes. Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead has its moments, but for the most part, it’s an absolutely dreadful show. Everything about it is nonsensical and terrible. The characters, the plotting, the dialogue, the hilariously bad CGI from Season 7 (#Deergate); it’s all bad. At this point, the show’s biggest flaw is it wants to be taken seriously as a prestige drama after seven up and, mostly, down years. What the shot callers at AMC should be doing instead is leaning into the skid and having more fun with this ridiculous apocalyptic thrill ride (shout out to Andrew Lincoln’s armageddon beard).

The Walking Dead was always at its best when it was moving at a brisk pace and throwing obstacles at our protagonists left and right. Seasons 1 and 4 worked because the extraneous nonsense was mostly cut, and the show’s blade was sharpened to a point that it could rival Michonne’s katana. Tactical sweeps, zombie kills, some light, meaningful world-pondering, and then it was back on the road to take out the next bad guy. Whenever the series stops to put down roots—like the farm, the prison and Alexandria—it becomes as mind-numbing as a walker.

But the upcoming eighth season could return The Walking Dead to its baser instincts, and that’s a good thing. For all it’s ambition, the series has never had the writing to pull off grand thematic statements on the nature of humanity. But that doesn’t means its action can’t serve the characters while being entertaining as hell. If the official Season 8 synopsis, according to Uproxx, is anything to go by, this year should be a bloody romp that emphasizes the show’s strengths.

“Last season, Rick Grimes and his group of survivors were confronted with their deadliest challenge yet. With the comfort of Alexandria, they let their guard down, only to be reminded how brutal the world they live in can be.

“Feeling powerless under Negan’s rules and demands, Rick advocated the group play along. But seeing that Negan couldn’t be reasoned with, Rick began rallying together other communities affected by the Saviors. And with the support of the Hilltop and Kingdom, they finally have enough fire power to contest the Saviors.

“This season, Rick brings ‘All Out War’ to Negan and his forces. The Saviors are larger, better-equipped, and ruthless — but Rick and the unified communities are fighting for the promise of a brighter future. The battle lines are drawn as they launch into a kinetic, action-packed offensive.

“Up until now, survival has been the focus of Rick and our group, but it’s not enough. They have to fight to take back their freedom so that they can live. So that they can rebuild. As with any battle, there will be losses. Casualties. But with Rick leading the Alexandrian forces, Maggie leading the Hilltop, and King Ezekiel leading the Kingdom — Negan and the Saviors’ grip on this world may finally be coming to an end.”

Alliances, double-crosses, fire power, all out war. Don’t be afraid to have some silly fun, Walking Dead. It’s okay to be intentionally ridiculous, share a wink with the audience. Rick doing battle with Negan, real nuts and bolts battle like something out of the book Lucifer’s Hammer, sounds like something we’d want to watch.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC (AMC) for its eighth season and 100th episode on October 22.

Can the New Season of the Absolutely Dreadful ‘Walking Dead’ Save It From Itself?