#TheWalkingDead is coming to a hiatus on Sunday as AMC airs the show's hour and a half winter finale. Last week's episode — "Sing Me a Song" — was for sure a better episode than the episodes before it and I believe the mid-season finale is going to be bat-shit crazy! However, there is no denying that the show has been extremely dragged out ever since Negan's "eye-popping" moment in the highly anticipated season premiere.
Ever since then, many fans have come close to leaving the show due to how slow and mundane these episodes have become. Even though we are still very invested in the characters and the overall story, some of these episodes could have been sped up a bit to make the show more appealing to watch. This raises the question of whether or not The Walking Dead should cut back on the number of episodes AMC airs each season.
Should The Walking Dead Cut Its Episode Count?
This is rather a large debate among The Walking Dead community. It is a well-known fact that this popular series has its ups and downs, and usually, a lot of the downs are associated with the slow speed of the show. Season 7 is a prime example of this issue as Episodes 2-6 focused on a different set characters in each episode.
One episode focused on Carol and Morgan in the Kingdom, another focused on what happened to Tara and Heath, and another on Daryl and the Saviors. While it was important to show what all of our favorite characters have been up to, it was not necessary for all of them to get their own hour-long episode (and in some cases, hour and a half).
One solution to potentially solving this problem would be to reduce the amount of episodes aired each season. For the past couple of seasons, The Walking Dead has aired 16 hour-long episodes and in this season we have had close to half of the episodes extend beyond the hour mark. While "Sing Me a Song" was a very intriguing and entertaining episode, even that one dragged a bit. Of course, that does not compare to the slow-paced five episodes before it. Fans have not been happy to say the least and they have expressed their opinions across social media:
As you can see above, fans are really discouraged with the slow direction The Walking Dead has taken. There is so much story to tell yet the series still manages to stretch out their episodes farther than a rubber band. Perhaps they do not want the show to catch up to the comics, especially considering the rumor that the show will skip over the "All Out War" storyline. If this is true, it is better to shorten the episode count and make each one a masterpiece rather than have half the episodes be awesome while the other ones slug along in the mud.
Would Reducing The Episode Count Actually Work?
Usually when a series gets its number of episodes cut, the end is nigh. However, The Walking Dead could be a pioneer in a sense as it is not going away anytime soon — but could stand to improve its pacing.
One similar case to The Walking Dead's would have to be with Netflix's Marvel series, which include Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. These limited series run 13 episodes and like The Walking Dead, are great-quality shows with spectacular characters, writing, and story arcs yet they face the problem of dragging out too much. Luke Cage is an awesome show yet it took me forever to finish it because it felt so long when watching them.
Netflix realized this was the one main universal issue with their Marvel shows and as a result, The Defenders is debuting with 8 episodes instead of the conventional 13 episodes. The Defenders is like The Avengers for those shows and it cannot be anything less than epic! Given that, Marvel and Netflix cut off five of the thirteen customary episodes to ensure a tighter story arc and cut down on the middle part of the season.
The Marvel/Netflix series and The Walking Dead usually get caught dragging in the middle of the season where they are building up to the grand finale — which is normally the best part along with the beginning. In the case of The Walking Dead, we had arguably the best start to any season (so far) and then a slow but intriguing second episode introducing Ezekiel and the Kingdom. From there, the episodes dragged out to the point where the storylines featured in two or even three episodes could probably be compacted into one.
It is very likely that this season will follow the trend the series has followed these past couple of seasons and give us a kick-ass mid-season finale following a couple of slow episodes, and then the last four or five episodes leading to the finale will be epic. All in all, I do believe some major pacing issues could be solved reducing the number of episodes aired each season from 16 to a number like 12 or 13. However, is this the only solution?
What Other Ways Could AMC Make The Walking Dead Great Again?
While shortening the number of episodes aired per season could be efficient, it wouldn't be ideal because — let's be honest — we don't ever really want less of our favorite shows. One other solution could be to pick up the pace and cover more story throughout the season. The producers might have a fear of moving too quickly to the point where they run out of source material — which might explain the slow course the series has taken.
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However, at the rate the show is moving, by the time the story in the series would catch up to current day comics, it would be around Season 11. Given that statistic, it would be ideal if the show would pick up the speed and tell the story a bit faster, even if the show decides to skip over "All Out War." On another note, the show could take a big deviation from the source material and follow it more loosely than before, making it less of an issue of keeping a good distance from the current comics.
I believe The Walking Dead could benefit from cutting its episode count by a few episodes to eliminate the mid-season drag. On the other hand, I think the story could be told at a slightly faster rate to keep the fans on their toes. It is also possible to combine the two and downsize on one or two episodes from the season and tell the story at a quicker pace.
How could "The Walking Dead" fix its pacing issues?
What do you guys think? Should The Walking Dead eliminate some episodes aired per season? Or is there another way? Tell me below!