The show is still posting monster numbers, but AMC is surely getting worried.
One of the big stories surrounding “The Walking Dead” this season has been the show’s ratings, which have dropped significantly from previous seasons. Despite the series jumping headfirst into the hugely popular, hotly anticipated “all-out war” storyline from Robert Kirkman’s comic books, expected to be the most must-watch era for the show, viewers have been tuning out in concerning numbers during Season 8, which pulled in 11.44 million viewers for its premiere and subsequently dropped to as low as 7.47 million.
Mind you, those are still crazy good numbers for any show, but when the numbers for the previous season were in the 10.16 – 17.03 range, well, that’s not exactly great news.
This past Sunday night’s mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” averaged a 3.4 rating in adults 18-49 and grabbed 7.9 million viewers, giving Season 8 the lowest rated mid-season finale since the second season‘s had a 3.5 rating and 6.6 million viewers.
Especially worrying considering AMC promised a shock during this past Sunday night’s episode – Carl was bitten by a walker, it turned out – that we’d all be talking about.
To give some greater context to Season 8 at large, the season has averaged 8.7 million viewers per episode, while Season 7 averaged a whopping 12.1 million per episode.
What’s the problem here? As we already touched upon in the recent past, “The Walking Dead” hasn’t exactly been must-watch television this season, giving us eight episodes that haven’t really done much justice to the all-out war storyline. Aside from the Carl reveal this past Sunday night, not all that much has really happened throughout the course of Season 8, so it’s not surprising that many viewers have been tuning out. Even with the promise of a mid-season shocker, many still weren’t compelled to tune back in this past Sunday night, suggesting they just plain don’t care anymore. And I hate to say this, but I can’t blame them.
I’ve been a supporter and defender of “The Walking Dead” since the very beginning, which has always kept my interest despite losing so many of my friends. But even I have found myself bored with Season 8 – a season that has mostly gone through the motions and told us stories that we’ve already been told before. Whereas the show once felt like must-watch TV, it’s recently begun to feel like you can skip a large block of episodes and really miss nothing at all, which is unquestionably a huge red flag about the show’s future.
Eight seasons deep, has “The Walking Dead” overstayed its welcome? Has the show become a victim of its own massive success, causing it to be dragged out beyond its years?
The more important question, I suppose: Can AMC find a way to inject fresh new life into their most successful show, winning back viewers and turning those ratings around?
Personally, I remain hopeful. And I remain a viewer and a fan.