Daniel Drezner, author of Theory of International Politics and Zombies, and long-standing Advisory Board Member of the Zombie Research Society, is “quitting The Walking Dead” and explains why, in a recent article for the Washington Post.
It really comes down to this. Over the past six seasons TWD has slowly turned the main protagonists into characters that are almost indistinguishable from the bad guys.
The post-apocalyptic world is a Hobbesian nightmare that forces surviving humans to evolve into nihilistic killing machines.
One might think that continually amping up the violence will appeal to the show’s key viewership (which continues to generate high ratings), but it has turned the survivor’s warfare into a war of attrition. Less and less do we see the humanity we saw in earlier seasons, and in his opinion, what made the show so appealing.
The one thing “The Walking Dead” has excelled at in its six seasons has been to force every character that’s survived into taking more and more brutal actions to continue to survive. This evolution is logically inevitable given the show’s central premises. The problem is that, in the end, there’s increasingly little daylight between the main characters and the myriad baddies that the show has introduced. Any character that deviates from this type is usually the victim of a shocking death.
Drezner argues that this “thematic constraint” has caused the showrunners to resort to “narrative shortcuts to move along the plot,” making the series “predictably cruel” and anti-climactic.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a regular contributor to PostEverything.