For many fans of The Walking Dead, Season 7 was a challenge. It focused heavily on new themes and characters, and oftentimes felt very little like the series that became a cultural phenomenon back in 2010. After a controversial cliffhanger in Season 6, and an even more polarizing premiere in October, the series’ seventh season got off to a rocky start. While it had a few killer moments, the series never quite found its footing in Negan‘s brave new world.
Though The Walking Dead still boasts strong ratings, some fans did begin to abandon ship as Season 7 wore on. There could be a number of reasons behind the series’ subtle decline in popularity. Between the loss of key characters, an increasingly dreary tone, and a chaotic storyline, the most recent slate of episodes failed to keep fans excited to tune in.
Here are 10 things The Walking Dead got wrong in Season 7.
1. They botched the rollout
The hype surrounding Season 7 of The Walking Dead was almost ridiculous. The previous season’s stunning cliffhanger ending left just about every main character’s life hanging in the balance. And millions tuned in to find out who Negan had taken down with his beloved bat, Lucille.
Unfortunately, despite the hype, the Season 7 premiere was more or less a letdown. After toying with our emotions for more than 13 minutes, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” finally spilled the beans on the big death mystery. We watched, in horror, as Negan beat both Abraham and Glenn to a pulp.
All told, it was a solid seven minutes of gory, horrifying television. But the rest of the episode left much to be desired. It focused on Rick Grimes’ complete demoralization, and set the stage for the emotionally draining episodes that followed.
The issue with not only the premiere, but the entire season, was that its tone and content didn’t match the energetic marketing push leading up to the seventh season. The advertisements that enticed viewers to tune in featured a grinning Negan and a “You won’t believe what happens next” motif. In reality, the first half of Season 7 was TWD‘s bleakest yet.
That’s not to say the series needed to be a super-charged adrenaline fueled Negan-fest to keep fans satisfied. But AMC and The Walking Dead ended up over-promising on excitement and a “game-changing” storyline that never really materialized.