Hey, I know I've been blogging a lot, and many may be expecting my fan-made Season 4, but that is likely gonna wait a few days. For now an analysis on why the current show is struggling. After watching S8E7 I found myself ultimately indifferent. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. I think the show's biggest problem is in it's character's and the show's lack of understanding in them. Season Five was many's favourie, and the group getting to Alexandria was a huge milestone for the group. The group was made of 14 +Judith and later joined by Morgan. These character's would later be our POV character's for the rest of the show, and are basically our idea of 'the group'.
The problem is, from Season 6 onwards the way the show works meant some characters were lost in the mix, others were forced to develop just to have screentime, and the screentime was all around an uneaven bake. This is a problem, especially when the show began killing mainstays and trying to replace them with the side cast without developing them. I'm going to rank how all 15 Pre-Alexandrian's have faired off in the show, and how well or badly they have been developed. Let's go.
- Morgan - The clear winner, Morgan's late arrival as a main character meant the spotlight could stay on him for the first half of season six and beyond. The only character with a solo flashback episode, and the best performer in the entire show arguebly. Morgan is the perfect example of how to tell a character that is both consistant and ever changing, and his constant forward motion keeps us engaged. He doesn't even need that much screentime either, meaning he's a fan favourite without being a plot reaper.
- Rick - Obviously as the protagnonist Rick fares well in terms of character time and development. He's consistant but not overbearing.
- Gabriel - Out of all the side-characters, Gabriel has fared the best and is a prime example of a side character done right. His development is understated but dramatic, and he's now a fully rounded character with an arc, interesting personality and a great motif.
- Maggie - A character done better in the show than the comics easily. The better treatment of women on the show and the added foreshadowing to her arc helped her dramatically to spring from Glenn's shadow. While she has a quieter S6, it's mostly good.
- Abraham - Abe is a unique case because he is on the verge between an A and B character, but Season 6 is extremely good at humanising him and making him a core member of the cast. Shame his death was overshadowed.
- Glenn - Glenn always felt like furnature for Seasons 5 and 6, and someone that was destined for death. Sometimes his side-stories were not the best of B-plots, but Glenn was a welcome beam of light in the show and he was generally treated well fro screentime, but often did not get too much development in the latter seasons.
- Daryl - As the plot reaper of other characters, he has often stole from the others development, but Daryl has struggled on occation over the last few seasons. While his season 5 is rather blank, he is set in a new direction, but Season 6 undermines his friendship with Aaron and forgets about his time as a recruiter. It's a shame, because his story over the last three seasons have pretty much been in relation to Dwight. While he has had an arc and the screentime, it's Season six where the character is left out the most. Plus, getting Glenn in the lineup and then killed is a double whammy of bad actions. Ouch
- Noah - He's only so high on the list because he understayed his welcome, and there's nothing more successful than wishing for more time with a character. A B character like many others, the key difference comes in that his death means he is never awkwardly pushed up to A-cast, and his death is devastating enough to imortalise his character.
- Carol - While she was on absaloute fire all the way up to No Way Out, Carol is a classic example of them trying to give a character screentime, but not knowing which direction to develop her in. Her PTSD and season spent in a cabin made for infuriating viewing, especially since she's flipped back to her original state in Season 8, not bothering to explore her mentality at all in all out war. She's still a fan favourite, but the show can't continue with stupid character actions otherwise she'll become hated.
- Carl - Season 6 was actually a big boost for Carl's development, but his rivalry with Ron is done so badly, and his post No Way Out injuries are skipped over. Largely forgotten, his attack on Negan is underwheling but a good inclusion, and his relationship with Enid is okay, but season 8 has done nothing of note with him as of yet. Cal doesn't need to be a main character per-say, but with him aging so fast IRL you think he'd have quite a bit of character development.
- Sasha - Now into the 'side character forced to be a main character' catorgory, Sasha by the end of season 5 was a badass sniper who had overcome her depressive state. Come season six, she fell fast into the background and became a mere love interest. She didn't even get to sue her sniper again until Season 7 Episode 14, where she missed and easy shot, talked for a bit, and died. If Season 6 and 7 had paid more interest in her she could have evolved more naturally, and not had to force development into the final two episodes of her life just so the audience feels when she dies. It's crazy to think she has the 3rd most lines in season 7, especially when she's absent for a large number of episodes.
- Tara - An even worse case than Sasha, Tara falls into the same catorgory. she's a character that is not designed to last this long, and a comic relief character gone edge machine is not a good move. She's not really the type of actress that can do an episode solo but the show disagrees, and we go from a character who is barely important in season 6 to full blown solo episode and sudden flip to edgy mode, even though it would have made more sense last season.
- Rosita - Taling about 0 - 100, Rosita is classic evidence that making a side character into a main is a terrible move if done wrong. Season six yet again didn't really do much with her, even though she has a focus episode with Denise and Daryl, and her season 7 performance is just bad. She appears more than anyone else in season 7, which is such a forced move that it shows the problem with not developing any of your side characters.
- Michonne - I feel awful putting her here, but what has Michonne done in the last three seasons. She got with Rick, but other than that she's crimanly underused and is a character that the show is obliged to show, so she's had two stupid side arcs in the last two seasons. InS7 she captured a saviour and drove for a bit before going home, and in S8 (when she even shows up) she gets in a car to see the sanctuary, and goes home. Come on AMC!
- Eugene - The worst culprit for 'side character turned main' is Eugene, who's infuriating speech patterns and lack of development make him a terrible character who's had zero development since we met him three seasons ago. He developed great in season 6, but then the new season undone the whole thing, made him a bag guy who's both annoying as hell and irradeamable. We can all see he's gonna switch sides eventually, but no one is going to feel for him when he does. A character like this does not deserve two POV episodes.
So, What does this mean? -
Well, there's a lesson to be learnt here. Unless you develop your character's naturally, a one-dimentional side character cannot pick up the slack left by a big character. Especially when you kill two A-Lister's at once and split the rest of them across the board.
This a huge problem as well when you don't continue narrative threads you start in the last season. There's moments where development goes backwards, and it's a massive problem in the forward momentum of the show. A few examples:
- Abraham running the construction crew goes no-where
- Daryl being a recruiter is never used again, nor do him and Aaron speak again.
- Sasha is quickly back to a blank slate after her PTSD, and never uses her sniper again
- Carol goes in a cabin for a season because she can't kill, but goes back to killing with no character changes.
- Eugene ties his hair back and proposes making bullets, but loses all his development in season 7
- Carl's injury magically heals inbetween two episodes and he is forgoten for the the rest of the season