Why I Think “The Walking Dead” Is So Popular

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According to the ratings, The Walking Dead is the most popular TV show of all time. Which is kind of crazy because the horror movie genre has struggled to gain mass appeal for so long.

So what makes The Walking Dead different? What excuses it as a generic horror show that anti-horror movie people make time to tune in to each week?

AMC is expecting one of the largest viewerships of all time for a series show on October 23.

What’s the appeal?

I’m in the middle of season four myself, thanks to Netflix. And I’m no different from anyone else. I’m completely obsessed with The Walking Dead. And I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have an idea as to why.

First, a little background. I don’t care for blood and guts. I never have. If I ever watched anything scary it was scary for suspense. Little violence. I’m not morally against Hollywood violence (to a point), I just prefer to be pshychologically scared. But as the popularity for The Walking Dead grew, I became more and more intrigued.

Sure enough, the show hooked me from the very first scene, when Rick shot the little girl because she was infected by the disease. (Where does that scene fit into the timeline, by the way??)

I think The Walking Dead represents most of our lives. I’ve heard it argued that zombies represent us, mindlessly going about our lives, punching a time clock, day-in, day-out. I disagree with that. I think the survivors represent us. And not because they’re survivors but because they’re trapped.

If you’re like me you feel like you’re in a world where you have no control or say over anything. Because of work and bills and bureaucratic cement walls, we have to live inside our fences, risking our careers or future anytime we step out of bounds.

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The best we can do is simply hunker down and wait out all the madness. Especially with these particular elections coming up, we feel more than ever that the world is spiraling out of control. For those of us in America, we don’t feel like we have a say anymore.

Meanwhile, we watch our friends and family suffer along with us. Like the characters in the show, there is nothing we can do to save them. And that’s another way we feel helpless.

And we grow hardened and calloused because of what little we can do to affect our surroundings or the world. We’re like fish in a bowl. Stuck and completely dependent on what the world decides to feed us, if it does.

I won’t be watching the premier of season seven this month since I’m so far behind, but I’m excited to catch up. And I do wish Rick and his company Godspeed as they battle the elements with us.

Comment below as to why you like The Walking Dead. Why do you think it’s so popular?

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About Andrew Toy
I'm in the beginning stages of starting my own publishing company that's unlike anything you've ever heard of in the industry. The direction of AdoptingJames is taking a 90-degree turn and will be more writing/publishing-focused. Stay tuned for huge updates and exciting news!

17 Responses to Why I Think “The Walking Dead” Is So Popular

  1. I find this so funny because I agree with you wholeheartedly! I am a wimp and hate gore&horror. Never watch it, ever. My adult daughter snagged me with her Birthday wish, what parent can deny the one day of their year where almost anything goes, a TWD marathon from season1 to season4 at the time. I had no idea what I was getting into and have watched religiously since.

    My children text through the whole show, each in their own time zone, none being able to sneak a peak before they all watch it together.

    The show is a mind-numbing escape from all reality. And to date, I am almost saddened that they try to outdo each season with a new sense of emotion woven into the storyline. I think we have all wondered ‘what we would do’ ‘how would we react’ to such a brutal existence while trying to stay in touch with a sense of morality.

    • Andrew Toy says:

      I’m at the part where Rick is seriously considering if he’s still human after the things he’s done to protect others and stay alive. It’s an incredible journey to go on with a fictional character.

  2. Great post! I also love this show. I actually love it cos it deals with such deep psychological and existential issues- despite the kind of programme it is- it’s incredible!

  3. J says:

    I think you just inspired me to give it a chance. Almost every single friend I have is crazy about the show but I’ve never been a fan of zombie stories. I might have to change that soon.

  4. I’ve never watched it but unlike J who commented above, I think this post inspired me to NOT give it a chance! Haha! It sounds depressing to me if we relate to the survivors who are stuck without control and feeling helpless. My goodness, I’d much rather watch something happy or inspiring or creative or even something where i feel like I’m gaining knowledge of some sort.

    • Andrew Toy says:

      I thought someone would say exactly what you said! It is depressing, and it’s even worse when your favorite characters are killed off. But here’s the thing: the survivors somehow have hope. And if they can have hope in their predicaments, then so can I. They hope, they fight, they carry on.

  5. Alexis Walke says:

    I love The Walking Dead because with each season that passes it displays the change in the group with each obstacle they encounter and person that they lose. It really focuses on the survivors and their day to day struggle with what is moral and humane essentially when encountering other people because really people in this show are more dangerous than the Walkers in a sense. And that is intriguing for me to think of who you’d have to be to survive. It’s crazy.

  6. erinb9 says:

    Very interesting theory! I’ve also been trying to crack why zombies have been so popular… hadn’t come up with anything satisfying yet, except maybe that we’re all suffocated by the complexity of the modern word, and something about it blowing up and making us live without rules, infrastructure and social restraints is compelling.

    And I also am not a blood & guts fan who is obsessed with the show. My husband hassled me to watch it for ages and I just KNEW I would hate it. But when I finally humored him, I was hooked.

    Also, I don’t find Fear the Walking Dead nearly as good. We’re watching it, but I think Walking Dead is 100X better–maybe there’s also something to the difference between the two shows?

    • Anne says:

      I think it’s the group aspect that’s seperates TWD and FTWD. The core of the group in TWD is what keeps me watching. I feel like I have traveled all the way with them in their journey and because of this investment, I care a lot about the characters! I’m so nervous about who’s going to die in the opening episode of the new season 😁.

      • erinb9 says:

        Maybe that’s its because FTWD family members keep splitting up and having their own journeys. Lone wanderers.

        I also think TWD characters are just more complex and better written. FTWD characters seem more one-dimensional (the good girl, the troubled teen, the protective mom, etc). I don’t dislike them (except Chris!) but am not very emotionally invested.

        I’m super attached to TWD characters, though! I’m anxious too, because we know were losing someone and there’s no one that won’t be missed

        • Anne says:

          Yes, for some reason, the whole splitting up thing gets me less invested in the story! And you’re definitely right about the characters being way more developed. But that might also be due to TWD running for so much longer :). Yes! I won’t mention any names because there are people here who haven’t caught up yet, but there are two men in particular that I hope won’t die! 😀

  7. I love this! I couldn’t agree more. I have been hooked since Season 1. This show brings hubby and I together with chips and dip, peace and quiet in the house when kids are asleep, and I can’t wait 10 more days! We can do this 😉

    I hope you are binge watching when you can, it is so good, and only gets better!

  8. This show is so incredibly character driven!! That is what made me fall in love with it. All of the actors are awesome, too. What I love most, though, is even if a person has read the comics, which many fans have, we never know how the writers are going to change things up. I have only read a little of the comics myself, but I think perhaps fans of the comics are probably the first ones who made the show so popular, but also people who have never read them just kept hearing how great it is!
    Also, in comparison to how zombies have been portrayed in past movies and shows, the artists of this show are amazingly talented and creative! There are many, many reasons I love this show, Andrew. I hope you catch up soon! Season 7’s premier is going to be brutal!

  9. Am I the only nerd that reads the comics too?

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