My enjoyment of “The Walking Dead” has waned sufficiently to make me wonder whether I should still call myself a fan of the show; it was sometime during Season 6 when I really began watching simply to see if it would get better. With that said, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy last night’s premiere of Season 8.
I’d rate it an 8 out of 10 for its creators’ wise reliance on fan service to salvage a weary narrative. They were successful enough to make me enjoy the episode, which was quite generous with action and special effects, including the show’s state-of-the-art zombie effects.
If you squint just a little, you can still see that “The Walking Dead” is worn at the seams. This just isn’t a program that does dialogue or character development very well. Dear God, am I sick of the saccharine pep talks among Maggie, Rick and Jesus. It’s like a bowlderized menage a trois scripted by Hallmark card writers, in which everyone is masturbating one another verbally and metaphorically instead of literally. (Strangely enough, though, the show does just fine scripting and characterizing its villains. Negan and his henchman — including the traitorous Eugene — all seem to have distinct voices, are interesting to watch, and are well portrayed by their actors.)
There were plotting and logistical problems too … it seems to me that our heroes had ample opportunity to finally shoot Negan (in a story conclusion that we should have seen ages ago), yet inexplicably chose to expend countless rounds at his building’s windows.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the episode, though. There was a lot of childish fun to be had with the explosions, armored vehicles, and grotesque zombies, not to mention the long overdue emotional payoff of watching Rick and company finally take the fight to Negan. If you used to love this show and want to love it again, the premiere will at least give you a little hope.