The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere: All the reviews are (mostly) saying the same thing…
I had to do it. I had to see if the reviews on The Walking Dead matched my own thoughts. Turns out they did. The season premiere comes month’s after the season 6 cliffhanger finale, which was not well-received overall. In fact, season six reviews often bemoaned the use of gimmicks and lack of character development. Additionally, season six was marred by the fact that many viewers already had the inside track on Negan and had to endure the slow-burn of episodes making viewers wait for the appearance of Negan.
Off-season rumors and comic-con info dumps setup the entire Walking Dead community for the impending death of a fan favorite character. Of course, the comic books set it up far earlier. Many expected Glenn to be killed in S6 or S7, and if you are reading this, you know it’s Glenn that was killed by Negan, as well as Abraham.
First, it’s clear that Ramsay Bolton has dropped to #2 in the TV sadist power-rankings. The deaths of Abraham and Glenn were brutal, and overly sadistic.
Second, the whole premiere was dragged out in a way that just wasn’t entertaining. Few liked this episode and it made you question the value in watching the show.
And why wouldn’t it? Where is this show going? There’s no end game. No real plan. If you want to call Alexandria a plan, that’s OK but it’s really the same story as the “prison community” from a few seasons back. Nothing really new in Alexandria, it’s just our band of survivors wandering from threat-to-shelter yet again. If the writer’s goal is to demonstrate to the viewers that humanity can fall so far from compassion and cooperation in the face of an apocalypse, you did your job the first few times around. All we get is humanity falling farther into the abyss each season. That notion stalls after a while. We get it already.
So you went and bashed in Glenn’s skull. It was a bit on the nose. Abraham was the setup man that got you thinking that our favorites might sneak past the gate. Nope, not to be. As much as I like Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s acting (and it was outstanding), the character is a boor. Says the word ‘shit’ too much. Grins too much. Monologues too much. I guess that’s the true nature of the character as originally written, but he came off as more of a friggin’ goon than anything else. The whole stand-around-watch-and-photograph group of Saviors also seemed awkward. We get it Negan, “yer the man”.
Overall, the season 7 premiere left me in the same place I’ve been for a while with The Walking Dead – with the question of “why am I watching this?”
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what other reviewers are saying ‘round the innerwebs…
- NY Times – NEGATIVE
- CNN – MIXED
- IGN – NEGATIVE
- Forbes – MOSTLY NEGATIVE
- Paste Magazine – MOSTLY NEGATIVE
- Screencrush –NEGATIVE
- IndieWire –NEGATIVE
- Digital Spy – MIXED
- Independent UK – POSITIVE
- Inquistr – POSITIVE
- AV Club Review –NEGATIVE
- Comicbook.com – POSITIVE
- Monkeys Fighting Robots -NEGATIVE
As always, comments are welcome, especially when it comes to The Walking Dead.
Quotes from Reviews
Monkeys Fighting Robots – “The Walking Dead clearly knows what it should be focusing on, but can’t actually do it. Many elements of good television are there, but they are improperly utilized. Negan takes too long to talk a big, evil game, but all he delivers is a silver lining to a disappointing premiere”
IndieWire – “It was miserable, and tedious, and made me feel bad. Not in an emotionally compelling way, just in a “I could be watching something of value” way. Who needs this shit?” Grade: D-
IGN.com – The Verdict: Walking Dead’s Season 7 premiere was an uncomfortable crawl through broken glass, with an escalating sense of cruelty that never let up until the survivors were left on the road to scoop up their loved ones’ carcasses. Morgan’s Negan provided some moments of levity (if you could even consider it that) and the big second death was a shocker, but you want to leave an episode feeling shaken and riveted, not numb and in need of a shower.
Forbes – “All told, it was a tense, upsetting season premiere. As much as I hate the long cliff-hanger, and as much as I hate to see Glenn go, I can’t deny that this is the most intense, insane and emotionally powerful episode The Walking Dead has given us in years. I’m still not sure how to feel about Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is so flippant, so casual in his villainy, he almost seems out of place. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen. Whether this is merely Governor 2.0 remains to be seen. Still, I’m experiencing something that was in short supply by the end of Season 6: Excitement.”
Paste Magazine – “I’m so annoyed by this entire stupid episode, Josh. I wish I could be a little more positive, or see something redeeming in it, but it was just so so bad and I’m glad it’s over. Here are a few ways that it totally and completely sucked.”
Screencrush – “There’s only one question The Walking Dead Season 7 needed to answer off the bat, and it wasn’t Negan’s victim. It would take a major swing to justify such a cheap, manipulative cliffhanger as the one that ended Season 6, so was it worth it? Profoundly not.”
NY Times – “So more than six months after it was posed, the “who” question has now been answered, allowing us to consider the natural follow-up: Was it worth the wait, as Mr. Kirkman promised it would be? I’m going with ‘nope.’ For one thing, as noted earlier, I saw no compelling reason the cliffhanger device was necessary. For another, this was not a good episode. “
Digital Spy – “We don’t know what we were expecting really. It was never going to be a pleasant hour of television. But when it came to it, it kinda felt like an Eli Roth-directed collection of torture porn, Saw style. We’ve seen shocking deaths on The Walking Dead before, but this felt different. Yes, this is The Walking Dead – it’s not Downton Abbey. But it just felt needlessly grim and mean-spirited. We need a bath now… Tonight’s episode felt like a long prelude to the actual season, and we can’t wait.”
CNN – “The Walking Dead still has a strong array of assets, and its willingness to jettison important players has been vital in keeping the storytelling unpredictable and evolving. Those who have stuck with the show since the beginning will still find plenty to like about it, and AMC has every reason to continue mining its huge footprint in the cultural zeitgeist. Nevertheless, its most admirable qualities have increasingly been overshadowed by its more distasteful ones — not merely in demonstrating just how brutal humanity can be, but by toying with its audience, dangling plot twists the way somebody plays with a kitten. “
Inquistr – Final Verdict: “The Day Will Come Where You Won’t Be” gets a 10/10 from The Inquisitr.
Independent UK – “It may be difficult to muster excitement for something this depraved, but after six seasons – and a boldly stoic opener to season 7 – it remains easy to place your trust in the hands of showrunner Scott M. Gimple who is clearly elevating this immensely popular show’s strength with each new episode. Okay, the prevalent feeling may be of despair – but just be relieved it’s not at the state of the zombie series’ quality.”
AV Club – “This is how stupid the show has become: after six seasons of endless death, after years of repeatedly reminding us that anyone* (*who isn’t Rick or Carl) can die, after going through the same “We have hope now! Oh, look, it’s death” cycle over and over and over again without any real variation or insight, it still expects us to care when it trots out the same trick again.”
AC Club Community Rating > C-
Comicbook.com – “The execution of the episode (directed by executive producer Greg Nicotero) was nothing short of brilliant… It was a very impressive feat by AMC and the team to keep the spoilers home, for the most part, in an age where fans are constantly seeking for instant gratification.”