Like its titular menace, The Walking Dead continues to shuffle on with no signs that it can ever be defeated. Since its introduction to audiences over ten years ago (good god), the show has undoubtedly helped change the television landscape, opening up executives’ eyes to the commerciality of adult horror content on the small screen. However, the rot eventually set in and audiences started to bleed out many years ago, exhausted by the endless treading of water, unwatchable performances, and repetitive nature. At 18-episodes per season, it’s also nearly double the length of many new shows, adding to contemporary viewer’s fatigue. A showrunner change (its fourth) in Season 9 reignited the narrative despite it facing its toughest challenge yet (i.e. lead Andrew Lincoln’s leaving), but in terms of audience figures it was too little too late. Well clearly those figures are still healthy enough for makers AMC, who continue to throw more money at the franchise, slowly building the universe with spin-offs Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, a future Carol & Daryl show, and a comedy series.
Wait, a what?
In the most unlikely news from the world of The Walking Dead we could imagine beyond a spin-off mystery thriller centred around Negan’s missing neckerchief, former showrunner turned franchise overseer Scott Gimple recently revealed that they are indeed in development on a comedy set in the TWD universe. Careful to point out that this was not a parody designed to mock the property (smart), Gimple said that this was “just a more comedic take on the world.” Given the unrelentingly bleak subject matter, it’s hardly surprising that the shows so far have been light on laughs, but since it’s been twelve-or-so years in the canon since the apocalypse broke and the world’s population (the lucky ones) have learnt to adapt, perhaps there actually is potential for different tones to be explored. Is it a risky move? Sure. Would we welcome any ideas, no matter how strange, that could breathe new life into the stagnant corpse of the zombie genre right now? Hell yes.
We’ll have more on this new show as it develops beyond this short tease, but to wrap things up we’ve also heard encouraging news that the long-announced Rick Grimes spin-off movie (detailing just where he disappeared to in that chopper years ago) is beginning to move again, and pandemic-pending (ours, not theirs) will finally go before cameras in 2021.
The newly extended Season 10 of THE WALKING DEAD returns to screens with episode 17 (of 22) on February 28th.