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The Verge: Season 7’s big bad is a bust.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by richonnelove, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. richonnelove

    richonnelove Ricktator

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    https://www.google.com/amp/www.thev...season-7-episode-8-hearts-still-beating-recap

    THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION

    Bryan: I came into tonight’s episode wondering if it would show me something different; if The Walking Dead would redeem itself by respecting its audience more, or making smarter choices when it came to story and character. I don’t think I found that. If anything, I’ve found a show that seems to have learned almost no lessons whatsoever. And I’ll be honest: I’m shocked. When I quit watching, I’d decided The Walking Dead wasn’t worth the investment of time I was putting into it. But even then I knew there may be cool moments or interesting turns I might miss out on. Coming back for this mid-season finale, I don’t think that latter assumption is actually even true.

    And while I haven’t spent nearly as much time watching him as you have, it’s hard to not look at the main problem here as Negan himself. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is doing a great job with the material he’s being given, but TWD seems so in love with re-creating Negan as faithfully to the graphic novel as possible, that it appears nobody has considered if that treatment is actually appropriate for a TV show. Maybe his bad stand-up routine dialogue and leering grins play in single frames, but here he seems utterly out of place. Yes, I cringe when Negan seems coiled and ready to strike, but it’s because I think the episode may show me something grotesque or awful to look at — not because Negan as a character is actually frightening. That’s a failure.

    I WAS WRONG TO PLACE MY HOPE IN NEGAN
    Nick: I have to say I’m shocked, too, but for a different reason. I had come to trust TWD to get its big moments right, even when it was doing everything else wrong. Regardless of how meandering its seasons could be, or how cheap the theatrics seemed at certain points, I could rely on the show to deliver an explosive episode to make up for the painstakingly slow build-ups. With the fumbling of Glenn and Abraham’s deaths in the season seven premiere, I worried the show had taken an irreversible turn. But I held out hope that Negan would bring back the gritty moralistic explorations TWD had pulled off so well with the Terminus storyline, and then again with Rick and crew’s initial arrival in Alexandria.

    Now, seven episode later, I realize I had placed my hope in the wrong character. Negan, who in the comic books is supposed to represent the worst perversions of power in the post-apocalypse, comes off on-screen like a poorly written B-movie villain. I agree that it seems like the show’s writers, in an effort to make Negan as true to the source as possible, have sapped the comic book character of any sense of realism. And it’s largely because the show refuses to tell us anything about his life that would explain his behavior. In the comic book, we know that Negan used to be a sadistic high school gym teacher who loved pushing people to their limits. I don’t see how the show can handle that translation without the same clumsy tonal dissonance that it suffers from now.

    Bryan: The good news, I suppose, is that showrunner Scott Gimple and his team will have time to figure this all out. The back half of this season isn’t premiering until February, and if they’re concerned at all about the ratings drop, or the complaints from fans, they’ll have time to rethink, retool, and recalibrate. It’s nearly impossible to change the direction of a TV series when you’re in the middle of airing the season, but here the network ploy of two extended half-seasons will give The Walking Dead time to gets its act together.

    That said, I don’t think I saw anything new tonight that convinced me there had been lessons learned in the first place. I came back for an episode and gave it a go, but right now I can’t honestly say The Walking Dead redeemed itself. You?

    Nick: At times, I felt like this season had bounced back from its gory, manipulative premiere with a true sense of purpose. We saw the show sticking to its source material more closely than it ever had before, and it looked as if it was trading in its standard narrative toolkit for something newer and bolder focused on world-building. But it all fell apart about halfway in, when the show reverted to its standard wheel-spinning. And instead of delivering a strong mid-season finale to make the wait worth it, we got another tease of more to come.

    I think it’s safe to say that redemption was never a possibility here because the minds behind The Walking Dead don’t seem ready to admit they have a problem. However, if anything can convince Gimple and crew that what they’re doing is no longer working, it’s lower ratings. Astronomical viewership is what turned this show into the machine that today is seemingly churning out episodes until someone pulls the eventual plug or Andrew Lincoln walks away from his lucrative contract. And if viewership keeps falling, maybe we’ll see the show change its strategy and even sunset the Negan arc earlier than anticipated. Perhaps that’s what’s needed right now: an acknowledgement that The Saviors can’t save The Walking Dead from its own worst tendencies.
     
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  2. Lilly965

    Lilly965 Wig Shopping For Michonne
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    This right here is one of the main problems
     
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  3. box5angel

    box5angel The New Mrs. Grimes
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    I know this article is focused mainly on Negan but did they not watch from the time Rick and Michonne were in the cell to TF being at Hilltop. Or basically non-Negan scenes. Yes, I agree Negan is a bust but the episode as a whole wasn't. I think it made up for a lot of 7A. They still have a good ways to go in improving things but they are on their way.

    As for Negan, I don't see things improving with the writing of the character or how JDM brings him to life. I guess we'll see. I'm only focusing on TF myself. That's who I'm here for.
     
  4. AbsoluteTrash

    AbsoluteTrash Eating 112 oz. of Pudding
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    I love Richonne, I DO, but Negan outweighed Rick and Michonne in that mid-season finale. SO if the reviewers have a problem with Negan, specifically, and he is in MOST of the episode, they are going to talk about it alot.

    I think they didn't mention anything about Michonne and Rick and the rest of the cast outside of Alexandria (Maggie, Sasha, Carol, Morgan), because there isn't much of it and there isn't much wrong with it. In fact, more of it to diminish Negan would have been ideal.

    I agree that because they wanted Negan to be exactly like he is in the comics, they lost sight of how he plays in reality. The most glaring part of it, for me, is the fact that they SHAVED JDM's FACIAL HAIR. Hear me out: I know that Negan is not supposed to have a beard. But JDM rarely plays a role without some form of facial hair...at least a five o'clock shadow. It adds to his appearance. It makes him way more attractive, "manly," "rugged." What was the point of Negan having to shave if not to be completely 100% faithful to the comic depiction...and why do you need to be that faithful to the comic's drawing when it makes your actor look bad. JDM has not put on enough weight for the role, not yet. And who knows if he will. He looks awful shaved.

    I watched the episode and was like..."dude, put the facial hair back on. He looks like the professor in Back to the Future."

    Not to harp on this so much, but I just think it is representative of what is wrong with Negan. Adapting him for the TV show was imperative for the success of this season (and next) and they dropped the ball.
     
  5. box5angel

    box5angel The New Mrs. Grimes
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    I know they weren't the focus of the MSF or the article. I just mentioned TF (including Rick and Michonne) as a whole because if Negan is what you were only looking at in the MSF (which is what this article was about) Team Family was a good alternative to Negan with what they achieved at the end. Whether there was a little of it or not the focus of the MSF but they were part if it though. But although no mention of TF they still talked about the episode as an whole (as in nothing was learned at the end or nothing new happened) and Negan was not in every scene. That's what happens when you put faith in the villian and not the hero. Oh, and I mentioned Richonne not because they're my faves but because that was a strong scene. Richonner or not. That's all I was trying to say.

    And JDM does look like Doc from BttF. :lol:
     
    #5 box5angel, Dec 27, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  6. tuswig

    tuswig Bitch Slayer

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    I love Richonne but it's not enough to make up for the massive shortcomings of TWD. It's also important to remember that Richonne is not a big deal for every viewer which is why they may or may not be mentioned in all reviews, articles etc. Basically Negan backfired on tptb; whenever there were complaints about dumpstergate, the show's pacing, the cliffhanger all we heard was "don't worry Negan is going to be awesome, this is all going to be worth it"...Well Negan is here and there has yet to be any real payoff. They really put all their eggs in the basket with this character, and as someone who is pretty up to date with the comic storyline, I don't think there's anything else to look forward to beyond Negan.
     
  7. Katbird

    Katbird Awaiting Job from Deanna

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    I am just going to be as honest as I can, say it out: I don't know what is going on with Negan and know less about what to make of what JDM is doing with the character. I am just not able to get a handle on it, not smart enough, intuitive enough, knowledgeable- comic-wise- enough. I admit it, I just plain don't know, can't figure it out. I want to say it is because of what Nick said, not knowing what dude's problem is, not knowing what the *blank* is up with/wrong with him. That causes me like seventy-five percent of my angst with Negan. What? Why? Really?-- that is how I react every time he is on screen or is talking/interacting in an episode/scene. It may be what they are going for, but I really don't get it/him.
     
  8. geminiangel

    geminiangel You can't stop me from helping you
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    Hi newbie here. I wanted to say that no lies were told in this article. I totally agree that Negan is a major problem. As someone said earlier, the TPTB really did put all their eggs in Negan's basket and totally focused on him. How Sway? :dale2: We are in season 7. In what reality is it ever appropriate for the narrative to shift from the hero to the villain in such dramatic fashion. And a very poorly, constructed television villain at that. I knew from the tone of the Comic Con interviews, the trailer and just the overall vibe that this season was going to be a clusterfuck. Why is Negan's face on my DVR instead of Rick? They made a huge mistake thinking the comic, over top version of Negan in massive doses was more important to the story than seeing Rick and TF. And it has not gone unnoticed judging by the ratings drop. I am a huge Rick and Michonne fan and loved all their scenes. It just wasn't enough. There is no way that Rick should EVER be in an episode for two minutes while Negan continues to prattle on and on ad nauseam. We all get it! He's bad but this was complete overkill. This version of Negan does not translate well onto the screen and I hope the TPTB will finally realize this but I'm not hopeful. I'm really excited for the second half of the season but I'm truly not looking forward to more Negan.
     
  9. TakemetoRick

    TakemetoRick Nestled in Rick's Beard

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    Ok, I'll be the voice of dissent even though I agree with criticism of 7A for a variety of reasons. First, I actually can understand why people don't like Negan, but I will admit that I do. I think he's funny, scary and intriguing at the same time. I think JDM is nailing it, and I can't imagine another actor who could do Negan justice at this point. I was more worried about Negan coming across as cartoonish before his introduction than I am now that he's actually here. From what I understand about the GN, it appears they have made some important changes to Negan so that he isn't quite as over the top on the show as he is in the GN.

    Negan is a sadistic bully who gets off on terrorizing and controlling people. He's probably a sociopath. To me, he seems like a real person who could actually exist in the context of a total breakdown of human civilization. My biggest criticism of Negan is that it's a little hard to understand why there are so many people following him and why no one has taken him out yet. But perhaps that makes sense if you look at the rise to power of people like Adolph Hitler or fascist dictators, in general. I also think his character is a little choppy sometimes. One minute you think you understand him and then he changes again. But maybe that's the point: Negan is totally unpredictable which is part of the reason this oppressive arrangement where he forces people to work for him is doomed to fail in the long-term. It's also essentially a pyramid scheme that will have to collapse when there are no more goods to give him, for example.

    I agree with the idea that the cliffhanger was really dumb and I think it made people feel jerked around. But if someone is going to not watch TWD ever again because of it, then why are they going to come back and review the MSF? That doesn't make sense to me.

    Is there too much Negan in 7A? I don't know. I think it was necessary to establish that he has completely shattered Rick's faith in himself and crushed his spirit. To me, that was the point of putting in so much Negan in this first half of the season and I think that objective was accomplished. Was that fun to watch? No. It sucked seeing Rick lose the will to fight back and just take whatever shit Negan dished out. Whether people enjoy Negan as a character or not, some of the criticism of this half of the season is because we were not watching Rick and TF fighting back (notwithstanding pockets of defiance from among TF). The entirety of these 8 episodes was watching Rick at probably one of his lowest points emotionally and that was really unpleasant.

    I don't know what these reviewers are expecting for the back 8 because those scripts were written months ago and all of the season has been filmed already. How can they not know that it's too late to change anything that's been planned and filmed for the latter half of the season at his point?
     
  10. Danaisbestie

    Danaisbestie Rick's ride or die
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    Do they think filming is on going? They can't change anything between half seasons, 7B is already in the can, lol
    They start writers room for season 8 soon and I doubt they change much and this is why:


    The 20 highest-rated shows of 2016: ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ win the year
    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/mo...ng-dead-and-the-big-bang-theory-win-the-year/

    For all the complaints and articles written, the numbers were still in their favor and that's all they care about. Even Fear was one of the top 20 shows of 2016 and that was after a 50% drop in viewers.
     
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  11. box5angel

    box5angel The New Mrs. Grimes
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    I truly believe that nothing will change in the way Negan is written or how JDM will play him come S8.
     
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  12. Danaisbestie

    Danaisbestie Rick's ride or die
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    Yep, Especially not after winning a critics choice award
     
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  13. Clutterbuck

    Clutterbuck Finding Bigfoot™
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    Negan being changed/toned down for S8 was kind of my only hope in this department and I think you're correct. I'm really starting to think there's a snowball's chance in hell that anything will change. :ugh: He's going to be the proverbial thorn in my side, always there and festering.
     
  14. richonnelove

    richonnelove Ricktator

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    It wasn't 8 episodes of watching Rick. After the season premiere it was almost a month before we saw Rick again. Then 2 minutes the week after, then a short bit again in episode 7, then the MSF. So 3 regular appearances in 8 episodes and 2 very brief guest appearances in 2 other episodes.
     
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  15. Philly Girl

    Philly Girl Ricktator

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    Unfortunately, the Michonne and Rick cell scene and the family reunion was only about twenty minutes. The other hour was Negan and more Negan. The balance should have been better. On re-watch I fast forward to when NEGAN is leaving Alexandria. He's too much of the show in 7A. Hopefully, 7B will focus on the reason that we watched for 6 years TF.
     
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  16. candi18z

    candi18z Awaiting Job from Deanna

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    As much as I hate the Negan arc, it is not Negan that is the only problem with season 7 it is what he represents. Negan's arc is a change in the show's premise. Before Negan TWD was a show about Rick and TF trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world by fighting Zombies and the occasional evil people. Now the show is going to be about various communities going to war and then trying to rebuild civilization. TWD will never be the same show it was from seasons 1-6.
     
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  17. lanielove

    lanielove Nestled in Rick's Beard
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    Although I agree with the articles sentiments regarding how Negan is being written on the show compared to the comic, I truly believe that at some point last season someone at AMC decided to have the marketing department make the decision on how the story needs to unfold. And its not working.

    What I saw with season 7a was a back lash from the audience with regard to the to the season 6 finale and the season 7 premier and beyond. The TPTB just became way to arrogant and dismissive of the audience by telling us that we don't know what we're talking about and that we will fall ass backwards over how awesome season 7 would be. And the audience was like:

    [​IMG]

    After the season 7 premier, (I wasn't all that impressed by the premier either cuz I was so over who got the bat that I really didn't give a sh*t who it was. I just wanted it over and done with so we could move on with the story.) the rest of the were...humdrum to say the least. Causing the audience to be like. "We are not as impressed/surprized as AMC say thought we would be:
    [​IMG]

    I on the other hand feel like they should have included more scenes with TF (Rick and Michonne in particular) than scenes about Negan and the Sanctuary. They episode order/focus was poorly balanced when it came to Negan and TF and they've lost viewership because of it.


    I doubt if it will be fixed in 7B in addition I think that we will see even less of Rick and others in season 8. I'm sure it was mentioned on here a few months back that AL and NR renewed their contracts for next season at 550k per episode. And that contract renewal came after the decline in viewership of 7a.

    AMC is really cheap and they were probably hoping that Negan would be their MVP going forward so they wouldn't have to come out of pocket for AL.

    I still maintain that their best viewer episodes are when Rick, Michonne Daryl and Carl (when Carl isn't doing stupid sh*t) is when everybody watches.

    All the other characters, (Carol, Morgan, Rosita, Maggie, Sasha, Father G, etc. don't pull in viewers like Rick and co and AMC needs to own up it and start writing for the characters most people are interested in seeing.

    Their stunt for doing a ratings grab backfired horribly and if they don't start admitting to their mistake the show will suffer for it.

    A perfect example that they may have learned their lesson is in "Hearts still beating" when Rosita fired her gun at Negan and the screen faded to black that were the marketing department wanted to end the mid season finally but someone finally came in and said, "Nope, we can not do that shit again like the finale we have to extend the episode 8 to 90 minutes or people will tune out for good this time."

    Sorry for the ramble.
     
  18. Philly Girl

    Philly Girl Ricktator

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    Yes to all of this. So true.