Family comes to mind when watching the show.
Family is caring, nurturing, demanding, engaging. Love, pain, belonging. To keep that family you most bond. On every level you want to relate, to be loved, to love. To feel a part of a group you would die for, that you wouldn’t be able to live without. The Atlanta group started out with trials and tribulations but accompanying each other to weather the storm. It’s in our nature to want to survive, to fight against the odds to overcome a challenge, the challenge here; to survive the Walker apocalypse.
Why is it so vital that family is the main component for my love of the show? Simple. It’s that the writers and producers, cast & crew, editors and VFX artists pour their heart & soul into each and every moment. Their decisions are the final say, as an audience member I am solely here for the stories and moments you let me watch, live, embrace, discuss.
Their love, passion and attention to detail resonates with me, my involvement is to care for what situations they put our beloved characters through, to hope they prevail over adversity. That I feel a part of something that is bonded by a connection, like family. With a community filled with love on the same level is nothing more than a miracle, a collective that couldn’t live without the show because we feel so much more involved with the world of The Walking Dead. #TWDFamily . The love and community spirit, that’s what makes The Walking Dead special to me as much as the stories told on-screen.
As a film-maker I know what it’s like to face opinion, criticism. Opinions are the single most painful or the single most joyous depending on which you’re dealing with. Hearing praise for a certain characters entrance, Negan for example, was exciting, thrilling, and in this case devastating because a lot of us know the consequence of his appearance. On the other side, the backlash of the cliffhanger; uproar and disappointment. But there lies their decision. Intentionally not finding out who Negan killed until the premiere of Season 7 was made to fuel discussion, emotion, and they got it.
The creative team wanted to torment you, they want you to agonise over who you’ll be missing come S701. That’s true love. And I adore that decision to let you have time to ponder who, but not to grieve. The truth is it would have been a lot harder to know who died, and for several months in mourning.
They made that choice, and people liked it and others didn’t. The choices made aren’t for us to decide, as a viewer we are passive in its creation, but engaged in the reaction. I remember the day it aired. In the US it was the Sunday night, and here in the UK I witnessed the horror in all its misery mid-day on the Monday. The lengthy wait was worth it, the visceral nature of the 42 minutes of hell, a beautiful fury of emotion culminating in streams of tears and gut-wrenching pain hurt me like I lost a family member.
It’s a TV Show, and it makes me feel like this. The loss of (SPOILER’S BUT IF YOU’RE A WALKING DEAD FAN YOU SHOULD BE UP-TO-DATE) Abraham & Glenn. The former had me relieved because I thought that was it, I was upset and I unravelled within all the moments from before, the bitch-nuts, pouring the bisquik and mother dick all came to mind and it was over. I had chance to breathe a little. Then, Daryl. I love you, but why couldn’t you stay down. Glenn took the wrath of Lucille and he was gone, but not in an instant, not quick. Long, gruelling and depressing. The loss of a family member. Flashback to our time with him, and it all becomes clear, a pivotal moment in the series that was an ending and a new beginning. But one without a part of the family.
It comes down to family. For years, existing with other like-minded individuals watching/reacting to the show. Making connections, making friends, the spirit has never died. Only our favourite characters. I feel as though the show has so much care and attention given to it that it doesn’t matter what ‘non-believers’ think – not that watching the show to this degree makes us a cult, no – but it’s a collective experience that you can just embrace the love and ignore everything else.
Sure critics, fans, opinions are formed either positive or negative, that’s how it goes. Nitpicking is an art from to look for anything to criticise is to ignore everything there to provoke you. Like before, embrace the love, embrace the show and everything; ignore everything else that doesn’t matter.
In my mind when I read some negative press or rating dips, or attacks on the writing, acting, whatever it may be, I can safely say that none of that, NONE of that could sour the love I feel for Scott M. Gimple, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero, Robert Kirkman, Robert Alpert, Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Michael Cudlitz, Christian Sarratos, Sonequa Martin Green, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Lennie James, Ross Marquand, Emily Kinney, Laurie Holden, Sarah Wayne Callies, Austin Nichols (Yes even you Spencer), Jon Bernthal, Tom Payne, Scott Wilson, Chad Coleman, Seth Gilliam, David Morrissey, Michael Rooker, Madison Lintz, Jeffrey DeMunn, IronE Singleton, Emma Bell, Andrew J. West, Tyler James Williams, Christine Woods, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Jason Douglas, Austin Amelio, Katelyn Nacon, Alexandra Breckenridge, Tovah Feldshuh, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Ann Mahoney, Xander Berkeley, Jordan Woods-Robinson, Khary Payton, Merritt Wever and you chaotic bastard Jeffrey Dean Morgan. + Every single cast & crew member involved.
The Walking Dead Family.