The Walking Dead: Why is the pacing slow?

The Walking Dead is taking another season break after recently premiering its eleventh season, which comes after the series was criticised for years over its slow pacing.

The Walking Dead is considered one of the best television series to have come out in the 2010s.

First premiering in 2010, the series is concluding its 12-year run with its eleventh and final season, which started airing in August 2021 and is set to conclude in November 2022.

While the series may be considered one of the best television series to have emerged from the 2010s, it has still faced criticism.

Mostly, because of the pacing of the series, which is considered slow, as events or story arcs in the series are continually dragged out ad nauseam.

Is The Walking Dead complete?

Since premiering in 2010, The Walking Dead has continued to expand its franchise with the creation of spin-off series like Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and Tales of the Walking Dead.

Therefore, when AMC confirmed that the show’s eleventh season would be the series finale, it was believed that the season would leave room for spin-offs.

But The Walking Dead’s chief content officer, Scott M. Gimple, has made it clear that this is not the case by stating in part, “The finale is about completing The Walking Dead story, not setting up spinoffs. There’s room for those spinoffs, but full-on, The Walking Dead finale concludes the story of this 11 years.”

The Walking Dead: Why is the pacing slow?

Much of The Walking Dead’s success is credited to the fact that the series is based on the ongoing series of comic books of the same name written by Robert Kirkman.

However, it is also this fact that has resulted in the series biggest criticism. This is as the series is continually called out for its slow pacing in terms of pushing the narrative forward.

Many find this bizarre, considering that it has ample source material to draw from if the writers could find inspiration. This critique has come from the fact that there are other successful series based on already existing source material.

The biggest comparison is made with the pacing of the hit HBO MAX series, Game of Thrones. One comment on Quora about the pace of The Walking Dead wrote:

“In comparison, a show like Game of Thrones moves much faster— and they even outpaced the writers source material! Almost every episode has some kind of purpose without which the storyline would have some serious holes in it by the current season. Walking Dead, you could probably take out half of every episode and not have missed too much.”

Moreover, there has since been comparisons between seasons of the series in terms of which had better pacing.

Which seasons of The Walking Dead had the best pace?

The Walking Dead as a series has always been slow. But some of its seasons have been better in terms of retaining its audience’s attention.

As such, a poll was conducted on Reddit where fans of the series voted on which season had the best pace and kept viewers most entertained.

The first season, since it was the introductory season, obviously received the most votes out of the 550 votes lodged, with a total of 123 votes. The other top three seasons voted to have the best pacing are:

Season Total number of votes
3 120
5 110
9 101

Is the pacing the cause of The Walking Dead’s cancellation?

The Walking Dead has proven why it is one of AMC’s flagship shows as the series has maintained the number one series title for the 12 years that it has been airing on basic cable for adults between the ages of 25 and 34 in live+3 viewing.

While the season 11 premiere had a smaller live viewing audience than season 10, which has 3.2 million live views. The number was on par with the season 10 finale numbers.

Moreover, considering the general trend of a drop in viewership numbers for cable television, it is fair to say that the pace issues were not at the heart of the series cancellation.

Why was The Walking Dead cancelled?

Though it has never been formally confirmed that AMC cancelled The Walking Dead as there has not been official word given regarding the show’s end, based on words by The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan, it seems that the series was cancelled.

This assumption can be attributed to the fact that season 11 was not meant to be the series last season. Morgan was quoted as stating in part:

“The news, when we got it in the middle of the pandemic, was a complete surprise, not only to me and the rest of the actors, but to everybody involved in the show from production. Scott Gimple and Angela Kang had no idea either. It came from nowhere and there was such a huge pivot.”