THE WALKING DEAD Season 10 Premiere Spoiler-Free Review; "It Might Be Time This Show Be Put Down"

This Sunday, The Walking Dead returns to AMC for its tenth season. However, it appears as if the show's glory days are well and truly behind it if this opening episode is anything to go by. Check it out...

The Walking Dead returns to AMC this Sunday and...well, it's more of the same for this shrinking group of survivors. With the majority of the show's most interesting characters now gone, the focus remains on the supporting players who were fun to spend time with in the occasional episode when the AMC drama shifted the spotlight from Rick Grimes but now cause this series to shuffle along not all that differently to the zombie that wanders out of the sea in the opening few minutes. 

With a recap narrated by Judith, some undeniably impressive make-up effects, and the group coming up with some interesting new ways to combat the undead (especially now guns appear to have all but disappeared), there are some new ideas brought to the table in this premiere. However, there are nowhere near enough to make the show feel any more interesting or exciting than in previous years and one of the biggest problems remains the fact that the walkers still don't feel like a legitimate threat at this point. They're just background scenery and there's only so many times you can watch them grab someone's leg or be fought off before it's hard to every buy into the fact that they're ever going to do more than serve as the occasional distraction to Michonne and company. The days of watching and being scared to look between your fingers or worrying about our favourite characters seem to be at an end; instead, the show has returned to setting up another conflict which looks set to span the entire season with a similar outcome to what we've seen before.

With Danai Gurira set to leave The Walking Dead this year, much of this episode revolves around Daryl but neither character appears to have a major story arc for the year set up here. On the plus side, Negan has a slightly more interesting status quo now but it still feels like the show is treading water with the character and not using Jeffrey Dean Morgan to his full potential. The young Cailey Fleming, however, is superb as Judith Grimes. Most characters remain paper thin, while we never get enough insight into others to view their motivations as being anything more than clichéd (Aaron is angry at the world after losing a loved one!) or watching them simply go through the motions, very much like the show itself. 

The premiere takes an interesting approach to how the story plays out as we view events from different perspectives over the same time period in an episodic format. A bizarre subplot about a Russian satellite falling to Earth isn't anywhere near as interesting as it could have been and it seems another human vs. human war is on the horizon thanks to a dumb mistake and not the events of the season nine finale when Michonne and company were forced to travel through the lands belonging to The Whisperers. The snowy setting of that episode was something different but it's now business as usual in this world and, honestly, that's really not much fun a decade in. There's no real hook to get viewers excited about what comes next and with stakes that don't feel that high, characters on familiar paths, and a lot of retreading of old ground, The Walking Dead has seemingly stopped being must-view TV once and for all. 

Hardcore fans of The Walking Dead happy with the status quo will likely be satisfied with this opening episode but it's hard to escape the feeling that it might be time for this show to be put down like one of the walkers it's named after. 

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