As you probably know, this disaster porn of a show #The Walking Dead, has a stupendous following from all walks of life. It is now in its 7th season and if you are still watching, you would’ve witnessed what some might call a gratuitously graphic and traumatising death of one of the remaining original characters: Glenn.

His death made for an explosive series premiere that was sad for some, exciting for others, and for the rest: it was the last straw.

It’s standard practice for shows to lose viewers after the season premiere — even for big shows —  because it’s how people judge whether they want to keep watching. But with all previous seasons of The Walking Dead, the viewership never dropped any further than two million. This season, the follow up to the premier dropped from 17million to 12million viewers, making it the most significant drop the show has ever experienced.

But this isn’t the first time people have threatened to quit, is it? Most people who watch/watched the show would’ve likely thought about quitting once or twice. The “zombie apocalypse” genre is not exactly a new one and despite its incredible cast and budget how much more could it offer, right? Wrong, and here’s why.

It’s not about the zombies and it’s not about the apocalypse.

Ok, maybe it’s a little bit about the apocalypse, but the concept itself is explored within the first three seasons. You scavenge, kill, protect, eat, survive etc. etc. Everyone gets it. But the brilliance is in the complexity of the characters.

And no… it’s not just about everyone’s favourite character Daryl. It’s about everyone including the worst villains. The way each person deals with the loss of family, friends, government and general normalcy — this alone, is the crux of the show.

The Walking Dead is a program that showcases the best and worst parts of humanity in an infinitely expanding setting. When you break it down, every story is about how characters react to their context and each other. But in the space of two hours that a movie provides, or in a cheesy soap where you can sniff out the artificial emotions, you never truly get to see the growth of a character in an organic way. This is what The Walking Dead achieves.

A post apocalyptic wasteland is an extreme setting that allows the humanity to show with its hackles raised, baring teeth. No politics, no law, no culture, no nothing. The ugliness you see from here on out is raw, it’s not pretty and scarily plausible.

When something as simple as people’s beliefs can affect the lives of others to a fatal degree, people become a lot more accountable for their thoughts and actions. Characters constantly fight their animalistic metamorphosis, desperately trying to retain some semblance of decency, all the while this struggle itself can mean the death of someone close to you. And we see each and every character deal with this differently and evolve through out the seasons.

It teaches philosophy without being overly preachy

The best example of this is shown in season 6 episode 4 where Morgan Jones, who had PTSD from the death of his family, became a vicious and vengeful killer of all things dead and alive. When he is brought back to sanity through the teachings of an ex psychologist who traps him in a cell, he regains the ability to see value in life and finds a new way.

In fact, what some people view write off as the “slow episodes” are the true gems of the show where it truly explores the characters past, their reasoning and how they feel.

It’s a stunningly crafted show

Whether you think the violence is unwarranted, the fact remains that it is shot immaculately. There is art in the filming of every inch of this show, making it a gruesome but beautiful viewing. Ultimately, the brutality is an intrinsic part of a story that is based in survival and the show does a great job of portraying this without the violence becoming the only thing people hang on to.Just stick with it

Pay attention, wait, and you will be rewarded.