5. Put a moratorium on the introduction of new characters.
Jesus told us in Season 6 that “your world’s about to get a whole lot bigger.” And, at the time, it sounded cool. But, since then, in quick succession we’ve met Richard, Natanya, David, Cyndie, Benjamin and so many others that nobody would blame you if you didn’t recognize at least a couple of those names — or really care about any of them. So no more fresh faces for a while, OK? At least not until enough of them have gone the way of Fat Joey (R.I.P.) that we’ve stopped asking, “Who is that again?”
4. Play the existing favorites.
While the series has been busy expanding its canvas beyond Alexandria to include residents of Oceanside, The Hilltop, The Kingdom and The Sanctuary, it’s arguably been neglecting some of the survivors we already know and love. (How could three weeks have gone by with no Maggie and Sasha? How could there have been more than a month between Carol appearances?!?) Perhaps fewer charactercentric (or communitycentric) installments would make viewers feel less like Season 7 took away from them more than just Glenn and Abraham.
3. Play the existing favorites together.
Why do we love TWD? In part, it’s the action. In part, it’s the walkers. But mainly, it’s the interplay of characters who care for one another as much as we do them. Don’t buy it? Just think about what a relief it was to see so many members of the core group reunited in the midseason finale. Now that almost everyone’s together again, we suggest keeping them together and allocating more time to the friendships (like Daryl and Carol’s) and romances (like Rick and Michonne’s) that give the drama its emotional heft.
2. Laugh a little… more.
Yeah, yeah, we know that TWD is a drama. But, while our heroes — and, vicariously, we — are living under the Saviors’ rule, comic relief isn’t just nice, it’s a necessity. So, as long as we’re grieving for Glenn, Abraham and now Olivia, too — not so much Spencer — and watching Negan bully both the strongest of our protagonists and the most vulnerable, maybe the show could make sure it throws us a bit of Jerry silliness (fruit time!) or some Morgan/Carol riffing on the regular. Please?
1. Flesh out the Big Bad.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is indisputably a fine actor. However, Negan has thus far been depicted as nothing but a whistling id whose predilection for nastiness is matched only by his fondness for making bad jokes. Perhaps sooner than later peeling back some of his layers — and revealing that he, you know, has some layers — would allow us to see the Saviors’ leader as a compelling character rather than an obnoxious caricature.