Was The Walking Dead's Dead City Spinoff Worth It? What Maggie & Negan's Show Tells Us About TWD's Future!

Dead City Brought Attention Back To The Walking Dead (Sort Of)

From the moment Negan's baseball bat came crashing down upon Glenn's skull, and critical enthusiasm, ebbing from a cable phenomenon to an ailing survivor of the big 2010s zombie boom. Ending in favor of launching multiple spinoffs was effectively AMC's reset button - a chance to revamp its post-apocalyptic property and bring eyes back to Robert Kirkman's world once again. By that measure, was a modest success.

Dead City's Improved Visuals Reinvigorated The Walking Dead's Look

Filmed largely in Georgia, 's gritty rural aesthetic immediately became an integral ingredient in AMC's zombie broth, generating an isolated, suspenseful arena where a zombie could be lurking behind any tree, and buildings to scavenge were few and far between. As the seasons - and the spinoffs - carried on coming, however, 's backdrops became increasingly anonymous. One stretch of dense vegetation bled into the next, and each long, dusty road became impossible to distinguish from the others.

One aspect for which has earned near-universal acclaim is its visual style.

Dead City Season 1 Relied Too Much On Recycled Walking Dead Stories

begins AMC's new stretch of spinoffs on a bright note, but that strong start doesn't necessarily eclipse the red flags. Arguably the reddest and waviest of said flags is a clear reliance on tried-and-tested storylines and narrative beats. The overarching Maggie and Negan feud - a begrudging team-up where Maggie struggled to see past Negan murdering her husband - already played out across

season 11. dusted off that storyline, then put Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan on more or less the same emotional journey. On both occasions, Maggie and Negan found some level of understanding whilst acknowledging full forgiveness as a step too far.

Beyond its two stars, other aspects of 's story felt eerily familiar. Maggie and Negan rescuing Hershel from a shady enemy happened during arc. The idea of grizzled, experienced main characters rallying timid communities against common villains has been a recurring trope since Rick Grimes stepped foot in Alexandria. Even the new settlements added nothing new to

's formula. The Croat's villain group was, partially by design, Saviors-lite, while the New Babylon Federation seems indistinguishable from PADRE, the CRM, or the Pioneers.

Dead City Season 1 Didn't Answer Any Lingering Walking Dead Questions

AMC's "Universe" rebrand signals a shift away from the traditional model of parent-show-and-spinoffs, and toward a shared universe-style format - the latest in a long line of lucrative properties to try and emulate Marvel's success with the MCU.

As Kevin Feige knows all too well, however, shared universes walk a devilishly tricky balance between making each entry feel distinct, yet still tying them together in a cohesive way. Directors and writers often bring their own ideas to a project rather than following the bigger franchise picture, and one look at Marvel's Phase 4 multiverse confusion shows how difficult appeasing both ends of that spectrum can be.

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