The Walking Dead has come back for an eighth season (and a 100th episode), however, this season’s premiere did little to scare off the competition, as it pulled in the lowest ratings since the Season 3 premiere back in 2012.
After the intense Season 6 finale, that saw Negan take a bat to someone in Rick’s group, Season 7 opened with some 17 million viewers tuning in to witness Glenn and Abraham get ‘Lucilled’. So after the rather low-key Season 7 finale, audiences already knew that this premiere wouldn’t be able to top that excitement – however, as the show’s 100th episode, there was expected to be more interest.
According to Variety (via Nielsen’s same-day ratings) the Season 8 premiere drew in 11.4 million viewers, and a 5.0 rating for their key demographic of adults under 50. While that isn’t too awful, (and lets not forget that TWD is still one of the highest-rated shows out there) it does make ‘Mercy’ the series’ fourth least-watched premiere of the entire run, and combined with the ratings drop from Season 7, it may not be long until critics start to see this as the beginning of the end for the record-breaking show.
‘Mercy’ seemed to be a majority disappointment, with some critics and fans claiming that the premiere was ‘confusing’ or just kind of ‘boring’. However, with the “All Out War” saga only just beginning, ratings may fly as the bullets no doubt will.
But don’t expect this to happen any time soon, as Walking Dead fans are no doubt familiar at this point with the show’s system when it comes to big battles. We may not have seen anything like the war with Negan before, however The Walking Dead like to end of cliffhangers, so this series will probably see a slow in action before the mid-season finale, where the war will be teased in a cliffhanger that leaves us waiting until February for any real action to begin.
The Walking Dead continues on Sundays in the US, and Mondays in the UK.