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‘The Walking Dead: Dead City’ premiere review: Spin-off benefits from established characters

By June 19, 2023No Comments4 min read
Walking Dead Dead City

The Walking Dead series wrapped up an eleven-season run in 2022, but it wasn’t really an end for this universe. While there have already been spinoffs in the past like Fear the Walking Dead (which is also coming to an end this year), it was announced there would be several new spinoffs centering some of our favorite characters from the main series. The first of these spinoffs is Dead City and despite featuring fan favorite characters Maggie and Negan, the real question is, will any of these spinoffs be good enough to fill the void left behind by the original show?

Dead City is set soon after the ending of The Walking Dead and follows Maggie (Lauren Cohen) on a mission to get back her son Hershel after he is taken by a mystery group. With nowhere else to turn, Maggie goes to the one person she knows that is ruthless and fearless enough to help her—Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan). As the final season of the main show revealed, Maggie has not forgiven Negan for the brutal murder of her husband Glenn (Steven Yeun).

A mutual agreement

But, after he proved himself numerous times to her, Negan is somewhat neutral in Maggie’s eyes. This show obviously takes place long enough after their last encounter that Negan is understandably scared when he sees Maggie has tracked him down. But, after a short chase they talk, and eventually, Negan agrees to help her. The catch to the situation, however, is that Hershel has been taken to Manhattan and his captor is a former acquaintance of Negan named The Croat.

As the pair begin their journey into the city, they realize they may not be alone. It turns out, Negan is a wanted man by a marshal named Armstrong from the New Babylon settlement. While they are eventually able to shake free of Armstrong and his partner, it’s clear he’s not going to stop until he gets Negan. As the pair slowly treks through the city, they encounter hordes of walkers and even walkers falling from tall buildings above. They see the bridges and tunnels were all destroyed in the early days of the outbreak which made the island of Manhattan a battlefield of death and destruction. But, with Hershel in the hands of someone that even Negan seems afraid of, Maggie is going to do whatever it takes to survive and find her son.

Complicated histories

Dead City is pleasing so far. This show is just the right amount of different from the original that fans of this universe have been dying for. While the main show stuck to the comics (sometimes) and played it safe most of the time, the spinoff shows like Fear the Walking Dead weren’t afraid to go crazy and abstract and literally put the characters we’ve grown to love through hell.

The relationship between Maggie and Negan is complicated. Since Negan’s infamous introduction back in the main show, fans have a hard time seeing him smile or be happy after watching the horror of what he did to Glenn and Abraham. Maggie, the direct living victim of Negan’s actions, has had every right and opportunity to kill Negan, but she has chosen time and time again to spare him. While she will probably never forgive him or consider him a friend, she has found a way to be civil and respect his abilities so that she can use them to her advantage. 

Apocalyptic cities

The setting of this show being in NYC scared me when I first heard the idea. I was shocked when I watched this episode and saw the amazing job the visual effects artists did in making a mostly accurate version of the city in shambles. Manhattan has become a character of its own in so many other films and shows, and this show is looking like it’s going to take that and run with it. Along with the environments and new types of walkers, the new characters we’ve met so far are very intriguing. Armstrong looks like he’s going to be a formidable adversary for Negan and Maggie going forward. While we haven’t seen much of The Croat and don’t know much about him except that he was Negan’s mentor, it’s clear he’s going to be a menacing villain.

As a fan of the original show from day one and someone who has watched all the spinoff projects with an open mind, I do have a good feeling about this show. With two characters that have been built out well in this universe and stakes that feel important and dire, this story could be one wild ride. Here’s hoping that the rest of this series keeps up the momentum and that the next few spinoffs can follow its lead.

The Walking Dead: Dead City airs new episodes every Thursday on AMC at 8 p.m. CT.

Featured Image Courtesy of AMC Networks

  • 'The Walking Dead: Dead City' - 8/10
Tyler Carlsen

From a young age, Tyler has been amazed by filmmaking and writing. When he’s not watching movies in theaters, he also enjoys playing video games and binging one of the numerous shows he’s watching at any given moment. Working with The Young Folks was a highlight of his writing career and he is looking forward to this new adventure with In Between Drafts!

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