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03-08-23 | Hot on the heels of the recently wrapped up Walking Dead come several spin-offs to continue the zombie mayhem. The first of these, Walking Dead: Dead City, has big boots to fill. The Walking Dead was an immensely popular series, destined to be revisited by fans for decades to come. Can the same be said for Dead City?

Critics are pleasantly surprised by Dead City, though the show is not a life changing experience either. ‘this show is a ton of fun, has some good twists that serve the plot, and utilizes the dynamic of walkers in New York City in some truly hilarious ways’ states Drew Reed of The Cosmic Circus, with Clint Worthington of describing it as The Walking Dead, kinda, but with a heaping helping of Escape from New York slathered atop like so much viscera.’ ‘Where does The Walking Dead: Dead City fall, in terms of quality’ asks Vanessa Maki of The Mary Sue? ‘Somewhere in the middle, leaning towards not that bad!’

Like its predecessor, the zombie carnage is but one expect of Walking Dead: Dead City. The series excels at spotlighting the relationship between lead actors Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. ‘Cohan and Morgan, veteran actors who’ve inhabited these roles for close to a decade, hit their marks with practiced ease, but they are also given more to work with than they have in years’ determines Jessica Liese of Variety. The plot concerns Cohan and Morgan seeking out Cohan’s kidnapped son. A quest which puts a strain on their already troubled relationship.

Reed singles out another performer: ‘Zeljko Ivanek gives an interesting performance when it comes to being a Walking Dead villain. While The Croat is a bit like some of the past villains we have seen, the character brings some fresh Joker-esque mannerisms and behaviors.’ With less players to deal with, characters like The Croat are allowed to flourish. Matt Fowler of IGN observes how The Walking Dead: Dead City thins the herd, allowing for a tighter, more-focused story. Setting things in an obliterated city also nicely whisks the saga out of the stale farmlands and into dire, dystopian wreckage.’

Which brings us to that other character … New York, New York! ‘As with all good New York City-set shows, the city itself emerges as a character. –’ raves Liese. ‘ – And in this case, it practically serves as yet another villain. There’s a real Mad Max sensibility to the Manhattan survivors’ setup: the New Yorkers of Dead City don motorcycle helmets bedecked with saw blades, drive cars covered in railroad spikes, and get around the city by ziplining from rooftop to rooftop.’ It makes a welcome change to the more rural atmosphere of its predecessor. The inclusion of New York City truly changes the texture of The Walking Dead.

Though generally well received, critics do doubt whether Dead City has appeal beyond Walking Dead fans. For Fowler, Dead City was ‘a soft recommendation. Walking Dead superfans? All yours. Completionists? Have at it. Maggie and Negan fans, specifically? This was designed for you. More casual viewers? Maybe.’ Maki’s conclusion was more optimistic ‘There are plenty of shocking turns that will keep you interested until the season finale. If you think you have the series pinned down already, you could easily be wrong.’

Read the full reviews here:
Drew Reed at The Cosmic Circus
Clint Worthington at
Vanessa Maki at The Mary Sue
Jessica Liese at Variety
Matt Fowler at IGN