The seventh season of “The Walking Dead” already has gone past the typical hour-long runtime on more than one occasion this season, and based on what we’re seeing now, you better get used to this being more of a thing.
Per network listings uncovered via ComicBook.com, the upcoming episode “Swear” next week (which sounds like the perfect name given that Negan is a part of the show at the moment) is going to run for about 70 minutes; meanwhile, the one that follows in “Sing Me a Song” (which mostly just reminds us of the theme song for “Outlander”) could be as long as 90 minutes.
We’re ultimately of two minds about this. AMC may be feeling some pressure to have their episodes contain some of the same depth that you get from a show on an HBO or a Netflix, who have no commercials and therefore more flexibility to come close to the full hour running time. A 70-minute “Walking Dead” is closer to that. The downside here is that you don’t want to bloat out your episodes so much that it makes it harder for viewers to actually watch them live, or that they contain too much filler or stories that don’t matter. A great example of excess is season 5 of “American Horror Story,” which was significantly longer than the more recent “Roanoke” — the latter show was actually far superior in quality. Sometimes, less can be more.
Given where we’re at right now in the “Walking Dead” story, though, the longer episodes make sense. There are so many different characters and stories that need to be attended to, and our primary hope is just that the show continues to take advantage of this extra time to feature some of that as opposed to just drawing out one story that doesn’t need to be.