I love The Walking Dead. I started watching the show before the third season aired and started reading the comics shortly after.
Initially, I really liked the changes that were made from the comic to the show because as I got ahead by reading the comic, things happened in the show that I would not expect.
However, as time went on, I began to see that many of the changes that were being made in the show were far inferior to what had happened in the comics or just plain stupid.
Not every change they made was like this but there are certainly more bad than good changes, in my opinion.
The comic is definitely the better of the two stories and given how far the show has fallen in recent years I have decided to do a top 10 list on the worst changes from the comic to the show.
This list will also shortly be followed by a top 10 list of the best changes.
Before we start though, I want to mention that this list is inspired by the YouTube video, The Walking Dead – TOP 5 WORST CHANGES FROM COMIC TO SHOW by RNS Entertainment.
I would also like to give a few quick dishonorable mentions to the CDC storyline from season one and Eugene’s portrayal.
The CDC story line was not bad, it just did not fit with the story that the show and comics are trying to tell.
But it was entertaining and did make for some interesting callbacks in the future of the show so I left it off the list.
As for Eugene’s portrayal, they have turned a very important character from the comics into an unlikable selfish jerk in recent seasons.
However, the reason it missed out on the list is because there were worse changes, which we will now get into.
10. Daryl Dixon
Put down your pitch forks and let me explain.
Me putting Daryl on this list does not mean I think he is a bad character.
On the contrary he is the greatest character created for the show, however, he has definitely more than overstayed his welcome.
Daryl was my favourite character in the show up to season five but from season six onwards his character has been in a slow downward spiral, with him constantly making stupid decisions and coming across as an aggravated hothead rather than the lovable hero of prior seasons.
However, although this is a problem, it is not the main reason he is at number ten.
The real reason for this is that his presence undermines important characters from the comics.
In the show, after Shane dies, Daryl becomes Rick’s right-hand man and it has stayed that way ever since.
In the comics, however, Daryl does not exist so after Shane dies Rick does not have just one but multiple right-hand men.
First there was Tyreese and then Abraham after him.
Both Abraham and Tyreese became very close to Rick and thus had more involvement in the story but in the show, because Daryl is Rick’s right-hand man, these two characters do not get this time to shine and are basically secondary characters.
This is unfortunate due to how both are much more important in the comics.
So, while Daryl is a good character, his presence undermines that of Abraham and Tyreese.
Like I said though, Daryl is an incredible character in the first five seasons so he only comes in at number ten.
9. The Prisoner Story Line
The prisoners lasted around 36 issues in the comics, while in the show they lasted ten episodes.
That alone shows how underused they were in the show, despite there being more of them.
In fact, three of the prisoners are killed off within the space of the first four episodes of season three.
This was a huge disappointment, considering how important the prisoners were in the comics.
There was Thomas, a serial killer who murdered two of Hershel’s daughters, Dexter and Andrew, who tried to kick Rick and the others out of the prison and finally there was Axel, the wisecracking biker with his own catch phrase, “you follow me?”
In comparison, how the prisoners were utilized in the show was very disappointing.
Dexter and Thomas seemed to be merged into a single character named Tomas, who only lasted two episodes, and Axel was nowhere near as important as he was in the comics, even though he was the last prisoner to die in both the show and comic.
The one saving grace of the prisoner storyline was Oscar, a character created for the show.
Oscar was a great character with a lot of memorable moments, like when he saved Rick by killing Andrew in Killer Within.
Unfortunately, Oscar only lasted eight episodes before kicking the bucket so his presence was short lived.
Overall, the prisoner storyline was very disappointing because the prisoners were not as much of a threat as they were in the comics and the ones that turned out to be good guys did not last long enough for the audience to get attached.
Now we are getting into the characters who were done poorly in the show, compared to the comic.
Tyreese is one such character, however, unlike other characters we will be seeing further down the list, I do not actually hate Tyreese in the show.
Had his name been anything other than Tyreese, I think I would have really liked his character.
But he is named Tyreese so I have to compare him to his comic book counterpart and, unfortunately, this Tyreese ultimately fails to capture what made the one in the comics such a great character.
The Tyreese in the comics was tough as nails and absolutely ruthless when he had to be.
He was also a flawed character as seen through him cheating on Carol with Michonne and his violent fallout with Rick, but this made him all the more compelling.
The Tyreese in the show, however, did not have these qualities.
Instead he served as the voice of reason to the group, going as far as refusing to kill, something the Tyreese of the comic would never do, considering he strangled his daughter’s boyfriend to death after he shot her.
There is also his friendship with Rick, which is barely explored in the show, due to Daryl taking his place.
This makes any interaction they have not very memorable and their big fight not as impactful as it was in the comics.
Overall, the Tyreese we got in the show was a good character but he was just not a good Tyreese.
7. The Prison Massacre
The problem with the prison massacre in the show was that it was not a massacre.
When this attack happened in the comics it was an absolute slaughter.
I am not kidding when I say at least eight of the central characters die during this section of the comics.
Can you imagine what that would have been like if it had been adapted for the show?
It would have made it look like Walder Frey gave a generous toast to the Starks during the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones.
This would have changed everything had it been on the scale that it was in the comics.
That is not to say what we got was not good though, at least the second time around.
There were actually two prison attacks in the show and if the first one had been the only attack, then this would have been much higher on the list because it was a massive disappointment.
The second attack was done much better, with great action and the hard hitting death of Hershel.
However, Hershel was the only main character of Rick’s group to die.
Every other important character made it.
The way the prison massacre was handled in the show made it feel very toned down and I do understand why since killing off around eight central characters at the same time could have caused the show to loose a lot of its fan base.
Still, there were a few characters they could have killed off in the prison attacks to make it more meaningful so it would stand a chance when comparing it to the comic.
6. Dale Horvath
Talk about missed potential.
In the comics Dale was a very important character who was a lot tougher than he looked.
He was also a very complex character and if pushed could be prone to anger, as seen with his reaction to Ben and Billy’s death.
However, we also got to see his softer side through his relationship with Andrea.
That’s right, they had a romantic relationship in the comic.
But, while Dale was a long running and important character in the comic, his time on the show was very brief in comparison, lasting almost two seasons.
This was not the only problem because, just like Tyreese, the Dale that we got was nothing like his comic book counterpart.
He was more like a grandfather figure than the rugged potential leader and he had none of Dale’s complexities in the show, due to him and Andrea’s relationship being a father figure and daughter one instead of lovers.
We never got to see them be a family when they adopted Billy and Ben or any of their heartfelt moments.
The Dale that was presented before his death in the show was a weak character who came across as more annoying with his constant moral speeches, rather than endearing and, unfortunately, his death meant he could not grow out of this and turn into the character so many of us loved in the comics.
The impact he had on the group was pretty much lost in the show.
5. Beth Greene
If Daryl is the best character created for the show then Beth is without a doubt the worst.
To put it simply Beth was a terrible character.
She showed promise initially, going through a tense situation in season two that she thankfully came out of but after this she just became useless.
All she did in the third season was sing and then did nothing for the first half of season four, until she was paired up with Daryl for the second half.
You would think that pairing up one of the worst characters with one of the best would help improve that character but you would be wrong.
This is because the paring of Daryl and Beth resulted in the worst episode of The Walking Dead ever, Still.
This episode was complete filler, with Beth just wanting to get drunk in a zombie apocalypse of all things.
Then Beth was a central player in the hospital arc of Season 5 and featured in numerous episodes, those of which where she was the main focus, like Slabtown, were done rather poorly.
However, the reason Beth is not higher is because of her death in the season five mid-season finale, Coda.
Beth’s death is one of the saddest The Walking Dead has ever had.
Not because she was a good character but because of everyone’s reactions to it.
Watching Maggie and Daryl break down into tears over Beth’s death was absolutely crushing and made me cry, surprisingly.
However, while Beth’s tragic death did redeem her slightly for me, she was still a terrible character before this and I feel the show is better without her.
And to think The Walking Dead once had good cliffhangers.
Seriously, if you look at the first five seasons the show had really good cliffhangers that left viewers both satisfied and wanting more.
Cliffhangers like the ones in seen in A and Too Far Gone were fantastic.
But then season six came along and a rather nasty trend of terrible cliffhangers ensued.
Glenn’s fake-out death and Sam calling out for his mother, only to cut to black, were some of the many bad cliffhangers seen.
This all culminated in what has to be one of the worst cliffhangers in Television history.
In the season six finale, Last Day on Earth, Negan did eenie, meeny, miney, moe, to decide who he was going to kill.
However, it to cut to a P.O.V shot of the person he chose and as Negan hit this unknown person with Lucille, the screen cut to black and made the audience feel like the cliffhanger might have well as been a giant middle finger.
This cliffhanger was absolutely insulting because it took one of the most tense moments from the comic and transformed it into a ratings grab to make more money off the season seven premiere.
Unfortunately, the show’s cliche of terrible cliffhangers did not end here, even extending to cliffhangers for ad breaks, which killed all the tension.
At the end of the day these cliffhangers make the show feel like it is just in it for the money and that they are scared of viewers losing interest.
The show-runners’ should really take a cue from Robert Kirkman because cliffhangers in The Walking Dead comic leave the reader both satisfied and wanting more.
This is what a cliffhanger should be and not leave the viewer wanting more but unsatisfied, which is what is currently happening with the show.
3. The Structure of Season Seven and Season Eight
Season seven and season eight have probably been the most problematic seasons of The Walking Dead.
This can be seen with their persistent drop in ratings from what was usually expected of the show.
These two seasons covered Negan’s story when he first encountered the survivors.
Season seven covered the build up to All Out War and season eight was the war.
I can remember coming into season seven thinking we were going to get both the build up and All Out War in one season.
However, when I realised the show would be doing this in two seasons I knew there was going to be trouble.
There was just not enough content with this storyline to pour into two seasons so the writers had to come up with additional storylines to put in like Jadis and the scavengers, and Oceanside.
Unfortunately, these story elements came across as filler that was just used to lengthen the story as the Scavengers are all dead now except for Jadis and Oceanside did virtually nothing significant during the war.
This is sadly not the only case of filler in these two seasons as episodes were spent gathering supplies for the war and conflicts were extended just to make the run time longer.
This made these two seasons feel very overstretched and like they took too long to get to the point.
Season seven should have just featured the build up and then All Out War as one, instead of it being stretched across two seasons.
This would have flowed much more cohesively and made the story much more exciting.
The decision to split the Negan arc into two seasons, I feel, really damaged the show in terms of its ratings and quality.
Up until season eight, this was the worst change The Walking Dead show ever made.
I watched the first three seasons of The Walking Dead before I started to read the comics.
During this time, my least favourite character was Andrea.
She was mean, annoying and constantly making stupid decisions like not stopping The Governor and how she handled the Beth situation in season two.
I was really glad when she got killed off but even that was done poorly because she wasted precious time talking to Milton when she should have been getting out of the situation.
So, imagine my surprise, when I read the comics and found out that Andrea was one of the best characters.
She was extremely skilled, being a sharpshooter, and was very compelling.
She even went on to become Rick’s love interest in the comics, instead of Michonne.
I have no idea what happened with Andrea in the show but they took one of the best characters and presented her in a completely unlikable fashion.
For a very long time Andrea’s portrayal was what I considered to be the worst deviation The Walking Dead show had ever made from the comic… but then number one had to come along.
1. Carl Grimes
What. Were they. THINKING!?
Seriously, Carl is one of the best characters in the comic and for the first six seasons you have him do nothing of interest and then you kill him off in season eight, right before his big comic book arc?
In the comics Carl is the second most important character next to Rick.
We got to see him grow from a young innocent kid to a cold blooded killer, before he had to reshape himself in order to fit in with the new society his father was building.
This, however, we did not get in the show.
We got hints of it, yes, when Carl executes the innocent Woodbury soldier boy who was trying to surrender but, other than that, there was nothing that showed Carl going down his dark path.
All his big moments were given to other characters so by the end of season six Carl had done almost nothing substantial.
It looked like they were starting to give him more to do in season seven, with him going through with his assassination attempt on Negan, like he did in the comics but then, in season eight, it happened.
Had I done this list before season eight, Carl would be on it but he would be considerably lower.
Carl’s death puts him at the number one spot, not just because of how important he is to future story lines, but also, because of how pointless his death was.
They could have found another way for Rick to decide to not kill Negan.
Carl did not need to die for that to happen and now it looks like they will be giving his great comic book story to Henry in the show, a side character.
What they did with Carl is easily the worst character change and the worst change overall from The Walking Dead comic book to the television show.
However, all that being said, not all of the changes in The Walking Dead from the comic to the show have been badly done.
There have actually some pretty brilliant changes that have not only been as good as what was presented in the comic but better.
So, it would only be fair that I count down the top 10 best changes in The Walking Dead show as well.
You can expect to see that list soon.