Let's address the rotting flesh in the room: "The Walking Dead" hasn't always been the brain-smash hit it used to be. As a dedicated fan, such as myself, that was a rather difficult pill to swallow, but it is one we must ingest.
From season one to the end of season five, most of the time, the crucial issue was the walkers. I mean, what would you expect. It's a zombie apocalypse. However, Rick and his group had witnessed the many ways the living are more lethal than the dead. For example, "The Governor". We first saw him as a kind man welcoming new-comers to Woodbury with open arms. Little did we know, it was merely a facade. But that's how all villains start off, right? A fake with a sanctuary— like Gareth from Terminus.
Then we get to Alexandria. This is where the audience is thrown off. Alexandria was a well-built community of people equipped with skills to contribute to a post-apocalyptic life. Their only flaw was their inability to fight what was beyond their walls: walkers and people.
Let's get to the thing that really derailed Walking Dead viewers: Negan.
As a graphic novel fan, I knew that, even before Negan was drawn into the TV show, he was simply too much. In my personal opinion, I love him and his "over-filled glass" personality. It's raw and adds a sort of edge that had never fully been expressed in any character. He is blunt about who he is and what he wants, says very provocative phrases (especially in the comics), and- even though he is portrayed as the villain- has a good heart deep down. To be expected, his character has sparked controversy. Some say he is dynamite to the show and it's narrative foundation while some see him as fireworks to top the already amazing show. I am part of the latter.
As we approach the new season, from watching the recently released trailer, we know that the Whisperers are on the way and a time-jump will be set into place. Who are the Whisperers, you ask? You'll have to wait and find out. I will give you a hint: read the comics!
Also, if you stay in the loop with anything involving "The Walking Dead" cast, you would have heard the news of the departure of Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes). It was officially disclosed recently at Comic Con and had shaken the Walking Dead fanbase.
I have only read up to book 14 of the graphic novel series, but from what I can tell, Carl is starting to morph into Rick's past leadership role. But how could this be played out in the show you ask? It can't. After one of the show's writers, Scott Gimple, let Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes) go from the show, there is no chance of him running Rick's post-apocalyptic people from the grave. So who will lead the people once Rick is gone? Maggie? Ezekiel? Who knows.