ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Do We Love The Walking Dead? The Psychology of Human Drama

Updated on May 23, 2015

From t-shirts to action figures, The Walking Dead is everywhere. It's one of the hottest shows on television, if not the hottest. But why? Why do people love The Walking Dead so much? In this article, we will explain the psychology behind everybody's favorite zombie apocalypse show.

It's Not Just Zombies

People love zombies. We feel revulsion and even sadness for them. They inspire terror because, though they look so human and used to be human, they break every cardinal rule: they are rotting but still mobile, they are dead but alive, they are cannibals, they are mindless and all of their essential humanity is gone. We are fascinated by zombies because they are almost - but not quite - human. So are zombies the reason TWD is so popular? They are part of it, but it's not just zombies.


Why Do You Like The Walking Dead?

See results

It's Not Just Violence & Gore

For a network TV show, TWD has a lot of violence and a lot of gore. It's not like it's on HBO. This is a cable television show and by those standards, it's pretty violent and quite gory. Violence provides many people with an outlet. The human condition in general is violent and primitive. Violence on television taps into this well-known but seldom-discussed part of ourselves. Along with violence comes gore and horror. People love horror and gore; we like to be scared and we are all more than a little curious about our own internal workings. It's more than just morbid curiosity though; gore and death on TV and in movies forces people to come to terms with their own mortality. Our own mortality fascinates us more than anything and it's a big reason shows like The Walking Dead are so popular. It isn't the only reason, though.

The Key Element

While TWD is essentially the perfect storm of compelling factors, the key element to it's popularity is the element of human drama. Without characters to care about, there's no show. You see this at work in the horror genre all the time. Movies without captivating characters are just violence and gore for their own sake. With The Walking Dead, we have characters we can relate to, characters who grow and evolve, who have flaws and problems... characters we can care about, identify with and root for. This is very important and it makes or breaks a television show. If people don't care, they won't watch no matter how great the story line is. If they do care, they will watch even if the show is not that great in any other aspect. We see this with everything from The Walking Dead to reality TV shows. It's all about the human drama unfolding in front of our eyes and how well we can identify with it.

Another very important element to any form of entertainment is what author Stephen King refers to as The Gotta. The Gotta is the need to know what happens next.

"I gotta know if Rick is going to get them out of this one!"

"I gotta know if they will make it!"

Things like this are sometimes known as cliffhangers and they are often the most engaging forms of entertainment, because they create anticipation in the audience. You increase viewership and audience loyalty tremendously if they must keep coming back to find out what happens next. Series programming accomplishes this very nicely.


The Conclusion

When you combine human drama with morbid curiosity, fascination about death and facing our own mortality into a cliffhanger that is written very well and acted even better, you are going to create a very successful form of media. That is why we love The Walking Dead.

This video showcases how The Walking Dead captures every one of these elements so well, creating one of the most compelling television programs to date.

WARNING: contains graphic violent content

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)