The pet tiger in new 'The Walking Dead' trailer might save the show

Screen Shot 2016 07 22 at 4.50.27 PMAMCThe Life and Undeath of Pi

The trailer for season seven of “The Walking Dead” just premiered at Comic-Con, and it did not reveal who Negan killed at the end of last season, instead choosing to further drag out that stupid cliffhanger with a schmaltzy montage. 

There was a dope tiger, though. And while a pet tiger is an objectively campy and fantastical concept, it’s straightforwardly dumb in the best way, and “The Walking Dead” could use more of that. 

The tiger, Shiva, and her owner, Ezekiel, are both straight from the comics. Without giving too much away, Ezekiel is the leader of another group of survivors, and his feline enforcer is his loyal pet. 

It’s an unabashedly dumb and awesome concept, which is nice because until “The Walking Dead” is under this mistaken impression that it’s a “serious” show. Sure, it’s about the end of the world, and it’s a dark, disparaging series of deaths and meditations on the value of life, but those themes are used and abused in the service of gore and shocking moments.

Horror and sci-fi can be used to tell real, serious stories, regardless of how absurd the premise is (“Snowpiercer” is a fairly recent example). Problem is, it’s hard to keep this going on a long-running show. The deep moments on “The Walking Dead” have long since started to repeat themselves to diminishing results, and are clearly less important than the zombies, the real draw of the show.

Deep down the showrunners must know this, which is why they’re upping the zombie gore and using frustrating cliffhangers to stir up some cheap stakes. It’s not sustainable.

But, introduce a pet tiger to the club? Well, f—, now all bets are off. Do whatever the heck you want and don’t worry about being so serious. It will almost certainly be more entertaining. 

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