It’s been nine years since The Walking Dead premiered one spooky Halloween back in 2010 and fans have been hooked ever since. Aside from Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead has dominated water-cooler talk at offices around the world. While some seasons have been outright duds, others have been spectacular, but which one is the best? Here is a definitive ranking of every season of The Walking Dead from worst to best.
9 Season 6
If you could pinpoint a moment when The Walking Dead started its rot, it was probably when Glenn went under that dumpster. The residents of Alexandria put more trust in Rick's group to protect the town better. A group known as the Wolves use a zombie horde to attack Alexandria, and many lives are lost before the living regain control.
While recovering, they learn of a community called the Hilltop, who offer to help trade supplies if they can end the threat of the extortionist Saviors led by a man named Negan. Although Rick's group decimate one Savior outpost, they are later caught by Negan, and forced to swear loyalty to him.
8 Season 7
After a divisive season premiere that killed off Abraham and Glenn in some of the grimmest scenes on the show to date, the season stalled with little-to-no forward momentum. Negan demands that the Alexandrians become his slaves, and his actions lead Rick to submit.
Later, Michonne persuades Rick to fight back, and they recruit a community called the Scavengers to help. Meanwhile, Rosita and Eugene make a bullet for the purpose of killing Negan. When their attempt fails, Negan forcibly recruits Eugene as a Savior. Separately, Carol and Morgan befriend King Ezekiel, the leader of another community, while Maggie and Sasha rally the Hilltop.
Negan, the Saviors, and the turncoat Scavengers attack Alexandria but are repelled by Sasha's sacrifice and the aid of Kingdom and Hilltop soldiers.
7 Season 8
The race for the worst season of The Walking Dead should be a three-way tie, but this season finally ends the Negan story arc and sets up a much better season nine.
Rick, Maggie, and Ezekiel rally their communities into war against Negan and the Saviors. Losses are heavy on both sides. Many of the Kingdom soldiers are killed, Alexandria falls to a Savior attack, and Carl is bitten by a Walker. Before euthanizing himself, Carl convinces Rick to end the war and restart society anew.
Negan attempts to wipe out Rick and his allies in a final battle, but Eugene disrupts his plan by sabotaging the Saviors' bullets. Negan is then wounded and captured by Rick. Against Maggie's wishes, Negan is spared and imprisoned, ending the war.
6 Season 9
Eighteen months after the defeat of Negan, under an alliance of communities spearheaded by Rick Grimes, the season focuses on the united communities as they face obstacles and dangers both outside and inside their alliance. The threat of the mysterious Whisperers, however, looms over them. As of this writing, season nine is only halfway finished, so there is a chance for this one to either climb the ranks or slip further down.
5 Season 2
Due to budget restrictions, this season spun its wheels for the majority of the season, only to finally break free in the final episodes. Traveling from Atlanta, Rick's group takes shelter at Hershel Greene's farm while they search for Carol's missing daughter, Sophia. The tension between Rick's group and Hershel's family worsens after it is discovered that Hershel has kept friends and family turned into zombies, including Sophia, in his barn.
Shane and Rick's friendship becomes increasingly unhinged when Lori reveals that she is pregnant, and Rick is forced to kill Shane in self-defense. Carl then shoots Shane in the head after he reanimates. The noise draws zombies, forcing Rick's group and Hershel's surviving family to evacuate the farm.
4 Season 4
Uneven pacing is the only thing that keeps this season lower on the rankings. Several months after the Governor's attack, a deadly flu kills many of the people at the prison. The Governor finds his former right-hand men and kills them, taking over their group and destroys the prison. Rick's group is forced to separate and flee, but not before Hershel and the Governor are killed. The survivors divide, face their own trials, and meet new faces before finding signs pointing to a safe haven called Terminus. One by one, they reunite at Terminus, but all the groups are captured for some unknown purpose.
3 Season 3
After the farm came the prison and with a settled behind-the-scenes team, season three was a focused and consistently thrilling outing. Eight months after fleeing Hershel's farm, Rick's group finds a prison, which they clear of zombies to make their new home. Lori dies in childbirth, and Rick becomes withdrawn.
Meanwhile, Andrea is rescued by Michonne and the two discover Woodbury, a fortified town led by a man known as the Governor. He learns of Rick's group at the prison, leading to conflict between them. Rick's group eventually raids and destroys Woodbury, but the Governor has Andrea ultimately killed and escapes. Woodbury's citizens live with Rick's group at the prison.
2 Season 5
This season managed to balance actual emotion with the gore. Rick discovers the residents of Terminus engage in cannibalism, but the group manage to destroy Terminus and reunite. Some are injured and taken to Grady, a hospital run by corrupt cops and doctors. When the remaining survivors regroup, they are approached by Aaron, inviting them to join a fortified community called Alexandria. They are initially welcomed, but Rick's group realize the residents have not faced the zombie threat directly. Morgan, who has been searching for Rick, arrives and is shocked to see Rick killing an Alexandrian, who has been abusing his wife, in anger.
1 Season 1
There is no doubt the first season was truly the best; it’s the only season with a clear vision from start to finish. Sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes wakes from a coma discovering a world overrun by zombies.
After befriending Morgan Jones, Rick travels alone to Atlanta to find his wife Lori, his son, Carl, and his police partner and best friend, Shane Walsh, encountering other survivors. The group travels to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) but find from the sole remaining CDC member that no cure exists for the epidemic.