Joker and Spets,
These are both valid stances on the series. Its honestly funny how I got into the series. I started halfway through season 2. I was out on a business trip that spanned a weekend ( I was no where spectacular so there was nothing to do ) so I watched all of season 1, and all that was available of season 2 at the time. Which to my dismay the show was on the winter break. Soooo I tracked down digital copies of all the comics available at the time and read them. I then kept up with the comics up through Rick becoming the leader of Alexandria but before Negan came in.
There were parts of the comic that honestly made me put it down and not come back for days it was that intense and disturbing. I get it that the show is trying to go bigger and bigger to deliver a more impacting story, but damn really??!!?? I honestly feel like at the rate they are going if they do go 5 or 6 more seasons they will be fighting Nuke throwing super mutant zombies who can telepathically control you from across the planet by season 12. All jokes aside though there are several other paths that could be traveled with the story line without there being a super villain warlord at the helm.
For example. They are in Alexandria which happens to be in my neck of the woods. ( about an hour and a half away ) Alexandria is a suburb of DC. Which means that there is quite a bit of military secured Gov installations near by. Not to mention Ft. Meade , PAX Naval air station, Quantico ( which has FBI, Marines and a DEA training fac ) etc etc etc. Keeping that in mind I find it hard to believe that ricks group haven't run into some military units still in some sort of operation. Moreover that Negan and his crew are still walking around alive, can you imagine them running into a group of Marine survivors from Quantico and being like "Give us half your shit and you live" ...... I don't see that going well for the saviors.
Don't get me wrong the show does a good job of making you feel invested in the characters and causing a very empathetic response. On the other side , I think at times it is going overboard and making it a cringe fest that becomes an act of will to make it through each episode.