I cannot tell you why I love this show (a little less in recent seasons than the first 5 seasons.)
What I can tell you is this: When I saw the ads for the show -- a zombie apocalypse -- I thought who in blazes would watch a stupid show about Zombies. Then I watched E01/S01 and I was hooked -- hook, line and sinker, as they say. It raised the ultiivmate question for all of us that if there is a disaster (even a ridiculous one like a zombie apocalypse), what would you do, what could you do to survive. And the show was unflinching in addressing those questions -- with creatialkivity, with humor, with marvelous characters.
So, rather than talking about me, let me tell you what happened about 3 seasons in when my niece and her husband were visiting for Thanksgiving. I had purchased S1, S2 and S3 DVD's. They watched the first show, then the next, then the next and the next.thing you know, they pulled an all-nighter. When they got back home, they sent me a "Terminus Steak House -- We'd Love to Have you for Dinner" t-shirt.
I fell in love with the characters and the incredible acting: Jon Bernthal as Shane is one of my lifetime favorites; Andrew Lincoln-amazing. All of the characters, their stories and their actors and actresses presented so much to think about and talk about /argue about with friends who loved the show. I have loved so many of the characters and their incredible, incredible acting: Morgan, played by Lenny James; Carol, played by Melissa McBride, Abraham played by Michael Cudlitz, Sasha played by Sonequa Martin e Green, and I really loved to hate the Governor and Gareth of Terminus.
The weakening of Rick as a character; the pandering to the crowd with things like "Richonne" have really deteriorated the show. Nothing-- however, as much as Negan and the comic-bookish approach that makes you feel like you're just looking at one comic frame enacted to the next to the next. The weakening of the complex story line with Stoopid stories like Rick fallilng for the garbage gang is ruining the show (as is the ruination of both Rick and Michonne as smart, strong survivors courtesy of pandering to the crowd that wants to watch them play kissy-face while Alexandria sinks into starvation and oblivion.
Above is why I've been watching and watching. My friends and family who loved this show for the first 5 seasons are not watching anymore. The last of them dropped out over S7/S1 and the disgusting brutality of Negan. (Yeah, I know, this seems to strange to some people but not to me -- I hate GOT; I had sadism.)
I no longer torture over missing an episode. I don't like what they have done with Rick, and his filthy, grody old man appearance. I can't stand the ruination of Michonne (and Danae- let's face --was Academy award material with the original Michonne, but she just can't carry the love scenes- nor would I care if she could, because that is not why I watch the show.
Where I am as a viewer going forward is: (1) Bring back Rick -- real Rick -- clean him up; have him quit making the stupidest strategic decisions on the planet; (2) Bring back Michonne as she once was - a fierce warrior; (3) Kill Negan in the first episode of the next season. Get the spectacular writers back on board.
Okay, that's my rant. Given only because you asked.