Monday, October 15, 2012

The Walking Living

Sometimes it takes shows a few episodes to find itself.  30 Rock took half a season.  Parks and Recreation took an entire season to figure out it wasn't The OfficeLost knew right away what it was, and this resulted in one of the best pilots of all time.  Even a show like Breaking Bad struggled through a strike-shortened first season of six episodes before really taking off in season 2.  The Killing never figured it out and so got cancelled after 2 rocky seasons.

The Walking Dead, in contrast, has had 19 episodes spread throughout 2 seasons and 2 showrunners, and inconsistent is probably the most apt word to describe it.  Season one is one of the bloodiest and goriest shows ever to grace the small screen.  But the audience never is able to relate to the characters, because they are all fundamentally stupid, and no one embodies goodness.

And unlike other shows, you aren't rooting for a bad guy to turn it around because you want him to be good (ala Sawyer, Baltar or any other number of characters who are considered evil but show flashes of good and humanity).  Not a single character on the show is relateable, likeable (Dale as the exception) or even a good foil to the rest of the people.  If people die, you don't care.  The Walking Dead was a difficult show to like, but it was an easy show to see potential in.

The first episode of season 3 was, to me, the best one of the now 20 episodes.  Does it create problems for you as a show if you're most entertaining episode is the one that features the least amount of dialogue?  And you find the scenes with dialogue tedious and pointless, while you're hoping to get back to the zombie killing and prison exploring?  (The lone exception here is the scene with Lori and Hershel discussing her zombie baby.  Now this is a good question!  The kind of which the show has failed to answer in the previous 2 seasons, but the kind that is essential for the success of a sci-fi show concerned with the end of mankind.  See Galactica, Battlestar).

So the question is, is this what the show wants to become?  A zombie killing suspense drama?

Here's what we know.  Rick has become a jerk, mad at his pregnant wife and giving his 11 year a gun with a silencer.  The group, as a whole, has gotten smarter, working as a well-formed group to protect all sides of their formation from the oncoming attack.  As the main character of the show, and the last to join this group, Rick has placed all his efforts into survival, rather than trying to figure out where this epidemic came from.  Which is fine, that's probably more real.

What the show is missing, however, is that one character whose goal it is to find ou how this all happened.  Maybe it's a dip from the reality of the show (as real as a show about zombies can really be) to have this happen.  However, as a show whose main goal is entertainment, why not have one one person, even if it's the mysterious zombie hunter, off on their own, travelling the state, looking for answers?

You can't tell me that this story wouldn't interest you.

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