BRAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSS… BRAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSS… I wish this show had the BRAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSS to actually be an entertaining zombie show.
Last night I finally got to watching the premiere of the new season of The Walking Dead. I thought it was a slight improvement over the weaker episodes of the first season. It did just enough to make me want to see where they are going with this. But overall, still pretty underwhelmed.
The pacing! Ohhhh, the pacing! I understand they are going more for a George Romero thing than a 28 Days Later thing, but what is with the slow pacing? I consider Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead to be one of the best horror movies ever made, and it seems to fly by at lightning pace compared to Walking Dead. And it came out in 1978.
This pacing seems to be the required style of AMC original series. It’s why I gave up on Mad Men (in season 3) and The Killing (in episode 3). I never saw a minute of Rubicon, but I’m sure it’s what got that show canceled. I’m still giving Breaking Bad the benefit of the doubt, but it’s taking me forever to get through it because watching a single episode feels like it takes up my whole afternoon (just started season 3 over the weekend). AMC shows are weird; it’s like you know that they are good, and they are a better standard of television than most, but it still feels like a chore to watch any of them. Very slow and dry television. AMC is like HBO’s boring little brother.
But back to Walking Dead. My compliant has always been lack of zombies. I didn’t just dislike the season one finale, I HATED it. There were 30 seconds of total screen time for zombies in the finale of an hour long show ABOUT ZOMBIES. I know the argument is that the show isn’t really about zombies, it’s about the human side. But the human side isn’t compelling! It’s a bunch of one-note cliche characters, very few of which are played by people who can act. The drama is corny. The dialogue isn’t great. The best part of the whole episode was when the herd of zombies were walking through their convoy. Wow, the best part of a show about zombies was the scene with all the zombies! What a revelation!
It’s supposed to be a “smart” zombie show, that doesn’t need to focus on just the zombies to be successful. I would completely understand this theory if it were successful in practice. But I don’t see any evidence of this being a particularly smart show. I’ve never bothered to memorize the character’s names, but I mean this is what the dialogue is like (with bad acting):
[little boy finds satchel of weapons]
Little Boy: Oh wow, can I keep them!?
Annoying Woman: No! Now go give them to (the redneck guy)!
Little Boy: C’mon… Hey (meathead guy), can I keep them, please, tell her I can keep them!
Meathead Guy: (nonchalantly) Nah, go give them to (the redneck guy).
[Little Boy wanders off frustrated]
Annoying Woman: [to meathead guy] What’s wrong with you, you didn’t have to treat him so coldly!
He agreed with you, lady! Oh, man, this dialogue is killing me. The characters are killing me. I wish these zombies would kill SOMETHING.
Coming from a guy who loves all things zombie (I own a direct-to-DVD movie called Vampires vs. Zombies, and have watched it more than once), I’m not digging how they are handling TV’s lone zombie show. I’m excited that Zombieland appears to be getting made into a TV series instead of a film sequel. That should be more fun than Walking Dead. But in terms of Walking Dead, I’m giving it two more episodes to win me over. Do something Walking Dead. Do anything.
final random SPOILER note: what was that kid trying to do at the end of the episode with the deer? Why was he walking towards it? What was he hoping to accomplish? That was… stupid… Was he planning on just touching the deer? I’m like hurting my brain trying to fathom the justification of why he was doing what he was doing, and why the adults were just standing there gawking like mental patients. “Duhhh ohhhh wow, a deer! I’m gonna go try and touch the wild aminal, daahhhhhh”. Was that supposed to be like a commentary of the beauty of nature in a destroyed world? Or an exploration of the innocence of an adolescent who’s had his childhood robbed from him? Either way, The Walking Dead has once again failed to clearly communicate the message they want to get across. Whatever that message is supposed to be.