I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Anybody else watching The Walking Dead?

"You know, sometimes I wonder... who are the *real* walking dead. Is it them? Or is it in fact-- hey, is that Sophia? No, that's a tree. What was I talking about? I don't know. I lost my train of thought. Oh well."
Sometimes I think about it, and I wonder... who *are* the walking dead, anyway? Is it them? Are *they* the walking dead? Or could it be that in fact, the walking dead are-- Wait, is that Sophia over there?

I guess about 9 million people watched the second season finale of The Walking Dead, so I was thinking maybe one or two of you saw it. And then I saw some of you talking about the show in the comments, so that supports the theory.

For those of you who are watching and all caught up to the end of the second season I need to ask you guys about the last couple episodes, get a couple things off my chest. So this will involve the ol’ spoilers, including deaths of characters, if you care.

* * *

It’s safe to say NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is one of the most famous movies ever, right? It’s been remade and badly remade in 3D and colorized and sequelized and homaged and recut and it’s in the public domain and pretty much everybody’s seen it and even if they haven’t they probly have some kind of familiarity with the guy saying “They’re coming to get you, Barbara” in the cemetery as a zombie stumbles toward them.

If they’re a little more familiar with it they might remember the news report:

“It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder. A widespread investigation of funeral homes, morgues, and hospitals has concluded that the unburied dead have been returning to life and seeking human victims. It’s hard for us here to be reporting this to you, but it does seem to be a fact.”

DAWN OF THE DEAD rephrases it in that opening scene in the TV station with the experts arguing:

“Every dead body that is not exterminated becomes one of them. It gets up and kills! The people it kills get up and kill!”

These days DAWN is probly the most beloved of the Romero zombie movies, and it’s definitely the most influential. It popularized the gory zombie movie, the activity of going around blowing off zombie heads, and definitely expanded on NIGHT’s concept of survivors squatting, scavenging and fortifying during a zombie disaster, which is the basis of The Walking Dead. Wouldn’t you agree that the idea of this show is to take George Romero type situations and stretch them out over a longer period of time? That’s what it seems like to me, and that’s what creator Robert Kirkman said about his comic strip book years ago in an interview with Dread Central:

“The thing about it is that the Romero movies are the be-all, end-all of the zombie genre. They represent the perfect zombie story you could do in movie form. We’re doing pretty much the same thing [Romero did], but it’s all different characters, all different settings, different dramatic stuff. We’re just doing the Romero film that never ends…I’m trying to keep it in tune with the Romero stuff just because it’s what I like and it’s about time someone canonized the zombie rules. Werewolves and vampires, they all have a set rule system. Everyone pretty much follows it. Zombie stuff? People just go crazy and do whatever they want.”

(The show has used other concepts from the Romero movies, even the people-who-keep-their-zombie-relatives-alive conflict from SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD.)

I don’t think there needs to be one set of rules. It gets old having to explain them every time, but I like that (despite what he says in the quote) there are different interpretations of how vampires work, for example. You can make up whatever rules you want for your monsters, I understand this, I’m not stupid. But if you do 2 seasons of a zombie show acting like it’s the same as NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, then how do you treat it as a big season finale reveal when it turns out that… yes, it really is pretty much like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD?

I’m talking, of course, about the scene in the last episode where Rick tells the others that Shane “turned” after his death, and they don’t understand how that’s possible because he wasn’t bit. And he explains that in the season 1 finale when the doctor at the CDC whispered something to him it was that they all have a virus that makes it so they turn into zombies after they die.

In other words, what we all assumed – that all dead people turn into zombies and that everybody realizes this – is not true, but these characters all have a virus that makes it true. Oh shit guys, I think I might faint.

If they wanted us to think only people bit by zombies would turn into zombies, they should’ve told us that. Instead they assumed we assumed it, which means they assume we don’t know about any of the famous zombie movies, and confuse zombies with werewolves and vampires.

Shit man, it’s in the damn title! It’s not called THE WALKING BIT. Why would we have thought that?

(Side note: I assumed from the beginning that what the doctor whispered to him was that Laurie was pregnant. Since I thought Rick knew that she was pregnant I thought he knew that she had been with Shane and just wasn’t confronting them about it, which added tension. Later it did turn out that she was pregnant, and it did turn out that he had figured it out about Shane, but now much later we find out that both were unrelated to the whispering. Just a coincidence. So do I have to retroactively take back the dramatic tension? I’m not sure.)

Is it just me? Was anybody else befuddled by this shit?

* * *

I keep watching The Walking Dead, but it’s a mixed bag. It started out pretty good and then turned into that formula of boring the shit out of you but putting one tantalizing scene at the end to make you think “ooh, maybe next week will be better!” The season finale did that big time with the appearance of a mysterious figure (popular character from the comics, I hear) with two armless zombie slaves on leashes. Okay, now we’re talking. It seems like. If you’re an optimist.

It’s kind of fun to see well-done gory zombie action on TV every week. Greg Nicotero does the effects, he was involved in some of the real Romero zombie movies (especially LAND OF THE DEAD, and I don’t think he generally gets enough credit for how well he did that). Zombies have become such a lazy cliche in horror, but they’re usually not done as well as on this show or in the Romero movies. The makeup doesn’t usually look as good, they don’t usually come up with as many interesting gimmicks to the different zombies and zombie kills, they don’t usually have the movement down as well as this, and these days they usually move fast, which of course most of us don’t like as much. The zombie scenes in this show are generally good.

I like some of the dramatic situations, and there’s usually a good scene or two per episode. The first season had a great scene where the hero Rick felt pity on a hobbled zombie and went back later to put it out of its misery. For a while they had some interesting complexities with the character of Shane, a crazy asshole trying to steal his best friend’s wife, but also a pretty well-meaning guy. I loved the subtle reveal in flashback that Shane blocked the door to Rick’s hospital room when he abandoned him there, so even though he was being a coward he saved Rick’s life.

There was a nice opening to the 2nd season finale where a series of cuts shows how a small group of zombies snowballs into a huge herd. I thought this was funny because a buddy of mine was complaining that one gun shot attracted a herd but in a previous episode they unloaded dozens of shots into the barn and nothing happened. I said maybe alot of zombies happened to be passing by at that time. I had no idea my theory would be proven in such detail.

Could’ve used some more moments like that earlier on. I think the show lost its way in the middle of season 2 in the endless slog of Looking For Sophia. A little girl goes missing from the group and for what seemed like half the season they just kept going around looking for her and then arguing about whether or not they should be looking for her and then deciding okay let’s look for her some more but I don’t know if we can keep looking for her. Okay, just three more episodes, four at the most, or six. And then we absolutely must consider not looking for her anymore after a two to three episode probationary still-looking-for-her period. Because I don’t know about this.

And every week I waited for them to leave the farm to get onto the next storyline. It was more than halfway in when I suddenly realized oh shit, they’re probly just gonna have one location per season. They’re doing this on purpose.

I don’t know if it’s because Frank Darabont got fired and somebody else took over, or if it’s just the way the season was designed, but starting with the “mid-season finale” (?!) it finally picked up and things started happening sometimes, like the one where Rick and Herschell went out and got in a gunfight with non-zombies. And that helped me give up my weekly ritual of wondering if maybe I should stop watching the show. Unfortunately it was too late to reverse my hatred of most of the characters, especially Laurie. I know they’re trying to have some grey area with these people, but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be rooting for the hero’s pregnant wife to die every week. At least not before they made her suddenly give an evil speech trying to lure her husband into killing her lover, and then got upset when he did it in legitimate self defense.

And then they had to kill off two of the more tolerable main characters. Yeah, good way to surprise the audience, but then we’re stuck with the leftovers. Dale, admittedly, was a whiner. And there was some symbolic value in killing him off. Throughout the episode he was the only one standing up for morality, for doing the right thing, for not murdering a guy. The last remaining shred of civilization. So when he gets his stomach torn open and has to be put out of his misery it’s meaningful. It means “No, seriously guys, we really are fucked.”

I loved the opening of the next episode, where Rick’s eulogy about how they have to honor Dale by living up to his beliefs is intercut with everybody doing the opposite, and even running a Rodney King on a zombie. Gooey fun with substance.

Shane’s death was pretty dramatic too, and I didn’t expect it. But also a little weird since that guy’s giving the most interesting performance and has the most complicated character, who at least potentially could’ve kept the show interesting. It’s not so much that I’m sad to see him go as that I’m concerned they got nothing better to replace him with.

I wonder if they’ve ever considered just keeping Norman Reedus and ditching everybody else? Maybe instead of having him keep threatening to leave they could have him actually do it, and then we would follow his character and forget about everybody else. Then they could start fresh.

You know what I think the show is missing? Humor. I know, they’re trying to make it bleak, but they can make it more entertaining without violating that. DAWN OF THE DEAD is as bleak as they come, and it’s nothing like a comedy, but it has lots of laughs in it. It’s the humor that comes out of life, the gallows humor that people have to use to get through shitty situations. It doesn’t have to be jokes, but it can still be funny:

There are probly a few moments like that in Walking Dead, but not enough that I can remember any off hand.

Anyway, at least we now know that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder. Hopefully next season we’ll find out what silver bullets and garlic do to them.

SPOILER FOR SEASON 3 FINALE: it will be revealed that the walkers are, in fact, zombies

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 12:10 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

101 Responses to “Anybody else watching The Walking Dead?”

  1. Is it just me or are some of the characters so underdeveloped, I honestly think the writers (or everyone else) forgot about them, like that black guy or one of Hershel´s daughters whatshername.

    I just never seem to remember their names.
    And who was that guy driving the van who got eaten? And there was someone else who died in the final episode ..? Who was that? Please enlighten me. I may have missed an episode without even realizing it.

  2. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    March 20th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Nice Gravatar pal.

  3. Y’know what I said about the show so far earlier and I will talk about the finale on Saturday, because it airs here on Friday night.

  4. Until then I’m not reading the text above, btw.

  5. Vern, can I agree with everything you said, and still say I like the show? It’s the show that holds my attention better than anything else on the tube.

    But the writing does occasionally make me crazy – for instance, after hours of walking through the woods, Shane and Rick are in a clearing close enough to the farm that Carl finds them? I figure Rick probably started circling back as he realized what Shane was doing, but I shouldn’t have to “figure” shit.

    Still, I find myself almost irrationally happy that a basic cable gorefest about zombies is kicking the ratings ass of nearly everything on broadcast TV. Now, if they could find a writer that could make Lori interesting without being such a mental case.

  6. This show has received a lot of criticism, and a lot of it is very valid, but I think the pacing of the season is not as bad as it might have appeared back when they were still all looking for Sophia. It works better for me as one piece. They really HAD to stretch out the search for Sophia to give her reveal in the barn the gravitas it needed to begin things moving quickly towards the inevitable climax of the group’s internal conflicts. One thing that I can’t defend is the complete disregard for the T-Dogg character (and the hackneyed lines he does receive), but it has occurred to me that the actor may just not be much good (I don’t have an opinion either way, perhaps he just hasn’t been given a chance to shine). I think perhaps he’s survived thus far to feature in the (I hope) inevitable return of Merle. But I wish they’d do something to integrate him better with the rest of the group. He really just is the token black guy right now, and he isn’t portrayed very positively. Concerning the big ‘duh’ re: finding out everyone’s infected and zombieism isn’t spread by a bite- I don’t understand if this show is supposed to take place in a world that has never experienced zombie fiction? (Hopefully I’m not over-thinking this.) I mean, if they don’t know what a zombie is, in the Romero sense, then it makes sense they are coming to learn these rules as they are revealed to them, and it would also explain why nobody has uttered the word ‘zombie’ even once. Cuz you & me, if the zombie apocalypse ever came, we would not be tossing about half-baked terms like ‘walkers’ or ‘lamebrains’. And we’d already know that you gotta destroy the brain. In vampire movies there’s usually a lot of talk about “vampires aren’t real, or ARE they real? whaaat?” but none of this gang ever seems to have experienced fictional zombies and thus we’re spared this. But I don’t know if I agree with the choice. I was beginning to wonder if ‘zombie’ is a trademarked term or something, like how nobody but Marvel or DC can use the term ‘superhero’. Also, Daryl is often and I’d be fine with every other character going away, Vern. Although I think Hershel is pretty cool too. They traded up on the ‘token old dude’ front when they killed Dale and kept the doc.

  7. In conclusion, yes I AM watching ‘The Walking Dead’, Vern.

  8. I watched the first season and was pretty unenthused, for all the reasons stated. Bad pacing, lame characters, no surprises, no humor, etc. You know what it feels like to me? You know all these modern horror movies that get a little festival buzz because they’re basically well made, but they’re not really all that entertaining because they take themselves real seriously without enough dramatic weight for that approach to pay off? It’s exactly like that. It’s like if STAKELAND or CARRIERS was a couple dozen hours long.

    Still, I’ll probably check out the second season eventually. Because zombies.

  9. I understand your views Vern and even agree with them to a point, but I do think that the issue of not much happening can mostly be attributed to the fact this is being done on a TV budget, and even non-Zombie shows need to find ways to cut corners, which also explains some characters just seemingly disappearing to save on actor salary(like when Herschel wasn’t seen at all in the episode where his FUCKING DAUGHTER was trying to kill herself). Not that this excuses doing the same thing over and over, but I do think the Sophia plot allowed for some other nice things, like the episode where Daryll went out alone, got injured and hallucinated Merle.
    Shane’s death was in the comic, though much earlier, so this was probably always meant to happen, with it just being a matter of when. Also, I understand Darabont said that he got Shane’s actor for his new show, so it might not have been a case of the showrunners deciding, but rather having to write out a departing cast member. The guy who plays Dale might have wanted to leave too over the Darabont situation(he had roles in SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE GREEN MILE).
    I guess this lessens the chance of William Sadler showing up.

    I also think that a lot of the things that people find annoying about the writing (stupidity of characters, rotten luck) are just kind of typical contrived necessities of the zombie genre, because really, if a zombie outbreak broke out in real life, we’d have our shit together better than these people. If the world was depicted as realistically as a real zombie outbreak would have been, there’d not be that much drama. Like, we need fast zombies and we need people attracting their attention by accident and zombies being able to sneak up on people because if we didn’t…nothing much would happen. Carl would be kept in the fucking house, a proper perimeter/watch would be set up at all times, a zombie escape plan would have been implemented, and they would have left the farm as soon as they saw the numbers. Sounds even duller by comparison, huh? And the plot induced stupidity and such gets more noticeable because the show is covering a longer period than any movie on the subject ever has. Which also necessitates playing up the human conflict a bit more.
    I kinda see your point about the big revelation not being a revelation, but we can’t always assume this stuff in zombie stories, as it’s not always true or made clear. ZOMBIELAND seemed to go with just infection, for instance, and even Romero filmed a scene of a suicide-by-hanging rising as a zombie for LAND because he felt he needed to make it clear that was one of the rules in his universe. Also, the rest of the characters needed to know one way or another, and it’s not a given they’d assume as they didn’t know enough about the outbreak and most zombie stories have the characters unaware of the very CONCEPT of a zombie before they have to deal with them, and learn the rules. And there’s stuff that bothers me too, like how characters have gotten Walker blood all over their faces and such, yet they’ve not turned, even though you’d think they get some of that gore in their mouths or eyes or something.

    “Is it just me or are some of the characters so underdeveloped, I honestly think the writers (or everyone else) forgot about them, like that black guy”
    T-Dogg started to get a little something earlier in the season when injured and telling Dale than they were the two most expendable members of the group, being black and old, but that never went anywhere. Maybe his insistence they should be going to the coast and the dissent towards Rick will give him more to do next week. Thankfull Glenn got more to do this season, and Daryll just gets more and more cool, with his deductive skills in recent episodes making him a Redneck Sherlock Holmes as well as a Survivalist badass, and an occassional source of humour (telling Carol “i ain’t got all day” when rescuing her, making the asian driver joke to Glenn).
    Yeah the show could be funnier, but I dunno if THE WALKING DEAD should be as funny as the Romero movies,because those always being satires seemed to allow for that a little more, and there’s not so much of that in THE WALKING DEAD…although if the living are infected, you could say they’re a metaphor for HIV and the Walkers are one for AIDS? SYMBOLISM!!!
    Though on the subject of humour, I have a friend who stopped watching after the mid-season finale because he finds the show too bleak. I try to remind him that it’s a post apocalypse zombie story, they tend to be, and he argues that not this bleak, but his experience of the genre is more lighter faire such as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, so…what do you say to that?

    “And who was that guy driving the van who got eaten? And there was someone else who died in the final episode ..? Who was that? Please enlighten me. I may have missed an episode without even realizing it.”
    Jimmy (Herschel’s daughter’s boyfriend) and Patricia (Otis’ wife). They weren’t in the show that much and in the case of Patricia, I had to look up what her connection was again, so I wouldn’t worry about missing anything. And again, Jimmy was completely absent in that episode where his girlfriend was suicidal, and he played no part in getting Herschel from the bar when she went into shock either.

    Also, I totally expected THIS speech at the end of the finale (possible spoiler, but it’s just a speech, nothing plot specific)
    http://www.badhaven.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/We-Are-Walking-Dead.jpg

  10. Damn, after that “everybody is distraught when the lady’s sister gets bitten and take a whole episode to say goodbye” episode from season one, I’d had enough of this thing. Sounds like the problems that defined that episode (humorlessness, a lack of forward momentum, the sense that the creators were totally unaware of just how familiar the whole thing felt) are back in spades for season 2. Glad I stayed away.

  11. “the sense that the creators were totally unaware of just how familiar the whole thing felt”

    Bingo. Exactly how I feel about it. You really are psychic.

  12. I’m glad that the show continues to have high ratings kind of proves to me that most of the people like the show. This show kind of proves me to what I knew a long time ago in that the internet tends to ruin things. At least around here there isn’t that much we take too seriously.

    Anyway, I thought the second half of this season has been really great. I thought it was interesting that when the news broke that Frank Darabont was getting axed, it was going to be a bad thing. However, reading some recent interviews, Glen Mazarra and Robert Kirkman have been talking about how they are going to change around the show to open up the world more and not take so darn long. When they took over is when the show started being so great.

    This sort of proves me theory that Frank Darabont might actually be overrated. Look, he did The Shawshank Redemption which is one of the greatest films of all time but perhaps that’s the best thing he’s ever going to do.

    The recap because I ramble.

    1. I love this show.
    2. If I believed the Internet, The Walking Dead sucks.
    3. Frank Darabont might be overrated and probably getting axed is the best thing to happen to the show.
    4. Go see The Raid this weekend please.

  13. @ Mr. Majestek- I feel the same way. I love Night of the Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead(and the remake), Day Of The Dead, Shaun Of The Dead, and even Zombieland. I had never heard of the comic so I looked it up and the description sounded great. I watched the first season and was underwhelmed. It actually surprised me since I thought that Frank Darabont would nail this show. The Mist is one of my favorites, easily one of the best Stephen King adaptations(regardless of how you feel about the ending). The show is not as good as the reviews made it out to be. Don’t get me wrong, there is much worse out there, but this is not what I was expecting. Maybe it’s because there’s only so much you can do with Zombies, I’m not quite sure why it came off so lackluster to me.

    The show I enjoy the most right now is Breaking Bad. If you want to see a finale done right then watch the season 4 finale of that show. Instead of trying to make me feel like there is more coming next season, it made me wonder exactly where it’s going and what’s left for Walt(the main character). I cannot wait for next season of that show, especially since they announced it would be the last.

  14. Just curious, Vern: have you seen the documentary Nightmare Factory? The husband and I caught it together a while back. It was fascinating to learn more about the culture of practical effects. (And I do mean culture the way they presented the lives of Nicotero and company around the glory days of the eighties. It was like they were living in their own little country. I also liked how they presented the attitudes of the practical effects guys as they talked about new technology and the future of practical effects.)

  15. “If you want to see a finale done right then watch the season 4 finale of that show.”

    I would add Season 3 finale of Sons of Anarchy, but that last line of Breaking Bad, “I won”… shit, they could just end the whole series right there. Simply perfect.

    A few things about Walking Dead now:

    – I agree with the first half of Season 2 of Walking Dead being weak, but I loved the second half.
    – They need to do something with the black guy or kill him off.
    – I had no idea who the guy in the RV was. When it was explained to me, I still only had vague recollections of his character.
    – I wasn’t terribly shocked by the reveal that you just need to die by non-head-trauma to become a zombie. I wasn’t offended by it either. It’s just part of the story.
    – Sofia’s reveal made the boring first half of Season 2 worth it for me. I don’t think it would have been as effective without the season dragging like it did.
    – More people need to carry swords in a zombie apocolypse.
    – Beyond Shawshank, Frank Darabont did The Green Mile, The Majestic, The Mist and co-wrote Dream Warriors. All movies I enjoy quite a bit. Therefore I can’t agree with the overrated thing. He’s perfectly rated.

  16. yeaaaaaah, it sounds like I made the right decision to pass on this

    I don’t know what exactly, but something just told me that this would be a disappointment

  17. Chitown – The Mist is pretty damn good, the only problem being the cheesy CGI

  18. The CGI looks a lot better in the black and white version.

  19. hmmmm, I’ve still yet to watch the black and white version…

  20. Anonimouse: No, I haven’t seen that one, but your description makes me want to. I’m wary of horror documentaries because alot of them are the same type of talking head interviews with the same people, but there are some good ones. I like Texas Chain Saw Massacre: A Family Portrait and Never Sleep Again, for example.

  21. I’ve been on the verge of saying “to hell with it” several times during season 2, but the very last episode was so good that I’m kinda looking forward to season 3 now.

  22. Comparing Breaking Bad to pretty much anything else on TV is unfair because for my money that show’s writing has the best consistency and character development since The Wire. Walking Dead can be fun despite the mediocre acting / writing but it also seems to have trouble keeping characters like Lori consistent from one episode to the next, so I would hesitate to even mention it in the same sentence as Walter White’s moral descent.

  23. I want to take issue with something Vern said in the review. I don’t think it is an assumption at all for the viewers to have already figured out that if you die you become a zombie regardless of having been bit. In fact, I don’t think that has been a staple of zombie movies for, at least, twenty years. If you look at the really popular zombie movies (28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead remake, etc) they all make a point that to turn you have to have made contact with a zombie. I would venture a guess if you do an informal survey of random people and asked them how you become a zombie, a huge majority would say that you have to get bit by a zombie.

    I think that the revelation that you don’t have to be bit to turn into a zombie was a big holy shit moment for a lot of the 9 million people that turned into the finale. I think a lot of the internet criticism is kind of a false criticism because we live in this vacuum that assumes people know the stuff we already do.

  24. If that is the case, why can’t they just do some research? Must we always sink down to their level?

  25. I think this proves what I’ve always thought about WALKING DEAD: It’s a pretty great show for people who’ve never seen a zombie movie before.

  26. The cheesy CGI in The Mist seemed about right to me, I always assumed it was an intentional stylistic choice. Then again I also thought the ending was going for black comedy – can’t seem to find anyone that agrees with me on that.

  27. this show frustrates the hell out of me. there’s zero logic, the characters are unlikeable and uninteresting. the plot never movies forward. there are scenes (or even full episode b-stories) where in the first 5 seconds you already know it’s just filler and won’t further the plot in any way. “oh cool, farm girl decided not to kill herself! this makes a difference maybe for some reason, but probably not, and let’s never talk about it again. where are her bandages?”. “that’s sure one strong 10 yr old. shot with a rifle and up on his feet kicking ass in a matter of 2-3 days”. “hey look, there’s a zombie in the well, let’s lower dude down there because….. because fuck it, we need a tense scene right here”.

    was this show shot out of order, by a director and crew that can’t remember characters traits and intentions? that shit with Laurie MacBething Rick against Shane, and then turning on him for protecting himself? and then the way in which Rick explained WHY he killed Shane was just senseless. just tell them it was self defense! not “you saw how he was, had to put ‘im down like a sick dog” or whatever stupid shit he said.

    50-100 zombies following a helicopter halfway across the state: SMART!
    and here’s some shitty TV writing in a nutshell: you always need an obvious source of tension when a clear villain isn’t present. so now that Shane’s gone let’s make Rick all mean and bad. Ka-Ching! EMMY!

    man i could go on forever. fuck this show.
    i watch it with my gf because we’ve come to love making fun of just about every aspect (and we’re casual fans of the comics), but I really do hate this goddamn show.

  28. STU – the previous show in this timeslot was Breaking Bad (the best show on tv right now IMO). so don’t tell me they won’t move the plot forward mid-season because of budgetary concerns. you can create interesting situations and characters without throwing a lot of money at the problem.

  29. oh yeah, and aside from complaining, did anyone notice this show is a The Mist reunion?

    Dale, X-Files chick, Sophia’s mom. I know Darabont isn’t involved anymore, but i’m sure this was his doing.

  30. my bad, The Mist was already mentioned.

    so can we just say The Walking Dead is Horror for people who don’t like horror?
    it might be just as simple as that.

    oh and show me where I can buy the magical guns in this show, that never need to be reloaded and land perfect headshots every time.

  31. There is a great zombiebook by the swedish author JOhn Ajvide Lindqvist (they guy who wrote LET THE RIGHT ONE IN) and I think the english translation is DISPOSING OF THE DEAD. It´s basically kind of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, but it has a different take on the genre. It deals with griefstrucken people and how they deal with their loved ones coming back from the grave.
    I think it´s a great idea of having a zombiestory about humans rather than just about zombies and gore, so thats why I like THE WALKING DEAD, because it has that same kind of angle to it, which makes me care more about the humans.( some of them at least. There are those that are fuckin intolerable. But still, hard to not to have a opinion on any of them, which kind of makes it so good.) I´f you can´t see past it´s faults well… thats tough.
    I´m gonna stop reading the posts on this thread before I too start to dislike the show too, because they make me fuckin´depressed.

  32. I’m with Vern. A storyteller has a responsibility to lay out the rules of the world they’re presenting, especially when you’re dealing with genres front-loaded with certain expectations. With zombies you’ve got OZ Romero, your O’Bannon reimagining, your 28 Days reimagining, your remake Dawn of the Dead 28 day rift of Romero, your Rec “but they’re really demons” tangent, your Evil Dead “classic demons” tangent, and shit loads of other variants that I’m not going to type out here or any place else, because fuck that. Point being, you’ve got to let the audience know which path you’re following, and if you hint toward one certain direction (slow shufflers, very clearly reanimated dead and not infected living; seemingly scientific and not supernatural cause) then people are going to assume you’re heading down a certain path, and whenever you don’t clearly spell something out they’ll fill in the blanks on their own by defaulting to what they know from other works of zombie fiction.

    That’s why no one who’s any kind of zombie fan got shocked by the reveal. We’d been assuming it all along, and it’s very clear, based on the last few episodes, that the showrunners knew this, and tried to halfassedly wedge in the bite issue. But it was too little, too late; by then most of us had done the work ourselves.

    This brings me to my main issue, not just with this show, but with many recent series that dip into genre. Whenever I’m not satisfying my harem or fighting crime I like to listen to podcasts from the writer’s rooms of shows like Battlestar Galactica and Lost. Invariably, a tension starts to creep into the process, i.e. character versus mythology. People will start asking “how does it all work and what it all means,” whether it be who Jacob is (Lost) or what the head angels are (BSG), at which point they realize they don’t have a fucking clue, and either have to go through a ridiculous amount of exposition to fill in the blanks, or else throw up their hands and say, fuck it, it’s nerd shit anyway. This show is really about the characters and drama, let’s just have someone sleep with someone else and then blow up a boat.

    What pisses me off is the implicit assumption that if you drill down too much into the whys of things then you’ll alienate all the normal people tuning in who can’t be bothered to follow the rules of the show week to week. In other words, in the hopes of netting a broader audience they leave things vague and undefined so that your casual viewer can drop in and not get lost.

    The problem being though, you’ve created a fictional world whose verisimilitude depends on the viewer understanding how certain sets of supernatural events now play out in a regular environment. That’s why Walking Dead can be so frustrating. No one in the groups studies walkers to learn how they behave, or thinks through their survival strategies, or really thinks at all. Instead they talk and talk and talk about soap opera tensions and never really pay fucking attention to the world they’re living in. Yes, you can write some of that off as shock, but I’m sure that in the writer’s rooms the character versus mythology dichotomy pops up, at which point they default to Lori’s pregnant. People should have been talking in season one about how the walkers work, and it just shows how glaringly not thought out these issues were when they did start to explore it. Worse, they don’t do the characters very well either. Look at poor T-Dog. He’s become a trope over a io9 for the ultimate undefined side character. Whole pages of fanfic are now devoted to what he’s doing off camera, because it’s so wide for interpretation. It’s nothing short of comical, and most of the other aside from the three leads and Darryl don’t fair much better either.

    I think Darabont’s departure was actually a good thing, because now they seem to be, you know, developing the world and characters. It’ll be interesting to see how the third season shapes up.

  33. It’s so strange to me to think that, given the budgets and development that go into cable dramas like these, this show and others really don’t seem to have figured out where they’re going or how to get there. You would think that the mythology-character push-pull Bad Seed talks about would be alleviated somewhat by mapping out in detail what the dramatic high points and reveals of the season are going to be. Is it because there are too many writers all working on different episodes of a show? Surely that’s a big part of it. It seems to me that one reason the British version of THE OFFICE nails its dramatic points so well is because there were two guys writing it, who knew how many episodes they were planning. And they were doing six episodes per season. I read David Simon saying that before each season of THE WIRE, the writers would all stay together for about a week and just argue and argue about what should happen over the course of the coming season. To me, it seems like every show should do this, but it sounded like that was an unusual method for TV writers. Shows like THE WALKING DEAD just do not give you a sense that anything like this is going on. Which seems particularly lame considering that unlike LOST or BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, this show already has a written and illustrated text to base its story around. On the other hand, some of its drawbacks seem to arise from not making good decisions on how to handle the differences between a TV show and a comic (like how you can sit down and read through events much faster than watching them play out on the show).

  34. Mode7- I agree with you there it seemed like an intentional throwback to 50’s b-horror just like it’s use of black & white was. It was effective in capturing that vibe too. I totally bought it as a lost sci-fi relic from another movie era.

    I don’t even bother watching THE WALKING DEAD. 3 years into the comic book series and I had to drop the shit cause it was repetitive as fuck and really going nowhere at all. I can’t only imagine that it’s even more tedious and monotonous on TV.

  35. Broddie – I read the trades of the comic book for a long time, and I eventually dropped it for the same reasons you did. Every time I picked it up, I’d be like, “Who’s that guy again? Oh well, he’s dead now, never mind.” A lot of the problem was that while most of the story was built around character interaction, Kirkman isn’t particularly good at writing dialogue. The best parts of the comic were the parts that got away from the drama and got a little bit more streotypically comic-booky, like the parts with the one-armed guy and the roaming swordstress. That kind of stuff is not in any way “realistic” but at least it’s memorable.

  36. Yeah, I just think it was weirdly inept storytelling. I’m not surprised to hear that there are some people watching the show who don’t think of zombies as dead people who come back to life and didn’t assume that was the case. But Darabont, Kirkman, Nicotero, and I’m sure most of the other people involved in the show are big zombie fans and know that many of the people watching the show are. So it’s just weird that they made it in a way that it would be totally confusing for anyone who is familiar with what a zombie is. I just don’t get what they were going for. All they had to do was establish during the two dozen or however many episodes that the characters believed it to be only transmitted by bite. Better yet, make us believe it also.

    I actually don’t have a problem with it being a soap opera. I never sit around waiting for the zombies to show up. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, in fact, is way more about the people arguing inside the house than about the zombies. That’s part of why it’s so great. I also have always believed that it’s okay for people to do stupid things in horror movies, because people are stupid. But the show would be better if the characters were more developed and consistent, and if a few of them were more likable or relatable.

  37. Majestyk – I do agree that Kirkman’s dialogue could get heavy handed. He’s not very good at building pathos. His characters ring hollow a lot of the time. I had that problem with INVINCIBLE too though it was a far more consistent book than TWD was.

    Last time TWD grabbed me Michonne and her katana got payback on the governor. That was definitely some of the most over the top comic book goodness you would find in that book. It was unreal in it’s brutality thusly pretty damn awesome.

    After that it did nothing and before that it was going through the ringer as it was. So I dropped it cold. It made no sense to spend that money on it when there were books like Y THE LAST MAN and now SWEET TOOTH that dealt with similar tropes in more inventive ways anyway; with superior dialogue. So my money goes there.

    Despite Kirkman being less emotive than other writers he is a great idea guy. There’s this book called THIEF OF THIEVES he’s co-plotting with Nick Spencer (a good comic book writer when it comes to dialogue BTW) and it’s been aces 2 issues in. It about a former master con man trying to get it together and all the chaos around him very similar to a lot of the movies many of us have seen here but through the perspective of the comic book medium.

  38. I think a show’s best when it balances the character and mythology dynamics, giving you enough of each to keep you engaged throughout the narrative. I don’t mind the soap opera stuff either, in fact, I think Vern’s right in saying you need it to really tell a compelling story, because otherwise it just becomes a giant zombie snuff tape; no tension or personality, just good kills (at best). Case in point, I really liked the interaction between Andrea and Lori in the kitchen when they got into it over gender roles now that the world has ended. Of course, everything Lori said made me hate her more, so if someone could inject a little likability–or at least perspective on why she’s such a shrew–into the character ASAP that would be great; it’s not in me to hate pregnant ladies, so I’d hate to start now.

    Also, on the whole bite debate. It seems like they let a golden opportunity slip by when the barn was a real issue. Hershel going off about the possibility of rehabilitation for the zombies inside opened the door for an exchange between the survivors from Atlanta and the more sheltered farmers regarding what the walkers actually are and how the virus works (thus giving the writers a chance to show how the characters are still ignorant in certain aspects), which would have then allowed the show to let the audience know “yes, we’re aware of this issue regarding what the characters think walkers can and can’t do, and yes, we’re going to resolve it, wink wink.” Instead they go the classic “no says what they’re really thinking” route between Rick and Hershel to generate some cheap tension and we end up with threads like this (I mean, wouldn’t then have been the time for Rick to talk about the bisected zombie and raise the question “how the fuck to you rehabilitate that”).

  39. Being a bit soapy is one thing, but to use soap opera tactics is unforgivable for a show like this. You can see it coming a mile away too. When they have established what the story’s gonna be, and it’s usually the same in two or three episodes in row, they deliberately slow it down by having people talk to each other about what’s about to happen. And when it’s over, they talk about what just happened. This is the excact same trick they use in most daytime soaps and it drives me nuts. When the shows good, it’s really good. And that’s always when there’s zombies around. The only scene with humans that had some balls was the scene in the bar. So, yes, I’m for one are just sitting there waiting for the zombies to show up.

  40. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    March 21st, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I can’t say what happened in Season 2 because I stopped watching after Season 1 finished. I didn’t think that was great – although I gotta say I loved the bit at the end with Noah Emmerich, it’s been done before (notably in the film “Carriers”) but not as creepily. So the show had the capacity to make me give a shit. It’s just that most times it didn’t.

    Other than that… Season 2 got terrible reviews and I wasn’t invested enough in the show after Season 1 to watch it and see if I agreed or not, so I didn’t.

    May we have a moratorium on “classic” monsters please? I’m getting sick to death of vampires, zombies and the like. Maybe if they brought in mummies I would be more invested, but it’s hard to care any more. We’ve had comedy zombies, serious zombies, fast zombies, slow zombies, nazi zombies, ninja zombies, infected zombies, space zombies, who-knows-where-the-hell-they-came-from zombies, even celebrity zombies. I could say the same about vampires. (Except swap “nazi” with “ninja”.)

    Let’s get in some mummies or a swamp thing or two. That would work. Otherwise no more “classic” monsters. People are straining to come up with new things to do with them, and it’s showing.

  41. I can and have spent hours dissecting this show. It isn’t just a mediocre show, it’s a mediocre show with great potential, which is worse.

    I think the weird infection twist was simply a case of catering to the mainstream, the vast majority of whom believe zombie infection is spread through bites. My wife is a casual zombie fan at best, and I had to explain the Romero-style dead-returning-to-life idea to her because she didn’t understand the concept.

    I don’t have a problem with the show focusing on human interaction (I prefer it) but I do have a problem with it being a “soap opera”, because that implies a specific kind of lazy melodrama that I don’t enjoy. Characters are wildly inconsistent, frequently engaging in circular arguments and/or contradicting earlier behaviour for the sake of cheap drama. Lori is a particularly bad example of this. Also, the plot is often driven by stupidity. I thought people were too critical of this at first (I think we can assume this series takes place in a world without zombie fiction) but it’s since become indefensible. It’s fine for people to do stupid things sometimes, but it needs to come from character.

    One thing I like in post-apocalyptic fiction is the small procedural details of survival, but this show has very little of that. A moment I liked was where Maggie (I think) snapped the legs of live chickens before feeding them to the zombies in the barn. It’s a little thing, but it shows that they gave a little bit of thought as to how this kind of universe would operate. I would like to see more of those kind of world-building details. I’d like to see some interaction with other survivors as well, if only to get some more scenes like that one in the bar. That was probably my favourite scene in the season, mainly because it had some tension and momentum.

    I will probably watch the next season, if only to see Michonne and the Governor. They are both ridiculous characters, but if I can’t have quality drama then I’ll take ridiculousness as a consolation prize. Also T-Dogg better watch his ass next season; with Michonne on the scene he’s no longer the only black character on the show.

  42. What happened to ugly guys with big knives? When did those go out of fashion?

  43. that went out of style with the Friday The 13th remake I guess

    anyway see this is exactly why I don’t watch much television, I like my stories, be they in video games, movies or books, to have concrete conclusions and not feel like they’re just dragging things out, that kind of stuff really irritates me

    see that’s one reason why I like anime, although most anime are technically tv shows, they’re really more like miniseries because the wide majority of them end at 13 or 26 episodes or whatever and no more episodes are produced, so they usually have satisfying endings

    the super long running anime lke Bleach or Naruto I could only watch for a while and eventually had to quit because they were just going nowhere

  44. Just so I’m clear, me and one or two other people on this sight actually watch The Walking Dead AND like it? (By the way, I like horror movies and The Walking Dead isn’t my introduction to zombies)

    I get the feeling that in keeping with the positive tone of this sight that this space would be better suited for a The Wire talkback.

    Also the lack of confidence in Darabont from some of you concerns me a bit.

    As for the black and white version of The Mist. It’s pretty cool. The only scene that isn’t as effective is the part where they’re pulling the rope back into the store and the rope is covered in blood. You really need that red in there to get it’s full effect I think. Otherwise, yeah. The black and white version is pretty cool.

  45. If you think about it when Darabont does non Stephen King it is not that good. Makes me wonder if Mick Garris did non King he would make a great movie.

  46. Darth Irritable

    March 21st, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I have to agree with Sternshein and a couple of others – it’s not unreasonable to fall back on the “you only turn if you get bitten” bit. Even in Romero town, other than the news broadcasts, not much was made of the notion that everyone turns (and it’s reasonable to think that the broadcasters were typically inaccurate and panic stricken, so it’s reasonable to expect they were mistaken). In fact, the only film I can think of that explicitly had any non-bitten dead coming to life was Return of The Living Dead. Up until Land of the Dead, I’m struggling to think of any non-bitten turnee. Even in the remake of Dawn, you had to be bitten to turn.

    I’d also like to make a point – we all think we’d do great in a Zombie Apocalypse, but the reality is, we’d all be fucked. If you haven’t read World War Z – you should. It’s an oral account of a Zombie outbreak – obviously fictional – but the description of the Battle of Yonkers really drove home how irrevocably fucked we would be. It’s a really really good book, and I can only dread how clunky it will become now it’s being made into a Brad Pitt movie.

    Also, Season 3 should be awesome. I don’t think even Uwe Boll could fuck up the Governor and Micchone. Michael Bay prolly could.

  47. To see how it should be done, the producers of Walking Dead should check out the British TV series Survivors from 2008. There’s no zombies, but it’s about a group of people who tries to survive after most of the population has been wiped out by a virus. It’s pretty low budget and all the actors come from TV. But the characters are sharply drawn and there’s something new happening in every episode. Highly recommended.

  48. I loved the pilot.

    But I thought episode 2 was a bunch of melodramatic shit (the feisty girl who blames the cop, the cliched, racist white guy, the cowardly black guy who forgets that the hacksaw is right-fucking-there in the bucket). Also I thought the Asian kid’s acting kind of sucked (and of the new group, he was the most likable character). I stopped watching then, and from what I’ve heard I’m glad I did.

    Shane turns out to be crazy and gets killed? Lame.

  49. I haven’t seen season 2, yet, but I’ve read pretty far into the comics. It seems like most of the problems found in the first season (except for the excellent pilot episode) persist into the second season. I do think some of the issues in the TV show can be found in the comics themselves. I think other people have mentioned that Kirkman isn’t the best at writing dialogue (although he has improved over the series), and in turn the characters aren’t as clearly drawn as they could be. He does have some decent ideas, and the premise of a George Romero story that doesn’t end is pretty cool.

    I think Vern has a great point about humor. I don’t think that humor, if done right, takes away from how bleak a story can be. In fact, I think a little bit of dark humor can make a story feel even more hopeless. A little bit of humor can humanize a character and get the audience to like him or her. The character becomes recognizable, and when he has to commit atrocious acts or atrocious acts are committed on him, then we can actually put ourselves in his position. Take Breaking Bad, for example. That show feels far more bleak than Walking Dead, even though the latter show is about the death of humanity. One of the differences, is that Breaking Bad adds moments of humor that make the decisions of certain characters that much more excruciating.

  50. Darth Irritable – World War Z is one of my favorite books, I wish HBO was doing a big budget miniseries instead of the movie

  51. Zombie Survival Guide,anyone? After reading that book I feel like I´m prepared to take the necessary steps to survive an impending apocalypse of the undead..

  52. the Zombie Survival Guide is also awesome

  53. as a matter of fact, I wish Max Brooks would hurry up and write another book already

  54. Jareth Cutestory

    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I’d like to see the WALKING DEAD zombies proliferate to such an extent that they start invading better shows. Suddenly things won’t be so sunny in Philadelphia. A doped up Nurse Jackie can try to resuscitate zombie victim Hank Moody while the hospital is under seige. The TRUE BLOOD vampires will have to put aside their sexy bickering when a new threat comes to town.

    The zombies can invade worse shows too. With zombies involved, the phrase “keeping up with the Kardashians” becomes almost appealing.

  55. I’m with CrustaceanHate on the love for survival-type details. The Robinson Crusoe shit. Like in BATTLESTAR where they had to look for water, or LOST where they had to decide whether to live on the beach or in the cave. THE WALKING DEAD could use a lot more of that. Heck, so could those other two shows. To me, that’s some good, interesting story-driving stuff that also sidesteps the pitfalls of soapoperaism. I agree that it’s fine to have people talking to each other in between the zombies/cylons/others. But where it starts to lose me is when they act like they have all the time in the world to sit around and think about how much they like/hate each other, while at most doing a load of laundry or sitting with a fishing pole. Just going on a group camping trip in real life you see tensions rise and fall from things like people disagreeing on how to do tasks, equipment missing/malfunctioning, and how nice or miserable the weather is. And certainly it makes sense that there would be periods of monotony within the zombie apocalypse, but wouldn’t that probably be the time when you spent the most effort on evaluating and stockpiling, rather than, say, pouting about people you don’t like? JERICHO was another show that had some really cool bits surrounded by weird decisions of this kind: “The hospital is about to run out of power! Hurry, hurry, fix it, fix it! Put yourself in harm’s way! ” “Ok, hurry, hurry, oh by the way, how long have we known this was going to be a problem?” “Oh for the last several days, but I didn’t want to bother the people sitting on their asses in the bar. Besides, now isn’t trying to hurry through this so much more exciting?”
    Also thanks guys for pointing out for me that THE WALKING DEAD comics have some of the problems I see in the show. Before I figured it was all the show’s fault.

  56. I’m hopeful for the prospects of the current comic storyline because it does finally seem to be going into a new place with the concept of a zombie world. If Kirkman sticks to it and really develops the idea of a new society that isn’t the usual Mad Max type stuff (not that there is anything wrong with that, but I want new Apocalypse stuff) it could be the world building type stuff everyone seems to like. The long form storytelling is finally paying off and Rick has become a deeply fucked-up and interesting protagonist and enough time has passed in the world to make everything seem like a natural progression. The Walking Dead comic could change the zombie game, or it might just reset and go back to the same old cycle of Rick and Co making friends and watching/getting them killed.

    On the other hand keeping up with the comic takes 5 minutes out of my month while standing at the comic store. Watching the show is a bit too much of a commitment for something that would take another 2 seasons to get really good if it does at all. Still, nice to have a high rated zombie show on tv.

  57. I so badly want to like this show that I keep watching.

    I’ve been a long time fan of the comic. I’m not a comic book kind of guy but I remember picking up the first few comics at the book store a few years back and I’ve stuck with it since. What really amazes me is that while the comic isn’t always great it does have a lot of interesting stuff. I don’t know why they ignore a lot of the interesting things that happen in the comic and invent new and boring things to happen instead. It’s pretty baffling.

    I agree with Vern that this show is too serious. People get so far up their ass with being serious and dramatic that everyone becomes a cartoon character and I no longer buy that anyone is a human being. Game of Thrones and Battlestar Galactica also do this.

    Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Battlestar Galactica all seem to represent the same thing to me: they’re attempts by nerd-kind to make “serious” and “adult” drama that they can try to push on everyone else, but they all fail in actually being very good while getting a pass from their target audience because they at least appear more serious and adult than Xena: Warrior Princess.

    Ugh, whatever. The best show on television (besides Breaking Bad) is Spartacus and you all should be watching that. It’s trashy and great.

  58. I just dont agree with the negative comments about the show. I love it and cant wait for season three.

  59. I think a lot of the negative comments aren’t necessarily rooting for the show’s demise, but actually hoping the show lives up to its potential. The pilot episode was a great introduction to these characters and this world. But then it seemed as if the show lost control of itself. I will say, however, that a lot of shows don’t get their bearings until season 3, so there’s still some time for Walking Dead to correct course.

  60. I keep hoping the show does get better. It just does so many things badly. My biggest gripe is that if you’re going to spend 6 episodes with not much going on you should spend some of that time developing all the different characters and relationships. This time was totally wasted and did nothing at all to make me care about anyone, which would go a long way towards my being emotionally invested in the action that does happen.

  61. Darth Irritable

    March 22nd, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Zombies on Spartacus would be awesome. I’d love to see that guy that got his face sliced off two weeks ago make a comeback.

  62. Fuck, you all have me crying again. When CHUD and Baddass Digest ran their head-to-head Walking Dead (S1) debates I felt embarrassed for ‘the internet’ and a sense of loss as the respect I had for people because of their writing was one by one flushed down the toilet. Here we have this absolutely awesome gift I always knew would come – an ongoing zombie saga, and everyone single one of those 10+ reviewers whined and bitched and made damn sure they hated every minute of it while inexplicably vowing to watch the next 100+ hours to come.

    And so that continued of course, with a bunch of the usual dicks and losers taking the time to continue watching and reviewing, and posting random whiney articles about their least favourite show up until present and presumably for the x amount of seasons to come. This is not just insane because I can’t relate – I dun like Scrubs, friends demanded I watch it as best show ever, gave it 2 more episodes out of respect, but nope, just not at all funny or otherwise worth watching to me. Never discussed it since – obviously some people love it, obviously it dun work for me – so I can’t relate to wallowing in this kind of misery with no end in sight when there are more great series out there to watch than actually can be watched by any one person.

    There are, accordinging to wikipedia, at this moment in time exactly 666 zombie movies in existence. As my favourite genre, I doubt many people have seen as many as me which is well over half that list. The only zombie movie I ever found disappointing to watch was Shaun of the Dead (ironically a top 10 favourite of this same crowd of whiney haters). I had no issue with the big ‘reveal’ and actually thought it was awesome. Even more, I rewatched the entire 18 episodes last weekend in a nightly marathon with family and loved it just as much as second time – even more actually, and everyone loved it, loved the tension, the characters, and invested hook line and sinker into the drama, including in all of that fantastic epic finale.

    Evidently, I will have to sit in the minority – the 99.9% of x million viewers who loved the fuck out of every minute of it and laughed and cried and held our breaths, while the 0.1% majority ‘the internet’ did what they do and whined and bitched and heartily belittled anyone who didn’t. I feel as if I am on the verge of understanding transparently how the bandwagon effect works for internet movie critic communities, and how these whiney nuggets of discontent that infest these people like a virus, taking over pleasant healthy cells of cinematic love and turning them into fat, hairy, spikey, smelly, ugly little life sucking pathogens, that under a microscope I suspect ironically look like this guy: http://www.edrants.com/why-devin-faraci-is-unfit-to-practice-journalism/

    There, done posting on the internet! Bye Neil.

  63. AU – You said it yourself – the idea of “an ongoing zombie saga” is something that appeals to us, so some of us who consider it very flawed keep watching anyway, hoping it will become to us the “awesome gift” it is to you. Nothing surprising about that. I could see your complaint if I was reviewing each episode and saying it sucked every time, but that’s not the case. I like plenty of things about the show, and addressed that in the post. But that business with treating “zombies are dead people who come back to life” as a huge revelation was driving me crazy. I wanted to know if it was just me, so I wrote about it.

  64. Apologies Vern, your review was generally good-natured and still very Magoo/Vernesque and to be fair if I read it in isolation I’d have enjoyed it more. I enjoyed my weekend marathon and that finale so much that, despite having avoided all the hate-mongering for months, I wanted to read discussions but stupidly read the 2 finale discussions at Badass Digest, and combined with the commenters here, whole thing has worn me out. I enjoy at some level every movie I watch, and any series I choose to watch more than a few episodes of, and have never been able to wrap my head around the mostly negative and (really bizarrely) condescending opinions that prevail on movie sites, dominating every comment section everywhere.

    I guess I am not completely capable of understanding where this expectation that ‘the internet’ has of what the The Walking Dead should be given how much there is to love about it, and why people would force their way through another episode when they disappointed the first 2/4/6/12/17!. I wonder if food critic sites have the same phenomenon? Comments dominated by negativity and disappointments as reviewers and talkbackers go on and on about how much they wish they could like Mexican Food but taco after taco, Nacho after Buritto they just keep meeting disappointment wondering why for the life of them it just doesn’t taste ever seem to taste as refined as French food. It just tastes so spicy and greasy and cheesey. They just can’t figure out why the sauce has no cream in it. And can’t figure out after 18 taco’s that the reason what their eating doesn’t taste like French food is because ITS FUCKING MEXICAN FOOD so it tastes exactly like Mexican food, which is in no way worse than French food, and is absolutely delicious exactly as it is, despite that of course the connoisseurs will laugh it away as ridiculous. Actually come to think of it, I imagine that probably is prevalent in the internet foodie community… I keep forgetting that I just hate people, yet insist on disappointing myself by listening to what they have to say over and over 2/4/6/12/17 times… Oh oh, arg!

  65. AU, why do you care what people on the internet think of Walking Dead? You love it, isn’t that enough?

  66. Just watched the last episode of Season 2 on FX over here, and read your review. I agree with everything you’ve said, so am offering a full-on balls’ tickle I arrogantly feel when someone agrees with my beliefs. That’s even more pronounced after devoting hours to this ok-yet-could/can-be-great TV series. Maybe it gives all that time some validation. Just one minor thing to add… Carl is as obnoxious as Laurie is. I despise his sneering face.

    [[[SPOILER]]]

    Hell, at least Michonne is in it now. What a brilliant badass character. Now let’s get to the prison. And Carl losing his arm. And that cunt who rapes Michonne getting his just desserts.
    Thanks Vern.

  67. [[[SPOILER]]]

    Sorry, Rick losing his arm. And was I alone in cheering when Carl lost half his face? Less sneer per surface area, after all.

  68. Those spoilers you just posted show up on the “recent commentary” bit on the side of the main page.

  69. “AU, why do you care what people on the internet think of Walking Dead? You love it, isn’t that enough?”

    ‘cos I enjoy reading a discussion like I might get reading about Seagal on Vern.com. Unfortunately it’s pretty random who gets to set the tone on ‘the internet’ reaction to anything, and 90% follow suit. Vern particularly via AICN really did set a positive tone to B action that you could see was infectious – a true meme. You got both extreme’s like HULK commenters where 90% have so much HULK deep in their throat that they are too scared to think critically. Douche-bags managed to set the tone for Walking Dead at whiney, which fucking sucks. Other douche-bags set the tone for Game of Thrones across every site to be nothing but comparisons to a book most didn’t seem to have really read but for some reason felt they had to give the impression they read it so that every commenter also had to give same impression. So instead of discussions about an awesome series and intricate plot you got endless whiney references to a book series few people actually read. I’m praying that doesn’t cross seasons, but the first set of reviewers will make that decision…

    I get you got fashion/peer pressure/fitting in/wanting to be respected & loved and all that on ‘the internet’ as much as anywhere else, just fucking amazes me how effective it is on ‘the internet’ that the memes are so powerful they are literally colouring people’s experiences. I should take solace in that it’s only hundreds, and most people who feel the way I do dun bother posting. I am just a sucker for tragedies…

  70. Actually, the meme probably infects half the lurkers too. Statistically they say something like 10 lurkers for every 1 poster. Any of you lurkers care to comment just this once?

  71. I’ll think you’ll find that the critisism here on this site has been pretty well founded. And no one can accuse us of speaking with one voice – on anything.

  72. Jareth Cutestory

    March 24th, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I’d like to be the first person to set the internet tone for the upcoming Ridley Scott ALIEN prequel: the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting what you want.

    Did that work?

  73. AU – I agree with everything in your last 5 posts. Except for not liking Scrubs. I love Scrubs.

  74. So when I stopped watching The Walking Dead half way through the first season it was because I was being mind-controlled by the internet, and not because it’s boring as fuck as I had previously suspected? Good to know.

  75. Mode7, why did you quit half way through the first season? You missed some great action, man!

  76. I haven’t watched a lot of the tv series, but I have read enough of the comics.
    I think the character of Lori was made to not be likeable (she is unbearable), so it was kind of a relief when she was killed off in the comic (I don’t think they are gonna do it in tv, they don’t follow the same death path, let alone in the crude way she was killed). And a lot of time I find myself liking more the others characters than Rick, the main character, they’d be better without him. Also, the dead of Shane was more striking to me (he was accidentally killed by Rick’s son when he found them arguing).
    An intresting thing is that Kirkman was very clear that was never going to reveal, in the comics, the real causes of the origin of the “zombies” (the virus explanation sounds cheap). He also stated he didn’t foresee an ending to the storty (the world is doomed, there’s no happy ending). So it could go on for ever, or at least while people care.

  77. Anyone else catch the season three premiere? I was impressed. A tense, dialog-free opening scene, more survivalist and world-building details plus more zombie killing than the whole first half of season two. I know this show has disappointed before with excellent premieres and a lackluster followup (capped with a finale that’s good enough to keep me around for the next season) but if this is indicative of what’s to come then I approve.

    I also thought it was a smart decision to skip ahead several months, even if it doesn’t quite make sense that they hadn’t stumbled across that gigantic prison complex yet. Everyone is a lot more weary and desperate, raising the dramatic stakes, but they’re also a lot more capable. Carl actually kills some zombies rather than getting lost every five minutes. I also like the idea that Michonne and Andrea have been kicking around together busting zombie heads for the better part of year, like a post-apocalyptic THELMA AND LOUISE.

  78. I love the premiere, great action and build toward the ending scene. I’d say it’s more like six months CrustaceanHate, and if you remember the shot of the prison in the finale it makes a sort of sense they missed it if they thought raiding houses for supplies was their best shot. Until you realize they have a map which would have shown a large prison so whoops!

    I’m enjoying the differences from the comic but SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER they better not puss out and let Laurie and the baby live. Her annoying presence removal was a highlight of the comic.

  79. I’m looking forward to the Governor. He is the most ridiculous character in the comics (maybe not anymore, I checked out a while ago) but the show could use some ridiculousness. It ain’t cutting it as a straight drama.

  80. Okay, over the last 4 episodes, the show got A LOT of goodwill from my side back. Not just because of the useless-character-cleanup from last episode. My original plan was to never tune in again if this show would still suck after this half season, but it seems like I can stick around longer.

  81. I agree. MAJOR SPOILERS FOR SEASON 3 OF THE WALKING DEAD TELEVISION PROGRAM COMING UP. I mean, the seasons tend to start and end strong, so we’ll see if it drags in the middle. But so far this one has been mostly good shit. I like the low-dialogue procedural type of scenes. I like the split between the prison story and the LAND OF THE DEAD one, because it gives the world more scope and makes the show less repetitive than when it was just the farm every damn episode. I liked that the episode before last didn’t even go to the prison, and at the end I felt relieved that I didn’t have to see those other assholes.

    Michonne is a pretty cool character so far, though I wish she would’ve kept her adorable zombie buddies longer. Carl is more interesting now that he’s a scary little fucker instead of a pouter who keeps wandering away and everybody has to look for him. Laurie is of course much better now that she’s not on the show. I was impressed that by showing her son’s reaction to her impending death and then Rick breaking down and crying they actually made me sad about this death I’ve been hoping for since early last season.

    On the other hand it was kind of cheap in that episode that they gave T-Dog a scene where he disagreed with everybody, and I thought “Oh wow, are they gonna write things for T-Dog in this season?” when of course it was really “oh shit, we better give him one notable season since we’re about to kill him off after 3 seasons.” Same thing with the nice moment when Herschell was up and walking and everybody smiled at each other. Good scene, but seems cheaper after you know it’s just there because they’re gonna kill Laurie. (But it was worth it.)

    I hope and dream that in a future episode Rick will say, “T-Dog, have you seen Carl?” and the new black guy will have to explain that T-Dog died a long time ago and he’s actually a different guy.

    “Wait, are you sure? I could’ve sworn you were T-Dog.”

    “Nope. Different guy.”

    “Okay, sorry.”

    “It’s cool.”

    My biggest concern now is that they’ve made Rick into such an asshole that there’s even less characters to root for. But they’re killing people and adding people left and right so there’s plenty of potential for interesting new directions.

  82. In all fairness about seasons starting strong: At this point in season 2, I was already prepared to punch me in the balls for still watching this crap.

    Also I love that they seem to make Merle (sp?) more of a three dimensional character. In his two episode stint of season 1, he was just a stereotypical, borderline psychopathic racist, but while he still doesn’t seem to be the most trustworthy person around, he became a lot more sympathetic. I mean, if it should turn out that he will become a valuable part of the group, because his brother convinces him that it’s the right thing to do, I would totally buy it at this point.

    So far I’m pretty torn about Michonne. She’s pretty badass and a sword wielding woman with two “castrated” zombie slaves on a chain gave the show the note of BREAKING BAD-esque bizarre dark humor that it really needs IMO, but during the last episodes she became what Andrea was in season 2. (“Give me my weapon, waaaah!”) She does have a lot of potential. I love how she isn’t afraid of playing a game of I-know-what-you-did with the Governor. Let’s hope this won’t just end with a lame cop out like having her shot in the back halfway next episode.

  83. I agree about T-Dog’s whiplash-inducing character arc prior to his death. The show has never been subtle with foreshadowing. I know they probably didn’t bump T-Dog off so they could replace him with another black guy, but they had to have known that it would appear that way, right? Right?

    Speaking of racism, they seem to have dropped that aspect to Merle and Daryls’ characters, which is good because it was very clumsily handled. I still find it jarring when I see the Schutzstaffel logo on Daryl’s bike. He’s one of the most likable characters on the show!

    It’s interesting that they’ve killed Lori so early on too. It’s a brave move, even if her character wasn’t well liked (least of all by me, and I’m usually the one defending the put-upon-wife character in TV dramas). I thought the scene of Rick breaking down and crying after her death was well done but according to the internet it was terrible or something? Sometimes I feel like there’s a big part of the audience who don’t want expressions of real emotion interfering with their fun zombie show.

  84. I think my favourite moment of season 2 was in the finale, when they all meet again after fleeing from the farm and Daryl makes a joke about Glen being a horrible driver because he is Asian. But unlike all the “chink” remarks that he made in season 1, it came across like poking fun at a good friend and everybody, including Glen, was laughing. That showed us so much much better how Daryl had changed, than every hammy “I learned some valuable lessons”-speeches in the world. (Although I still expect one till the end of this half season. Maybe When Daryl and Merle meet again.)

  85. I’m sorry, but am I the only one who laughed very, very hard at the fat zombie who just sat there and moaned as if he would say in his zombie language: “Oooh, they told me I shouldn’t eat the whole Lori and they were right.”

  86. So…does anybody want to talk about how the show managed to become much better than in its awful 2nd season, while still managing to be one of the three dumbest shows on TV?

  87. I argue with some of my buddies about this. I really liked this season. It has some of the same problems (too many characters I hate) but not nearly as bad, and consistently exciting this time. I don’t remember a boring episode. Dividing between two locations was a big improvement, and setting up the politics and secrets of the two sides, communicating between them, putting them at war against each other. Andria was frustratingly stupid, but turned around for the last stretch. The Governor was a good villain. Michon was a good addition. Andrew Lincoln was consistently great even when his character was being stupid. Lots of good action, but not repetitive. And the season didn’t end the way I expected at all. Good work. Too bad they fired the guy in charge. Hope that works out.

    One thing I would like to see, they should have Chris Hardwick as a guest on an episode so we know he gets killed off on that episode of Talking Dead.

  88. On the other hand, the new showrunner wrote some of the best episodes of the whole series this season, so maybe season 4 will finally be the one, where the show unleashes its full potential. I stay optimistic for now.

    But to be honest, I wish they would have kept Merle around a little longer. Okay, it was smart to get rid of him at this point and this way, because they couldn’t do much more with him without either stretching the credibility of the other characters even more or just repeating Darrell’s from-racist-asshole-to-good-friend arc, but I already miss him.

  89. So far I’m really digging this season’s ultra bleak daily-routine-in-a-kinda-safe-environment-during-the-zombie-apocalpyse approach. Sure, I wish they were brave enough to give us at least one episode without a zombie fight shoehorned in, but I love the idea that instead of fighting zombies or paths, the survivors “just” have to fight a flu.

  90. I’m liking it so far this season too. The first episode was especially great. Did anybody else think that Rick’s pig farming/not using a gun period was an homage to UNFORGIVEN?

  91. Now that you say it…you might be up to something. It’s maybe a little bit far fetched, but current showrunner Scott M. Gimple was also the creator of a Disney cartoon show named FILLMORE, which was basically a kid friendly parody of all kinds of 70s cop shows and movies. And we all know that most cliches and tropes in that genre were created by DIRTY HARRY. I’m not saying that it proves that it’s an UNFORGIVEN homage, but it also does NOT prove that Gimple is NOT a Clint fan.

    And now that you mention episode 4.1: The zombies-crashing-through-the-ceiling scene, was maybe the coolest thing that I have seen in a zombie movie since I can remember.

    P.S: In my previous post I meant of course “psychopaths” and not just “paths”. I blame my wireless keyboard for this. (And myself for still not reading what I wrote before I hit “submit comment”.

  92. Vern, it could be a nod to a lot of different westerns. For some reason pigs are big in westerns, and I don’t mean just their size. But as both you and CJ reasons it’s probably UNFORGIVEN.

  93. Pigs in westerns? “Swedgen! Cocksuckers!”

  94. May I bring this discussion back from the dead? How does everybody like this show up to it’s current season 5?

    I have only recently started watching again, after deciding midway through the second episode of the first season that it wasn’t for me, although I did like most of the pilot. It was hard getting through the first season, and didn’t have high hopes for season 2 after reading comments here als elsewhere, but I loved it – every single episode. Season 2 was dramatically better than the first in my book. Season 2 finale is up tonight, and then I want to catch up quickly thanks to Netflix.

  95. Let’s just say that the show still has the same problems (stupid characters, always the same survival plots), but around season 4 learned to handle them better.

    Having said that, it’S still the most frustrating show on TV. It’s stupid, but they manage to keep the story too interesting, to make me quit.

  96. I had a big problem with season 2. But from season 3 and upwards it’s been good, stupid fun. And it’s a show I can watch with my wife, even if she normally hates horror series/movies.

  97. After getting past the endless slog of the farmhouse and “We have to find Sofia!” in season 2 I have really enjoyed the show. Every time they’ve fired a show runner it’s gotten better, and the current guy (who took over last season I believe) is the best. They’ve learned to keep the pace up, vary the locations, skip around in time a little, and have great action scenes. Most importantly they’ve allowed them to smile and have joy every once in a while. (I love the one where Carl sits on the roof eating pudding.) The first episode this season was probly the best episode of the series so far, and the follow ups have been good too.

    And every time I see another shitty zombie movie I remember to respect that this show continues the Romero tradition of great zombies. I really like that in this season, since more time has passed, they’ve decided to have more decomposed zombies, so we get to see the puppets and shit.

    Also I’m glad they decided to ditch the “only one black person at a time” rule of earlier seasons.

  98. Tat sounds great. I’m currently enjoying the third season (just finished episode 6) and while some episodes have editing flaws (some jarring switches between locations mid-scene) and the Governer’s town is so obviously an outside studio set, I think it is steadily improving. It’s also hard to think this series could become any more grisly. The zombie effects really are as good as anything I have seen, and they are certainly not holding back at all.

    I like the way the main character of Rick Grimes has evolved from tough Sheriff (“okay, there’s a zombie apocalypse, let’s deal with it”), to doubting his leadership in season 2, becoming a real hardass somewhere between season 2 and 3 afer announcing that the days of democracy are over in the final espisode of season 2, and now at the brink of losing his mind after what happened with his wife (so glad to see her gone, though).

    I am liking this show more and more.

  99. I am a late comer to this and have to say that Season 2, when watched over a couple of sittings (versus in weekly instalments) was ace. It didn’t drag at all.

  100. Anybody else watching FEAR The Walking Dead? Half way through season 2 and liking it a bit more than the glacial paced first season (which was only 6 episodes but felt like 16). It starts off a bit slow which had me worried, but benefits from a lot of tension in the confined space of a boat for about 5 episodes, with a lot of main character flashbacks as the story rolls on.

    There’s one new theme in this which I’d never seen before, and that’s the idea that zombies aren’t considered “dead” or “infected” by a certain group of survivors, but are in some kind of spiritual transit to becoming an eternal being. Which is…interesting.

    Also, how come no one ever told me how awesome Ruben Blades is?

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