on "the walking dead"


So I recently was able to watch the six-episode first season of The Walking Dead, the AMC show about zombies based on the graphic novels of the same name. In general, I enjoyed them, a lot. I really love how the zombie genre has turned into stories of human character, rather than just horror stories of the undead prowling around trying to eat everyone. And six episodes is a good way to get in, establish characters, setting, and loose plotline, while not dragging on too long. Six episodes should be the default for first seasons, I think. You show what’s up, then you show that you’re good enough to last more than one season.

I haven’t read the graphic novels, but I certainly plan on doing so now, because there were aspects of the TV show that bugged me, and I want to see if they bug me in the books as well. Shane’s character arc went from genuinely thoughtful to “rapey” in two second flat. Basically, the last episode bugged me the most because, as I’ve heard, it deviated significantly from the comic books, and it turned a show about the struggles of a band of survivors into an action sequence, where the CDC explodes. Because decontamination = explosions.

The last two episodes just progressed too quickly, and dropped character investigation for more action, more surprises. And it turned Shane into a genuine character into a drunk and a potential rapist. While I understand that Shane has serious issues with being pushed aside as Lori’s husband returns from death, this flip was just too quick. Yes, six episodes is quick, but it also demonstrated the attitude of “get everything in because we might not have a second season,” which is just unfair to the audience. From the first episode alone, it’s obvious that AMC would pick up a second season. They got huge ratings from the show. Instead, we got drunk Shane and the CDC exploding.

Here’s another thing that really bugged me about the last episode. So Bruce Jenner locks up the place — okay, before that, people are enjoying themselves and Dr Jenner sits back, looking like he knows something, and also we see the ticking clock in the background … here’s my thing: why is Dr Jenner such a dick? Why wouldn’t he just say, “Listen, I’m running out of fuel for the generator” and give people enough time to maybe syphon some from their cars so they can keep the place running for a little while longer? Also, why doesn’t the goddamn COMPUTER say, “WARNING, GENERATOR FUEL LOW” at regular intervals?! What kind of building is this? An advanced computer capable of following detailed voice commands, but it won’t tell you that the GENERATOR IS RUNNING OUT OF FUEL?! Why just a digital countdown clock?! That’s not very advanced at all! I had a digital clock once — back in 1996! Come on, CDC! Get it together!

Anyway, so the lockdown happens, and Bruce is being a real dick (probably because now that zombies are everywhere, he can’t get a good run in), and then Rick convinces him to open the lockdown doors, but some people want to stay, because they think it’s better to die than to try to fend off zombies. These people are losers, but whatever. So it’s two people, Jacqui (whose name I got from Wikipedia, because who says it in the series?) and Andrea. Jacqui says she wants to stay and her husband? is pissed but she says it’s okay and so okay, we’ll leave her because we don’t have time for this shit. Then Andrea says she wants to stay, and SUDDENLY WE HAVE TIME FOR A PEP TALK. And moreover, Dale convinces Andrea to come along, but DOESN’T TRY TO CONVINCE JACQUI?! What is this bullshit?! Why did everyone just think, “Well, Jacqui doesn’t want to come, and she really didn’t do anything in this series anyway, so let’s just let her go.”

It really doesn’t help that she’s a black woman, either. Save the white girl, but let the black woman die. It would be great if there were time to navigate this territory, but instead we are given five minutes to Get the Fuck Out. So for the last episode, they chose action over character progression. It’s kind of lame, in my opinion.

Seriously, the last episode is so hastily put together it drives me nuts. They use a grenade to break the window to escape. A grenade breaks ONE window, with no surrounding damage. IT’S A GRENADE! That whole scene is so disappointing.

Argh, the scene with Dale and Andrea at the end drives me nuts. Who does that? It’s like they literally forgot about Jacqui. And then she and Bruce join hands before the CDC explodes, as though they were best friends all along. Don’t forget, Jacqui, and Dr Jenner PRETTY MUCH TRIED TO KILL YOU.

Anyway. Now that a second season has been commissioned, and all the writers leaving, I hope whomever they get to replace them will have better plotting skills than this. The first five episodes were excellent, up to the point where the CDC was introduced. Then it went to Shitsville. No more action sequences like that. Storytelling. That’s what makes a zombie show great.

Now it’s time to buy the graphic novels and see how things really went down.

By Josh

I'm the guy who owns this site, ya dummy.

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