Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Walking Dead: Gripping Saga or Getting Silly?

It's not hard to see why The Walking Dead is getting nominated for all these TV awards.  It's an Indy science fiction TV show that takes itself very seriously without any hint low budget B acting.  Not to mention that people are in love with zombies.

But as the show jumps into season 3, I am beginning to see some themes and routines that are raising a few eyebrows.  This is an otherwise great show, but if these themes took over it could ruin the credibility of the series.  For example...

1. Trying So Hard To Be Graphic

We get it.  Zombies are supposed to bleed and dismember everything.  We also get that killing a zombie results in lots of brains getting splattered.  There is no competition--The Walking Dead is the most violent show on TV.  I still can't figure out why my cable company rates it at TV-14, when clearly the show is an R-Rated series where no one uses the F-word.

Gore and blood is supposed to elicit a shock response.  But I think AMC is starting to realize that their audiences are becoming desensitized.  No longer does it phase anyone that a horse is getting de-gutted.  So what do the writers do...find new ways to be overly graphic.  The new season has Carol performing a C-section on a female zombie for practice later.  A good way to solve a plot problem?  Maybe.  Totally disgusting?  Oh yea.  But don't worry, we will get desensitized to on air C-sections and the writers will have to try again to get us to be squeamish.  I'm sure they have lots of fun things for Michonne to do that will fill the disgust quota.

Don't worry dad I am a Master level Ninja with Expert Stealth powers!

2.  Easy Zombies

Do you remember the first episode where seeing a pack of walkers was a big deal?  You were like, "Oh crap, that guy is doomed."  Now when you see a bunch of walkers it's like watching a video game.  The crack team of zombie destroyers are amazing at perfect head shots regardless of distance or type of weapon and the zombies almost seem effortless to kill.  The justification is that Rick's survival party spends all time mastering the skill of zombie hunting.  The problem with that is that the zombies are no longer a threat.  Even the prepubescent Carl is a crackshot who can take down zombies with a pistol from a tower.  You can also get some perfect noggin shots from a speeding car and a shotgun.  The walkers are a hindrance at best.  I am starting to think that I would be a great zombie hunter.  Not only does this effortless task take away the horror element of the show, but I am starting to wonder if the zombie element is just to prove that the show is for adults.  So when are we going to see dangerous zombies again?  When are we going to see the survivors tortured by this endless threat?  How did our military fall to this simple hurdle?

At the jerk auditions!

3.  The Selfish Jerk Plot

Every season has one.  In the first season we had the racist hillbilly on the rooftop.  In season 2 we had Shane being a jealous lover with ego issues.  In the third one I think Rick is filling the shoes of the egotistical jack donkey who is giving his wife a cold shoulder.  Every zombie movie is required by law to have the reckless zealous male and the heartless selfish female in the cast of survivors, but in The Walking Dead it is a hat that gets passed around the cast.  Now add that to the fact that killing a human being has become as popular as greeting them and you have this cycle:

 Jerk irritates protagonist --->  Protagonist stabs Jerk  ---->  Protagonist becomes Jerk

I have to cut The Walking Dead some slack.  This is a brand new genre to TV and the Walking Dead is doing phenomenal at keeping everyone hooked.  But when Rick can just kill anyone that irritates him slightly then you start to get a bit predictable.

I don't want people to think I loathe the show.  It is actually one of the few shows that has a chance to survive mediocrity and boredom.  I also want to note that this show deserves all its accolades.  But this is what I don't want to happen.

1.  The show becoming a violent video game with a side of great character development

Personally, I am just waiting for the zombie fad to die out so TV can start something fresh.  (I am surprised we haven't cashed in on a show about ninjas or bacon)      
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