Walking Dead and such

I watch the television show that features zombies which are never called zombies and plenty of drama involving a tight knit group of people. You have probably heard of it.

No, not FRIENDS, but good guess.

Believe it or not, I am referring to AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD, a somehow popular show loosely based on a somehow popular comic book. Now in its fifth season, the show has lasted a lot longer than I initially suspected it might,due in no small part to fanatics that cannot seem to get enough of the Grimes family drama.

Just to throw out some words here on the ol’ blog, I will now answer all the questions that you probably have no inclination to ask me about this show and my experience with it.

1) OMG DID YOU SEE THE LAST EPISODE WHERE–

Let me stop you right there. No, I have not seen the last episode. I have never, in fact, seen the last episode. I do not watch THE WALKING DEAD with the unwashed cable-subscribing masses, but rather with the elite Blu-ray release viewing heroes. (I am not sure what exactly delineates the few classes in this particular caste system aside from my whims at the moment.)

As we do not pay for any television service, Heidi and I watch THE WALKING DEAD each season when our friend picks it up on Blu-ray. It works pretty well for our purposes, especially as it removes the urgency of cliffhangers between episodes. (Maybe that is part of the fun, but instant catharsis is not so bad either.)

The main point here is that, because of the Blu-ray release schedule (and the difficulties in coordinating with an out of town friend. It is fine for the most part, aside from spoilers. I managed to avoid most of the spoilers in my social media circles only to have something pretty significant in the plot spoiled in one of the few shows I do watch as it comes out.

I am, at this very moment, watching season 4, about halfway through the season.

2) GREAT SHOW OR GREATEST SHOW?

Well… it’s funny you ask. I think that, overall, THE WALKING DEAD is a really well made show. Smart cinematography, great physical effects, talented acting. The writing? Hit and miss, in my oh so humble opinion.

When it is good, it is really good, and when it is bad, it is kind of bland. How, you might ask (were you not in the middle of another question you might already be asking) could a show about the few survivors clinging to life in a hostile world be bland?

Maybe it is due to overexposure. As the threat of death, much like the shambling Walkers, are omnipresent, it is easy to become desensitized to it all. I mean, on the one hand, maybe that is part of the point, because it allows you to begin to understand how the survivors think, how they feel. But at the same time, it feels like nothing matters.

3) BUT HOW CAN YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT–

Again, I’m going to step in and interrupt. I don’t feel too bad doing it, because you are not really asking these questions.

THE WALKING DEAD is, by and large, a character drama with flashes of extreme violence stitching the events and characters together. You could omit most of the gruesomeness and still get a fair sense of the tensions suffered by the cast.

Maybe my problem is that the gruesome sometimes feels gratuitous. (THE WALKING DEAD, it is worth mentioning, is at least less of a PTSD-inducing entertainment experience than GAME OF THRONES, which often leaves me wondering why I bother watching it. Maybe it’s just for cultural relevancy.)

4) HOW ARE YOU ENJOYING SEASON 4?

It feels a little slow. I think that, at the moment, we are near the end of the disease-surviving story arc. And thank goodness for that, because I have found it pretty dull.

The main problem with this season, and the one that preceded it, is that once the survivors holed up in the prison, it became a fight to maintain some sort of status quo rather than to actually accomplish anything.

Maintaining a status quo? I see the value in that, sure, but it does not make for particularly compelling drama. At least not to me.

Before, the group kept moving, wanted to find safety with the disease response center, wanted to find a home. That gave each action a purpose, each setback a real meaning. Trying to (and failing to) maintain a healthy living environment has been the main thrust of the first half of the season, with the active antagonist being the mysterious super flu pathogen wreaking havoc on the prison.

Two characters (that are alive at the moment, anyway) that at least make sense to me are Herschel and the elusive Governor. Herschel’s emotional journey really makes sense, and I–

5) WAIT, YOU THINK THE GOVERNOR IS GOOD AND WE ALL NOW SHUN YOU.

No, no, that’s not what I said. And hey! That was not a question! But, gracious host that I am, I will field it as if it were.

I am really interested to see where the character known (mostly) as the Governor goes. I doubt it is a particularly good direction, since he seems doomed to always make the wrong decisions. I am glad, however, that he is starting to come across as less all-crazy, but sorta-crazy and semi-understandable instead.

As is the tendency of this sort of show, I expect his character will follow the worst possible line.

6) JUST WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT SURVIVING IN THE WORLD AFTER DISASTER ANYWAY?

Probably not much. In fact, I was voted by a friend on Facebook as first to die when the zombie apocalypse hits.

I did learn to get into the mind of the undead last night, however, by undergoing a transformation. Heidi, with the power of about a half pound of cosmetics, turned me into a horror beyond some recognition.

Feel free to tell my wife how lovely she is for a zombie. I’ll try to resist the urge to force the issue when coming after your brains.

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