Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Surprising Dead

I've been less and less interested in The Walking Dead since last season's "awkward" finale. It was an interesting choice to go to the CDC... but it would have been a far more interesting one to stay there (at least for a little while). It's odd because this is AMC's highest viewed show and yet it doesn't even remotely compare to Mad Men or Breaking Bad (in my opinion the top two dramas on TV). There's just something missing in these latest episodes. It may be compelling characters. It may be lack of drive (ie. no direction or end game in sight). Sure they want the show to last a while, but why should anybody care if the story's no good? Television has been plagued with this mistake for decades. Just because a show has viewers doesn't mean it should be forced to stretch its story beyond a recognizably proper climax.

This is how I've been feeling since last year. And the first two episodes didn't help. In fact, I was just about to give up on the series all together when something interesting happened. This most recent episode... it wasn't "perfect", I'm not gonna say "perfect". It had almost as many flaws as the last two. But somehow, someway, they saved it. There was a key decision that one character made at the end of this episode that shifted my view of the show just enough to keep me watching (for the next three weeks anyway).

Now I'm not a fan of the missing girl. She should already be dead and they honestly should have given up the search by now. And the little boy, he should be dead as well. The fact that they happened to run into a vet at the perfect moment of need... well I guess I shouldn't be arguing against coincidence, but it feels cheap. And then this magical moment of desperation. An attempt to find drugs that may save someone else's life gone horribly wrong. A new character (that we don't really care about),Otis, proving to be a genuinely nice fellow running with Shane, a character that we're supposed to care about (and for what it's worth I kind of like him more than most of the other leads). They get overrun and somehow, desperation actually takes effect. One character makes a massive and dark decision.

Like I said, the show has flip-flopped around looking for direction and losing it. But there was a small spark of magic that makes me think The Walking Dead could make me feel this way again. We'll see. Only time will tell.
But the loss of Frank Darabont as show runner still leaves me wisely cautious.

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