The Walking Dead is a TV, show, not a film, yes it’s true. But yet here I am, reviewing it anyway. Why? Because it has to be the most disappointing thing since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystall Skull.
I mean, how could they mess this one up? It’s the sort of TV show that practically writes itself. It’s based on a monthly comic book series, which means it’s already in serial format, perfect for adaptation to the small screen. It’s got a big cast of interesting characters, numerous fascinating subplots, and action and suspense to spare. Oh, and zombies. Did I forget to mention the zombies?
So all in all, I’d have thought it’d have been pretty hard to *** that up. All they had to do was follow the damn comic and make sure they got good actors and script-writers on board to bring all the colorful characters and great drama to life.
Which is exactly what they didn’t do.
Ok, the Wlaking Dead show isn’t a complete failure. It had a near-perfect pilot, with a dark atmosphere, a few great tear-jerker scenes, and stellar acting on the part of Andrew Lincoln, playing the protagonist Rick Grimes, and Jon Bernthal, playing his cop frenemy, Shane.
And then episode 2 hit, a bunch of new characters got introduced, and (with the exception of episode 3, which was almost as good as the pilot) things only went downhill from there.
So what went wrong? The answer isn’t all that simple. Honestly, it was a bunch of things, slowly piling up. Let’s break it down, shall we?
1. the acting.
Although Shane and Rick are played by guys who know how to act, the same cannot be said for the rest of the cast. The guy they got to play Dale is the worst. If he’s not making a convoluted speech about some shit or other, he’s…actually, that’s all he does. Which brings me to
2. the script. It’s cornier than Iowa and cheesier than Vermont. Seriously, what kind of person, while attempting to escape from a zmbie-sorrounded building, takes the time to deliver a soliloquy about how even though everyone had different jobs and lives before turning into zombies now that they’re zombies they’re all the same and the boundaries of society are collapsing and the old rules don’t apply any more and some other bullsh**. Save it for AFTER the escape, dumbass. Oh, and then there’s some scene later about how the dad of these two girls used to take them fishing and for one girl he would gut the fish and for the other he would throw the fish back because he understood his daughters were different and stuff. It’s a nice anecdote, I guess, but it so scripted it’s painful. There’s a lot of scenes like this–characters break off into philosophical speeches that come out of nowhere and are so melodramatic and ridiculous that they’re guaranteed to have you struggling not to laugh. And considering that this is supposedly a horror show about zombies eating people that’s focused on existential questions like whether humans or zombies are actually more evil, inducing laughter in your audience is probably not a good thing.
3. makeup. All the women in this show wear makeup. It’s just a little detail, I know, but it sort of takes the feeling of immersion a good movie or show is supposed to give you and shoots it in the head. I mean, there’s a bunch of guys in raggedy T-shirts, drenched in sweat, with stubble all offer their face,s and then there’s one black woman with her stylish hairdos who looks like she just got off work or something. She’s the worst offender, but not the only one. Andrea, one of the two sisters I mentioned earlier, seems to fancy purple eyeliner.
I mean, I’m not a woman, so maybe I just don’t understand, but in a world where there’s an army of zombies trying to eat you and food and water are in short supply, is makeup really going to be a top priority? Honestly, it’s just sexist–apparently men get be as scruffy as they want, but even in a zombie apocalypse show, the women need to have makeup because otherwise they wouldn’t be sexy enough.
4. Things stop making any sense. The fourth episode is the worst offender here. So this is what happens. It turns out there’s a Mexican-American gang living in zombie infested Atlanta, and they get into a…um…Mexican standoff with our heroes. Except, wait, they’re actually just pretending to be a gang, they’re really a bunch of orderlies in a nursing home and not that bad after all.
A nursing home? In the middle of zombie city? So I am supposed to believe that somehow the army with its tanks and just about everyone else in the city got killed by the zombies, except for the old people who can’t run, can’t fight, and are right in the middle of where all the zombies are.
Pictured: the people most likely to survive a zombie attack, according to this lamebrained show.
And don’t get me started on the season finale. It all revolves around some old scientist who has decided that the world is a cruel hard place and a quick death is better for everyone, so he locks them all inside a place that’s about to blow up and they have to try and convince him to open the damn doors before it’s too late. But he’s only doing it for their own good, or something. Aw, that’s so sweet of him. Why the **** does he care so much? If they want to go out and get eaten by zombies, rather than blown up, what’s it to him? But somehow this ridiculousness goes on for like half an hour. They beg him to open the door before (you guessed it) Rick decides to take him on in an epic-speech-off about hope and taking the hard path and choices. Shane suggests just threatening him with a gun until he opens the door, which is a rather retarded considering that this guy is eager to die. What I’m wondering is why they didn’t just beat him until he opened the door. I suppose because torturing people is bad, even if they’re psychos who are trying to blow you up because they just what to help you.
5. Andrea. For some reason, Andrea, who is the best character in the comic book and is supposed to be like 25, is played by a forty year old woman in this show. Why? Because in the comic books and probably in the show as well she hooks up with an old man named Dale, and I suppose someone thought it would be too creepy or something if it was a 25 year old woman and an old dude, but more socially acceptable if it was a 40 year old woman and an old dude. Wait a second. Socailly acceptable? Isn’t the Walking Dead about how society’s rules begin to unravel in life-or-death situations, and how social norms are abandoned because they are trivial in the face of death? An how–ah *** it.
6. Adagio in D Minor. This is one of the epicest songs ever made, and if you’re going to use it in your movie or show or whatever, you better darn well save it for an epic scene. No, a scene in which a bunch of people drive away from their camp in some trucks in order to go visits the Center for Disease Control and prevention does not count as epic.
7. Deviations from the comic. I’m all for deviating from a source material in the service of art. But if the source material is really good to begin with, you should probably have a good reason for deviating from it. You don’t see the Game of Thrones show trying to add random bullsh** into their story just for the sake of being different, do you? The Walking Dead adds a bunch of flat, boring characters with little screen time who do little more than stand around in the background and try (and fail) to act. Characters that weren’t in the comic book at all. Why add them? I would say God only knows, but honestly I bet He’s pretty confused on this one too.