Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thoughts on The Walking Dead Episodes 1 & 2 “Days Gone By” and “Guts”

So far it must be said that AMC’s new series, “The Walking Dead” has been a bit of a disappointment for the NonModernBlog.

That is not to say that it is a bad series. Its production values, its vision, its story telling and direction have all been superb. It is just that the message, the commentary we were hoping for has not materialized. It does have a message, it is just that the message it has is nothing terribly insightful or something that we have not seen already from other stories of this sort. Given time it might get there, but so far it runs the danger of alienating both the thinking and thrill seeking audiences.

The horror fans that simply want to be grossed out have got to be disappointed in the quantity of gore. To be sure, there is more gore here than most people would like to see on TV, but for the fans of the sick-out Saw and Hostel variety of horror it is spaced out quite a lot. (Most of the rest of us can be thankful for that!)

For the thinking audience, there is so far nothing here that has not been told in other zombie stories: the collapse of society and structure—how people cope with and recreate order out of chaos—the eye-opening perspective on humanity that such a calamity provides.

There is also another huge problem brewing that could go very bad for the story, and here there be spoilers—but let’s face it, if you are reading this blog you have either seen this already or have no intention of seeing it anyway…

If the entire dramatic tension rests on the hope of our main character’s reunion with his wife and child, you would think that the wife character would be likable and we would desire that reunion. So far, she is not a character we like, mainly because she seems to have moved on just fine. One could see the relationship between her and her husband’s partner developing after he is thought to be dead, and some interesting if uncomfortable conflict is on the horizon as a result. However, it does seem as though they could be setting things up to say that she was already engaged in an affair with his best friend before the apocalypse occurred. If that is the case (and comic readers may be able to shed light on this) then we may end up liking the zombies better than her as a character.

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