A song to listen to while reading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOFCQ2bfmHw
There’s no two ways about it. I am, to the point of it bordering on creepy, a fan of zombies. I own all six of George A. Romero’s “… of the Dead” films, the 2004 Zack Snyder Dawn of the Dead remake, Shaun of the Dead, Zombies of War, Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set, both of Max Brooks’ books, at least 3 Resident Evil games, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, even the complete Marvel Zombies comic story. So what does this tell us? Well, two things. Firstly that I think I might have solved the mystery of why girls won’t talk to me. And second that I’m likely to be saying some rather nice things about The Walking Dead (FX).
So I own both the comic series and the DVDs of seasons 1 and 2, and don’t worry if you don’t own both, because you don’t necessarily need one to understand the other. But whichever one you have, you have to say it isn’t a particularly innovative premise. Man wakes up from coma, wanders round aimlessly for a bit because everyone’s disappeared and then OH FUCK! ZOMBIES! Where have we seen this happen before apart from in every single zombie film ever made? Luckily Rick Grimes, our hero, stumbles across a group of survivors which, in the most outrageous show of good fortune since Jeremy Hunt’s experience in the latest cabinet reshuffle, conatins his wife and son. Cue two seasons of bitching, fighting, back-stabbing (sometimes literally) and occasionally wailing on a few zombies until the episode ends with a cliff-hanger so deliciously enticing you just have to go find the next episode on the internet (legally, of course, for any reading policemen).
Don’t think I’m getting too emotionally attached to this show, by the way. There are some things about The Walking Dead that are incredibly shit. Carl Grimes, for example, spent the first two seasons being a whiny little man-bitch, which seems to have stopped in season 3 but he’s got to hit puberty sometime, right? And that’s not even getting me started on two of the female members of the group, Lori and Andrea. Two people so insanely unlikeable that you start to root for the zombies (or at least some form of wasting disease). Not that I have anything against the actresses. I’ve seen them in other things and they’re very good at what they do, but they’re just playing such unsympathetic characters that you sort of want them to be killed off. Note to the writers: I know this is pretty much just a soap opera set in the apocalypse, but come on. You’d have thought seeing the world end would give these two a little perspective.
Also, the episodes seem to be a bit too inconsistent for my liking. They start well, sag a bit in the middle, and then end fantastically (in turn drawing many parallels with, say, this article). But I don’t think we can be too harsh on them for it. They make incredibly good stuff, after all.The only other problem I can think of is that the first half of season 2 dragged on longer than an unabridged version of Hamlet being performed by the members of Take That. I understand that they spent that time searching for a missing member of their party, but come on, guys. You could easily have shortened that whole thing to, like, two episodes and not lost anything from it. And it would have left more time for watching Darryl shoot a member of the living dead in the eye with a crossbow. And who doesn’t want to see that?
Having said that, though, season 3’s looking pretty fucking brutal at the moment. It’s easily good enough already for me to forgive all of season 2’s sins, and David Morrissey’s new bad guy The Governor hasn’t even shown up yet. If you haven’t seen it yet then minimise this, go watch it, and then come back. Seriously, go. I’ll wait. Welcome back! Great, isn’t it?
The effects are also some of the best I’ve seen. Although you’d kind of expect that, given how much time they spend on make-up. I don’t know how much longer it’s out for, but here in the UK there’s an issue of SFX magazine completely dedicated to the show, which has loads of information about every aspect of the show. In fact, it’s probably the most comprehensive guide you could expect to see on just about anything.
Yes, The Walking Dead seems to be everything you could possibly want in a TV show. There’s drama, comedy, suspense, action, romance and a fuck-load of dead people. It caters for everyone’s tastes. And if your friend or your significant other isn’t a fan then pity them. Pity them because they’re missing out on one of the best shows currently on television, if not the best (although I think Breaking Bad and Curb Your Enthusiasm might beg to differ). So if you’re ever in a zombie apocalypse, just remember: aim for the head, keep a copy of The Walking Dead with you, and for god’s sake keep Carl in the fucking house!