So it’s October and that means only one thing – it’s Anytober at Subway, where any regular Subway sub is just $5. Wait, we’re not sponsored by Subway? Fuck that then, it’s October and on AMC that means the return of the critically acclaimed series The Walking Dead, based on the tremendous Image comic series. I say critically acclaimed because most critics don’t really enjoy horror movies and for some reason they can stomach The Walking Dead and are celebrating it.
As a dyed in the wool horror fan (blood red), I’m not afraid to say that The Walking Dead on AMC is tremendously boring, not good horror, not good zombie action, and not even close to being a good adaptation. To fans of the graphic novels, what’s transpiring on the screen is bordering on being offensive.
AMC has made a lot of great television, but this ain’t it.
Right now you’re mad. You’re mad because you love this show. You love this show because you probably can’t stomach too much horror, but you like Mad Men so you gave this a chance and Wow! Cool! Zombies! Zombies are cool and they’re horror. So much more legitimate than Twilight!
Well I’m glad you’re watching horror. That’s why I still watch The Walking Dead. I want there to be lots of horror on TV because that’s awesome. Right now, it’s not great horror, but maybe this will pave the way for some. But still, I haven’t convinced you yet that The Walking Dead sucks – and I probably won’t.
I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, though.
The cardinal sin of this TV series is they abandoned the source material – and fast. The comics are tremendous. When I first discovered them there were already about 12 issues out and I devoured every single one like a zombie at a brain platter. I’ve read the bulk of them and own the rest and just haven’t gotten to them yet. They’re fantastic and heartbreaking. Really, the series almost makes you want to stop reading. There is no happy ending – ever. There is barely a happy middle ever. Bad things happen to people. Always. Most of the sacred cows have already been bled out.
The Walking Dead on TV pales in comparison. The first six issues cover basically the arc of Season One and are collected in a trade paperback entitled “Days Gone By.” The end of that arc is amazing. It’s a moment I waited all of Season One for and it never showed up. I hoped it would show up in the first episode of Season Two. I don’t know when it’s coming, if ever, and that is fucking bullshit. It’s one of the defining moments of the comic series. It’s the defining moment of the first arc, for sure.
Instead of an amazing, powerful and emotional ending like the comics, how did Season One end? With the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, activating a self-destruct sequence that blew up the entire building and sent fireballs chasing our heroes. Bullshit. Firstly, the fireballs looked like shit, secondly, while there are undoubtedly dozens of safeguards at the CDC, I guarantee you none of them involve blowing up the entire building and causing damage to the surrounding civilian population.
I’d list more problems with Season One, but it was entirely forgettable. I mean, I definitely remember the introduction of two racist redneck characters that aren’t anywhere in the books, but when you’re aiming for cheap emotion nothing hits home harder than white on black hate.
In the premiere episode of Season Two, I had a few problems – The show starts with a long, boring narration from Rick to his long lost buddy. Poorly written and poorly delivered in front of a green screen. Moving on.
Question – why do regular dead people look like zombies? I mean, they have literally the exact same make-up. Or are we to believe that regular zombies just also drop dead in different areas? Isn’t a dead zombie an oxymoron unless its brain has been removed? There is one particular corpse in this episode who is clutching a pristine set of Bear Grylls survival knives that looks exactly like one of the walking dead.
Speaking of product placement – this episode was bad. At one point our crew turns on the still working radio of a pretty Hyundai before we get an interstitial ad that says “Brought to you by Hyundai,” but that’s okay – plenty of shows these days make a big deal about cars, but The Walking Dead does it one better by making a big deal out of survival knives!
Little Carl Grimes finds the entire Bear Grylls by Gerber collection on a corpse, takes it back to the group and everyone is happy! Then everyone is given a Bear Grylls survival weapon! They then kill zombies with them or stare at them like they’re fucking awesome! That’s after everyone got to pick their own when the entire set was laid out across the hood of a car. GERBER. GERBER. BEAR GRYLLS. I wonder if they’re available in the AMC store yet? I checked Amazon and couldn’t find the complete set, but you too can own the Bear Grylls survival knife or the Bear Grylls survival hatchet or the Bear Grylls survival parang as carried by Lori!
The characters themselves are obviously retarded as well. While on watch duty, standing on top of the RV with a great view, the old man Dale lets about 100 zombies creep up on them, like right on top of them. Then, they do the only logical thing – hide under cars! Wait, what? Why would you hide under cars? Almost all of the cars are unlocked – also, there are open trucks and the RV right there. Why hide in the one place where a zombie could actually just reach out and grab you? Dumb.
Speaking of dumb, both Dale and Shane refuse to give Andrea the gun she owns and brought with her, despite Shane offering to show her how to clean it and calling it a “good piece” even though it’s “low capacity.” If you insist everyone has a weapon one moment, why not give her a gun? Why not give her her own gun? If some asshole during the Apocalypse wouldn’t give me my own gun back, I’d cut his throat that very night with my Bear Grylls Survival Parang.
Perhaps my biggest chuckle was when Lori, looking at all the dead people in their cars, says that she’s uncomfortable about looting supplies because “this feels like a graveyard.” Um, the entire fucking world is a graveyard and you’ve been living in it for like six months. You are tired, starving, dehydrated, and low on supplies – yet you feel bad taking shit out of abandoned cars? Fuck you, Lori. Fuck you.
I didn’t take note of the many instances of a character describing what was happening – like when he can’t shoot a zombie because the noise will attract other zombies or something similar. We’re not dumb, but I guess actually most of the party members are, so this might make sense that Rick has to spell most things out to these dumbasses.
All in all, I find The Walking Dead on AMC to be an emotionless exercise that is cool because zombies are on TV, but ultimately boring and repetitive. It’s truly a shame, because the comics are fantastic and deserved a literal Watchmen style adaptation. Every time I watch this series, I rage at how good the show could have been if they just stuck to the comics and go past my boiling point.