Monday, 13 December 2010

The Walking Dead: This is our extinction event

Now that The Walking Dead has finished its (surprisingly short) first season, I can try to work out whether it was actually any good. It's difficult. It's a show that frequently threatened to be rubbish and pointless, but then came up with a good scene, or a nice moment, or something genuinely different. In the fourth episode one of Rick's crew was held hostage by a bunch of gangsters in the city. Cue a pointless diversion with 'tense' standoffs between the two camps. That's how it looked, but by the end (when I was considering turning it off) these hardened gangsters turned out to be nurses protecting elderly ladies in hospital. There are good ideas here, hidden somewhere in the mess. Thankfully though, it went out on a high. Arriving at the 'Center for Disease Control and Prevention', the survivors meet the last scientist still working on a cure. He's understandably depressed, and his calm remarks about the end of the world give the whole thing weight. 'Don't you get it?' he says, 'this is our extinction event'. Everything is running out of power, including the building they're in - 'the world runs on fossil fuel, how crazy is that?' The Center is counting down to 'quarantine mode', the scientific term for a big explosion. He locks everyone into the control room and tries to convince them to stay.

Now, I've written before that the show had spread itself too thin. Too many characters, too little time to make them interesting. And that's mostly true, but here I actually wanted them to survive. This is a big difference from two episodes ago, when zombies attacked the camp and I wanted them all to get eaten. I don't know their names, but after six hours I began supporting the living. And then it ended. Why did it take so long? What happened to Morgan from the first episode, and that man that cut his hand off? Never mind. Overall, it's gone from being good to barely acceptable and back again, finally resting somewhere in the middle. I was expecting a one-off series, instead I watched what felt like half a season. With a longer second season in production, I hope it comes back with more bite (yes, that's a good pithy remark to end on, I could also have said something about 'brains' or 'guts', but 'bite' is good).


  1. I laughed at the camp attack, that woman who gets bitten just stands there screaming while gallons of blood pours out of her neck, it was very reminiscent of the old zombie movies.

  2. I agree, it started off so strong and I was genuinely very excited after the first episode(even more so being a fan of the comics...ahem, I mean graphic novels) the second didn't disappoint too but somewhere in the middle it all got a bit bogged down in dialogue that wasn't going anywhere.Cant wait till the second season though regardless!

  3. yep, it's one of those shows you want them badly to be good and to be successful, but than you aren't sure whether they were actually good or not.

    I thought the opening two episodes were amazing, with the slow story, amazing atmosphere and a lot of humane aspects of the plot. In the end those humane and profound moments were the best ones in the show: when the sheriff returns to the park to kill the legless zombie, when he finds those gangsters who are actually taking care of the old people ... Wish the whole show had more moments like those.