I think I'm going to call time on regular reviews of AMC's The Walking Dead. It gets phenomenal ratings and has a passionate fanbase, but I find it too much of a drag. There are enough exciting moments to keep me watching as a casual viewer, but there's also a staggering amount of mindless chit-chat between characters I don't care about. Sometimes I find myself realizing we're halfway through an episode, and yet I could recap what's actually happened in a sentence. Maybe the show has to be this way because the budget can't stretch to the kind of rollicking zombie apocalypse drama I really want, or maybe the writers are under the unfortunate delusion their characters are so brilliant we enjoy listening to them have the same handful of conversations time and again, I don't know...
But it's the kind of show that introduces an awesome new character, played by the brilliant Michael Raymond-James (True Blood, Terriers), gets him to dominate a brilliant scene in an abandoned bar, but then just kills him off. I'd have swapped the enigmatic "Dave" for most of the regulars. And where is this show going? Now we're hearing that the premiere's goal of getting the survivors to Fort Benning isn't a good idea, because the base has been overrun by zombies (I really hate how the show avoids using that term now), so will they just aimlessly point their convoy at some other horizon?
It doesn't help that the two-month hiatus has sucked momentum from the show's story, of course, but deeper than that I just don't think The Walking Dead is a very good show. The things I like about it are just the things I like about any zombie apocalypse story, and the unique things about it haven't really impressed me. Remember when the very idea of a serialised zombie epic on TV was enough to cause excitement? I think this show demonstrates why zombie stories work best as movies/books, and it's a pity the writers weren't brave enough to create more characters who are specific to this show (like Daryl) instead of sticking to the comic's bunch of sketchy idiots.
(On the upside, I think I must be the only person in the world who doesn't care about Andrew Lincoln's supposedly shaky Southern accent.)
I'll keep watching this series for entertainment-value, and if there's a particularly successful episode I'll do a quick review of it, but consider The Walking Dead erased from my weekly review list.
written by Evan Reilly / directed by Clark Johnson / 12 February 2012 / AMC