- WEEKLY TV PICKS
Saturday, 8 December 2012
THE WALKING DEAD's third season: mid-year report
"Seed" (***), "Sick" (**½), "Walk with Me" (**½), "Killer Within" (***½), "Say the Word" (**½), "Hounded" (**½), "When the Dead Come Knocking" (***) & "Made to Suffer" (***½)
Long-term readers will know I ragged on The Walking Dead during its first season, when everyone else was going nuts over it. I then enjoyed the first batch of season 2 episodes, so cut it some slack, before that season became a horrendous bore until the last few course-correcting hours. I tend to veer between love and hate with this show, but season 3's now halfway through a 16-episode run, on winter hiatus until February, and a few people have been asking for my opinion... so, I'll oblige...
Is it perfect? No. I still struggle to find most of the regular characters all that interesting, but they're improving over time. Daryl (Norman Reedus) has charisma to burn, Glen (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) being tortured by Merle endeared them to me, Rick's more nuanced, Hershel (Scott Wilson) is very likeable, and the two prisoners who've been added have potential, although it's horribly embarrassing that one's so blatantly a straight replacement for T-Dog. Did someone just hate IronE Singleton as an actor?
Although this sometimes doesn't help various characters—like Michonne, who was hyped considerably before the season began by comic-book fans, but who isn't anything more than a stare with swords. But you can't get bored now, which is what was happening halfway through every previous season, so that's a huge relief and improvement. I've also really liked the way this season's dealt with opposing forces and their ideals: best exemplified with siblings Daryl and Merle, erstwhile companions Andrea and Michonne, and leaders Rick and The Governor.
The Walking Dead still isn't something I think has enough depth to warrant weekly reviews, but it's definitely a more entertaining show now than at any other point in its history. I just hope that once this storyline's exhausted, there's a place for the plot to go... because my bigger concerns is that The Walking Dead will go stale if every season's about the group finding impermanent sanctuaries (laboratory, farm, prison, town). However, it would be ridiculous to claim this third season hasn't been an amazing improvement, and easily the most confident and entertaining year yet. No wonder just under 11 million are tuning in every week in the US, which is phenomenal numbers for a cable network that would be content with 2 million.