As far as horror tropes go, zombie stories aren't really for me. (They're depressing, you can't really negotiate with zombies, and then there's the unfortunate possible subtext which Joss Whedon lampooned when making his Mitt Romney spot.) But londonkds
made the case for a novel earlier to me, and several people on my flist are watching The Walking Dead
. Then I found out The Walking Dead
is what Bear McCreary is composing for these days after BSG and The Sarah Connor Chronicles
are no more, and that Fank Darabont was involved, and there was this dvd, so I thought, what the hell, try it.
Result of marathoning s1: wait, that was the end of the season already? Isn't that more like a miniseries? Too short! Must find out what happens next!
Result of marathoning s2: okay, they should have stuck with the miniseries format, the first half of this draggggggggged. However, the second half didn't.
Overall: it feels a lot like a Stephen King novel - I can see why Darabont (a frequent King chum ever since The Shawshank Redemption
) felt drawn to it. (Note: have a look at the comics this is based on.) Though in a Stephen King novel, the group of survivors would also contain a) a teacher (with or without an alcohol problem, though more likely with one), and b) a religious fanatic who cracks under end-of-the-world stress and starts killing group members. (I say this with much affection for the writings of Mr. King; it's just that he has his patterns.) I do like the "how to retain our humanity in vicious surroundings" theme going through both seasons, and that there are no easy answers to it, and something that's inevitable when you do a zombie story - what happens when a member of the group transforms - is treated with the emotional weight it deseves in both seasons. On the downside, it's glaringly obvious that the one character who doesn't get fleshed out, form narratively important relationships to other group members, and who has hardly any lines is the black one, T-Dog, which unfortunately makes me suspect he's only around because setting a story in the American South without any
black character (other than some of the zombies, or as they are called here, walkers) would stretch the suspension of belief to breaking point. (Say what you will about Lost
, but its first season gave us a clear idea of who Michael was, his past, his goals, etc. After two seasons, I still couldn't tell you anything about T-Dog.) Also, despite my fondness for the survival-of-the-fittest-versus-ethics theme, I wish they hadn't made Dale the primary voice of the later, because it's either the actor or the writing or both, but mannerisms and voice and attitude are grating (to me).
Genuinenly intriguing storytelling choice: usually the main character - who in this ensemble would be Rick Grimes - gets the flashbacks, but in this show, all the flashbacks belong to Shane. (In the first two seasons anyway.) Now partly this is because Our Hero spent a lot of the time available for flashbacks in a coma, but still, it contributes to the impression that Shane is the most carefully developed character in the first two seasons.
It's anything but news, but really: even after the zombie apocalypse, female survivors will be thin (and not for lack of food) and have carefully shampooned hair. I am starting to despair of the existence of any
normal-weight actresses left on American tv who are allowed to look situation-appropriate unglamorous. (Carol with her short hair is something of an exception at least in the coiffure department.) Am depressingly reminded of an article legionseagle
linked a while ago where Romola Garai has withering things to say about the Hollywood weight terror for actresses
Speaking of looks: the Breaking Bad
fan in me wants to know when the "man shaves his hair to signal moral ambiguity quickly going to the darker sides of grey" trend started.
At a guess, Daryl looks primed to be a fandom favourite. As a cross between Firefly
's Jayne and Rome
's Titus Pullo, with a dash of Lost
's Sawyer, he would be. A quick look at the fanfic section tells me he gets paired with Glenn a lot, which I find baffling - did they ever share a scene (in the sense of speaking to each other? Maybe that happens in s3? - until remembering such mundane things like interactions and actual relationships aren't necessary anymore for fanfic to thrive.
Lastly: the show has set itself the same type of problem early Lost
did by including child characters, to wit: your show takes place within a couple of days, weeks at most, per season, but your child actors are obviously growing up. This is not a problem when a season equates a year (as it did on DS9, where Jake Sisko became the tallest member of the ensemble literary before our eyes), but it is when a season, as mentioned, equates only a few weeks.
I've been driven to checking out tumblr more in my quest for new M fic, and lo and behold, there was a short but delightful one, which also caters to a theory I have expressed about Eve and her goals in my Skyfall
review: M is for...
Also, yet another adorable backstage picture from the shooting of Skyfall
(am utterly unsurprised that Daniel Craig off camera wore something warmer than a suit, it must have been freezing cold in London Below):