In late 2010, AMC announced a new and exciting Zombie apocalypse series called The Walking Dead. What made this one different was that it was going to be based on the popular comic / graphic novel series of the same name.
The series was initially set to be a mini-series, but more episodes and seasons were ordered. As the series progressed, it went through a slew of Producers as well as a trickling of dissatisfaction among hardcore fans because the series did not mirror the original comic story-line and characters. The heads of the show claim that the comic is only meant to be ‘source material’ for the TV series, which is why it careens off the cliff with some story arcs and character development.
Personally, I couldn’t care less about how well it tracks with the comic. I originally enjoyed the show because of the special effects and the story. However, as seasons droned on, I became more and more disenchanted with the whole experience. The story became turgid and boring, but despite an entire season of bedridden Carl I stuck it out a couple more years… And became even more disappointed.
Admittedly, the stories got a little better in seasons six and seven. There was a lot more action along with some new and interesting characters. But then I noticed there were some quality issues (addressed below) as well as some less-than-believable story elements. I know it’s a Zombie apocalypse but the human side of the story should at least be believable.
After season seven I stopped watching, having reached my breaking point. I have season eight still on the DVR, waiting for a weekend when I have drying paint so I can fast-forward through it and hopefully get some of my demands met before deciding whether to take it off the record list or start watching it weekly next season.
Let’s start with the most annoying part of the show. I’ve always had trouble watching Andrew Lincoln’s portrayal of Rick Grimes. The acting is fine, but that shitty southern accent falls apart multiple times per episode! Couldn’t AMC find an actual southerner to play that part? Hell, I’d even settle for a convincing Texan. Then we wouldn’t have to listen to an overly stereotyped accent that fades in and out… Sometimes during the same sentence!
“Kore-ull, we gots tuh steck tuh-gay-ther!” Wow. I imagine every real southerner watching this feels like it’s the Dixie equivalent of Al Jolson in blackface.
Another thing is that through seven seasons, Rick has fucked up almost every situation and ruined every place they’ve ever squatted! Poor Herschel and his farm were destroyed after Rick and his band of sycophantic followers showed up, along with other self-sufficient, functioning (or dysfunction-ing in their own way but still functioning) settlements that got ruined once this band of destroyers arrived.
Most notably is Alexandria. Not only do they show up, they put an incompetent non-southern Rick in charge! Let’s talk about that for a moment. The character has proven to be an immensely incompetent ‘leader’ since he arrived and fucked things up for Shane and Lori. Yet, despite his incompetence on grand display over several years, the group follows him with unquestioning loyalty.
I played into this bullshit for a few seasons, but season seven was it for me. Rick decides to put on his big-boy pants and act like a hard-on by taking on Negan and his vastly superior gang. Everything goes to shit, two people get their skulls crushed by a Louisville Slugger and the town gets taken over by the gang. To make things worse, the town must now provide a weekly offering to Negan and his group in exchange for not getting slaughtered. Despite the horrible conditions, his braindead band still follow him! Why? The gang should have gotten together and kacked him for their own good. Hell, put Carl in charge of t… Wait, no… Not Carl. Carl couldn’t lead the graveyard shift at Arby’s. He’s another big part of the problem.
Not only is Carl gratingly annoying, he exhibits the same degree of incompetence as his father. I was able to put up with the shenanigans at first, excusing his behavior as adolescent angst. I even continued to watch after an entire season of bed-ridden Carl showed us the sensitive and tender side of Rick and Lori as they killed Shane and destroyed Herschel’s farm.
In season six, episode nine, I thought my prayers had been answered. I know in the comic Carl loses an eye and continues to fight in the Zombie apocalypse, but since the show only half-assedly follows the comic, I held out hope we would be rid of one less horribly developed (TV-wise) character.
Nope, not gonna happen. This time they decided to follow the comic and only shoot out the eye, meaning he’ll be around for a while. I’m sure most of that time will be the spent watching the character brood over his situation. The good news is that he gets a kick-back on Walking Dead designer eye-patches!
The last couple of seasons I watched introduced a new villain, Negan. At first this was refreshing because we finally saw a competent, although psychopathic, person as a leader! Say what you will but damn if he didn’t run a tight ship and get things done!
As season six and seven went on, I started to question the whole Negan as an apocalyptic bad-ass idea. There were several situations in those two seasons where he was alone with various members of the group at Alexandria and not very well protected. The guy seems to be about 5′-8″ at best (with shoes). He’s also very slender with little to no real muscle tone. This isn’t a knock of his overall appearance. Hell, I’d like to be that svelte. But, it doesn’t match the physical characteristics you’d expect from a Zombie apocalypse alpha-male! The Ginormous Ginger could have taken him out with just a couple of swats, or Carol, or Carl, or… Wait, no… Not Carl.
When we first saw Negan, who we heard about for several episodes leading up to his final physical manifestation, he was walking around a bunch of captured fighters from Alexandria. Again, because Rick fucked up. Negan was going to pick two people to die. “YES!” I thought. Rick and Carl! PLEASE let it be Rick and Carl.
This brings me to the next bit of disappointment. Have you noticed the special effects have gotten shittier overall than they’ve been over the past seasons? Maybe it’s because the story is making some hefty demands of the special effects crew, but if you can’t pull something off, just don’t show it! Case in point… Glen’s eye popping out.
The effect itself was horrible. Personally, I laughed when he raised his head after receiving a strong blow from Negan’s bat. I thought Troma Studios made this episode because Glen sure looked a hell of alot like the Toxic Avenger! Am I right?
Speaking of Glen, Maggie has become increasingly annoying. The character, either as written or as acted, has no business being put in charge of anything. When she made the move to the Hilltop Community, the character was supposed to take charge and lead! But, just like Rick, she is uninspiring. Put someone with a personality in charge of the place, not someone that’s about as interesting as transmission fluid.
I think the blame on this one goes to the actress. Loren Cohan, a Canadian who apparently attended the same shitty southern accent training as Andrew, fails miserably to deliver in a leadership role.
Just watch any of her appearances on The Talking Dead, the stupendous turd of a follow-up show hosted by another turd. She can’t answer a question without mono-tonally stammering through it like an NPR piece. Long, drawn out patches of silence periodically broken up by non-sequitur sentence fragments cause any listener to lose interest quickly. Yawn.
After this show is over, we are then treated to an after-show that talks about the episode you just watched. This is needed for people that are unable to formulate their own opinion or talk with their own friends and express their own opinions in a social setting. We get to hear what the host, an unlikable wanna-be, thinks of the show and the performances, as well as from the writers and sometimes stars of the show that tell you all about shit you just saw ten minutes ago!
Chris Limpwick gets especially annoying as he practically soils himself when someone associated with the show decides to sit and let him stroke their ego. He nervously laughs his way through the show with embarrassing fan-boy like demeanor. Maybe he’s nervous because he knows he’s lucky AMC pays him to do a show that does nothing but talk about a show people just finished watching five minutes ago and hopes they don’t see how unnecessary it is.
One of the brightest spots on the show was Merle Dixon, Daryl’s older brother, played by Michael Rooker. I’ve always enjoyed his work. Personally I thought he was the highlight of Mallrats.
Sadly, he didn’t last long. When his character was left on an Atlanta rooftop to die, it was a sad moment. Hey, remember what it was like to have a character on the show that was so good you were sad they were killed off? Neither do I… Except for Merle.
He made an appearance at Phoenix Comicon 2014 along with other Walking Dead actors. His autograph line was constantly over 20-40 people. I felt bad for Chandler Riggs who had the autograph booth right next to his where there was no one in line.
I never like paying for photos and autographs but made an exception to have him sign an original drawing of his character. The line moved slow because he actually spent quality time with the fans! He didn’t stay behind the booth like some arrogant ass barely speaking to his subjects. He stood out front and would pick up little kids and put them on his shoulders, shake hands, and ask YOU questions. To me he embodied the perfect actor appearance at a Comicon, and I’ve been to a lot of them! An incredibly personable man that truly appreciated the fans that made an effort to see and talk to him.
Perhaps when they kill off Carl, and Rick, and maybe Maggie then I might go back to watching it but for now there’s better things on TV.