TV Show of the Month: The Walking Dead (2010)
I watched the first season in one ridiculous six-hour marathon just five days ago. And...meh.
This show has no focus. A bunch of people surviving works as a movie, but as a TV show, one large goal would be nice (getting to the ADA wasn't even discussed early on). It's a bunch of things happening with nothing going on in the way of story...even the best parts - and there were a lot of them - didn't feel like they were part of anything.
The worst offenses were the times that they killed off two "major" characters who mostly existed to have facial reactions to things and nothing else, and they tried to shoehorn all this meaning into their deaths. Jim gets creepy in one episode after having no personality previously, and when he gets bit and left behind in the next episode, there's a long line of characters saying goodbye to someone the viewers have barely met.
The far worse one, though, was how they handled Jacqui. At the end of the season, she says she's staying in the facility that's about to blow up because it's better than becoming a zombie. Andrea, despondent over her sister's death, agrees to this. Suddenly Carl gets involved, saying it's not fair for someone to come into someone else's life, then give up. He sits, saying he won't move until Andrea leaves.
The play works on Andrea. She leaves with Carl. Meanwhile, Jacqui stays there. Why didn't the move work on her? Worse still, why didn't Carl give a shit enough about Jacqui to wait for her to leave as well? Hell, Andrea had just lost a sibling and it would make more sense for her to give up. Jacqui didn't even have a personality at any point, so apparently the show considered her expendable.
This show didn't have a writing team, and it shows. Episode outlines were used by freelancers who didn't even know one another. There's no continuity to the tone or to the characters from show to show.
Worst of all (and I keep saying this), a couple of the most interesting storylines are abandoned. For instance, in the first episode, the lead character learns the ropes from a man and his son who have survived thus far. The matriarch of the family is outside their house occasionally, wandering, looking for the living. The man wants to put her out of her misery but can't. This guy is interesting and portrayed by one of the best actors in the series, but he doesn't return. He's mentioned, though, so maybe he'll be back.
So, the writing has flaws with flashes of brilliance, and the acting is mostly not that great. Meanwhile, the effects and cinematography are superb, and the show unfortunately convinces me, like a director who keeps making beautiful but lifeless movies, to keep watching until it's awesome.
The second season started last night. Argh...I'll probably watch it.
What have you seen?