The Wearisome Dead

wd10The tenth season of The Walking Dead recently commenced, and I felt duty-bound to watch the first episode. As I have remarked here before, after so many seasons of The Walking Dead, it has felt something of a chore carrying on (surely season six was the last time the show was decent), but really, stopping now makes all those years/seasons seem such a waste. So grit your teeth and bear it somehow seemed to be the only course of action, seeing it through to the bitter end. An end had to come, surely.

But there was an eighth season, a ninth, and now a tenth. Still no end in sight, either, if the truth is told. I think the show runners seem to believe this thing can run forever, or at least pay for some more swimming pools, summer houses or luxury cars. There certainly seems little other point to the ordeal, and ordeal is what it has become. Even the cast look interminably bored, or perhaps they are all just distracted by thoughts of swimming pools, summer houses or luxury cars themselves.

So anyway, I dutifully found the Walking Dead folder on my Tivo, which had already recorded three episodes of season ten before I finally got around to it (that’s a certain sign of how grim it has become, when after a long break a new season begins and I’m in no rush to watch it) and off I went in some vain hope of some fresh direction, some excitement, something new.

But no. Its the same bloody show. Its like they just don’t want to save it. The same characters going through the same old motions (except Negan is a gardener now, as if that’s what the show feels is progress/development). Open with some zombie action, a training exercise that, you know, is sure to go wrong but our heroes manage to survive. Various shots of zombies getting stabbed, sliced and diced. Christ, even the zombies look bored. How many ways can you depict a walking, shambling dead guy and how many ways can you stab, slice and dice one? Its not as if anybody is ever in any danger, and at this point the whole routine has become so tiresome the thing is becoming a parody of itself.

Mind, it was probably already that a few seasons ago. The Walking Dead is a show that was creatively dead a few years back, its just become a zombie itself, a tv show way past its termination date, shambling along. Its very title has become ironic.

I feel like a zombie myself, sitting here watching it. I think all the fans still watching it are zombies at this point, watching the show from some kind of habit, loyalty or stubbornness. I’m put to thinking of that scene in George Romero’s zombie classic, Dawn of the Dead, with all the zombies in the shopping mall, and a character reflects that the zombies are repeating the actions of their old lives, when the mall was an important place in their lives. That’s us, now, watching this show.

I remember when the zombies were interesting, when they were dangerous, when there was a sense of tension when encountered. That’s long gone, now, and when that happened the show lost its heart, its pulse. The show is a zombie going through the motions and so are we, watching it.

So this first episode ends, and I go back to the Tivo and the second episode is… oh shit, that’s it. Its a flashback episode. The hell with this shit, they are still cranking out that old routine of stretching plot-lines out forever. There’s a hint, just a hint, of something happening at the end of the first episode, and then they go abandon it for a flashback, making us wait for episode three or four for anything even approaching a development.

Well, the hell with that. I’m pulling the ripcord baby, I’m out. Delete episodes two and three and cancel that series link. I’m done. I tried, God knows I tried.

2 thoughts on “The Wearisome Dead

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    Genuine question [not implied criticism]: what propelled you through the duff later seasons? Was it just habit, or were you expecting it to get better?

  2. Stubbornness, frankly. When the rot (sic) started to set in, I figured, well, I’ve been with it so far, it’d be a waste just to stop after so many years. I suppose what I’m getting at, is that there’s an investment implicit with watching these serial-arc shows, just as there was back in the days of Babylon 5. I think show-runners/networks should have some kind of responsibility (naive as it may be on my part) to have some kind of resolution, an ending if you will- even if its just a series of, say, three-year arcs that lead into a fresh three-year arc if you’re still happy to stick with it, at least give some element of closure.

    The Walking Dead just goes nowhere. The characters are all stuck in some weird limbo, nobody seems to ask whats going on in the Outside World. Maybe they could see something suspicious in the sky sometimes. A drone, possible plane… nobody from Outside ever comes into the world, there’s no radio transmissions, nothing. The show became increasingly insular and trapped in a dead-end. Occasionally there’s hints dropped and asides to other groups but its not really developed, its like some endless tease that, after ten years, feels like someone behind the show is either taking the piss or simply avoiding having to come up with any concrete statement or resolution.

    I suspect the show is a victim of its own success- a few years ago it was absolutely huge, and I suppose it was the Golden Egg and no-one wanted to spoil anything by actually changing things or reinventing anything. Perhaps it was too faithful to the comic, I don’t know as I never read it. I’m sure its still fairly solid in the ratings and sells worldwide but its a bit like the X-Files. If that show had ended after five seasons it would be far better thought of today than it is after how long that thing was dragged around..

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