Aborting The Walking Dead: World Beyond

beyondI can’t believe this is even a thing, really, but in hindsight maybe something like this was inevitable. I do find myself missing the days when zombies used to be scary and possibly threatening, but it seems AMC’s long-running pursuit of neutering the undead menace is now complete: we’ve now got a Walking Dead show with teen heroes. Let that sink in a moment. A teen Walking Dead show. 

Which I suppose makes it unsurprising that having tried watching this show (and to be fair, I gave it two episodes when thirty minutes of the first made it clear enough), I’ve hit that ‘abort’ button. This show is frankly abominable: badly acted, terribly scripted and directed, a clusterfuck, to be honest, pardon my language.  

It seems to be an attempt, and a rather late one, too, considering that the original show is approaching its eleventh (and apparently final) season, and that its first spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead (how ironic a title is that?) is into its own sixth season, to really establish some kind of endless franchise of The Walking Dead (we’re getting threatened with movies, too). 

beyond2The characters are one-dimensional, the acting is dire, the premise hysterically non-sensical. Our four teen heroes set off on an odyssey/vacation holiday across zombie-infested wilderness to rescue a father from some (suspected, mind) awful Evil Empire whose representatives are dressed in black (hmm, yes, suspicious), armed with rifles and fly around in helicopters. I mean, four teens, what chance will that Evil Empire have? The zombie menace being no menace at all, I couldn’t believe my eyes when at one point our heroes rest for the night in a Treehouse and the biggest mystery was proving not how they will survive the zombies but what are they eating, who’s doing the cooking and have they got any toilet rolls. More importantly, what’s with the lad persistently taking photos with an old film camera? I mean, a film camera? Where does he send the rolls to be developed, is Jessops or Bonusprint even a thing in the Zombie Apocalypse? And how many batteries does the lad with the Walkman have in his rucksack? Is that Walkman thing even playing music? No, I get it: the camera isn’t really taking any pictures and that Walkman isn’t really playing music. Tres Surprise in episode six.

No, that’s it. I’m out. Bad enough one of the kids looks like he’s auditioning to be the next Dr Who. Yeah, a teen Dr Who and the resultant decline of Western Civilization looks pretty inevitable at this point.

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.

Black Summer- Season One (2019)

blacksummrBlack Summer is a prequel/spin-off from Z Nation, a zombie horror series I’m not familiar with which airs on the SyFy channel (in the States, I presume, although it’s available here on Netflix?). At any rate, after suffering through another season of The Walking Dead, this thing is a breath of fresh (albeit decaying) air. Where The Walking Dead spreads interminably slow storylines over sixteen-episode seasons which are themselves split in two chunks of eight, Black Summer is just eight episodes and the whole thing lasts less than five hours- most episodes last under 40 minutes and the last two just 25 and 20 minutes. This brisk running time keeps the pace up and noticeably serves the story- the finale has every reason to be just 20 minutes long, and isn’t saddled with 20 minutes of padding for the sake of maintaining the traditional run-time (most of the time it seems entire episodes of The Walking Dead are padding just to maintain the sixteen-episode format of each season).

But enough about The Walking Dead– that show is made utterly irrelevant having watched Black Summer. This thing is like some high-octane zombie horror that maybe John Carpenter might have fashioned in the early ‘eighties. Set some six weeks into a zombie apocalypse in which the world is teetering on collapse, its as desperate and scary and tense as you could hope as chaos reigns and civilization disintegrates. To strain one last comparison, it’s the End of the World to The Walking Dead‘s soap opera of surviving the Apocalypse and bringing America back.

We are thrown right into the nightmare without any character backgrounds or introductions. There doesn’t seem to be any right or wrong as long as you survive another day, and the threats are as much other desperate humans as the wildly rabid-like undead. Everything is stripped back to the tense life-or-death moments of fight or flight or the confusion of who can be trusted. Its a little like a zombie Game of Thrones, funnily enough, in which every decision has consequences and any character can suffer a sudden death out of nowhere.

There’s just sufficient character moments -and the cast are all pretty much great- to ensure that we care what happens. Even the utterly incompetent Lance (Kelsey Flower) who at one point tries to pretend the apocalypse isn’t happening by burying himself in a random book while the sounds of death draws near, and seems to stumble from crisis to crisis in spite of himself doing everything to get himself killed, fosters some grudging empathy. He often seems to be a waste of air but I’m often reminded that there is a strange reality to his ineptitude, he’s some kind of Everyman offering the reality of what we would be like in the apocalypse. While we’d like to pretend we’d be more like Spears (Justin Chu Cary) or Rose (Jaime King) in the blind horror moments, we really know we’d be rabbits in the headlights like Lance.

This a great show and its format is perfect for Netflix- it’s an easy binge watch over a weekend and I hope it proves to be successful enough to warrant another season.

Bird Box (2018)

bird1Netflix ends the year on something of a high, as this apocalyptic thriller is pretty solid stuff. Bird Box is based on a 2014 novel I have never heard of, and follows a reluctantly pregnant woman, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) on a journey to salvation over a five-year period during what is essentially the End of the World. Alongside Bullock, the film contains a pretty heavyweight cast (Trevante Rhodes, Tom Hollander, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich) with a fairly high-profile director, Susanne Bier at the helm. I appreciate Netflix Originals might always have a hard time escaping a stigma of ‘straight-to-video’ and ‘tv movie’, but projects like this really should help break that. Besides, it also suggests that movies like this, which aren’t necessarily box-office gold by any means, can yet get made in a cinema environment dominated by noisy blockbuster franchise stuff- indeed, I think some mixed reviews of this generally stems from people expecting it to be something it isn’t (i.e. a huge ‘event’ horror blockbuster). Its really a character-based thriller rather than the graphic apocalyptic horror some might expect- although, that said, the early scenes of society crashing down are pretty graphic and convincing.

The talent involved both in front and behind the camera certainly suggests that Netflix might be onto something, and that perhaps something genuinely great might be in the offing someday. Bullock is very good in this film, with an interesting character arc and an involving performance, clearly taking the project very seriously.

Very often I was watching this wishing that The Walking Dead series (by now having descended into self-parody) had taken this route- I always like the dramatic tension of taking desperate characters and putting them in an enclosed space with a very real external threat. In The Walking Dead, the outside threat of the zombies has become almost a routine turkey shoot, we don’t feel the threat or smell the decay or the fear of, well, the walking dead overcoming everything. At least in Bird Box the apocalypse is horrible and scary, and wisely doesn’t explain everything. There is an awkward moment when one of the characters expresses what he thinks the unseen monster/s are and explains he did his research on the internet, but on the whole the film manages everything superbly well. I like the threat being unseen and unknown and largely unexplained- its the physical and mental results of that threat that drives things forward and I think leaving it unexplained helps. It could be demons, it could be aliens, in the end, it doesn’t matter.

 

What I’m watching…

Whilst my blog entries have been curtailed somewhat for the past week or so due to all sorts of nonsense getting in the way (work being the usual offender, but not the only one) I thought I’d pop back for a quick update on what I have been watching.

So, I just finished watching season four of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, having binged on all of the fours seasons available on Netflix here in the UK over the past, what, two months? Its a brilliant show, that rarest of things, a sit-com that is actually funny, and for awhile at least it filled the gap left by the ending of The Middle earlier this year. Anyway, that led to following series lead Andy Samberg to a film on Netflix, a comedy/mock-documentary Popstar: Never Stop Stopping and a stand-up comedy special featuring another star of Brooklyn, Chelsea Peretti (who also had a spot in that Popstar movie). Its funny how one thing leads to another on Netflix, its as if they don’t want you to lift your eyes away from their channel for a moment.

Anyway, staying on Netflix (as if I had a choice, its as if there’s a Death Star Tractor Beam fastened onto me and my ass isn’t as fast as the Falcon) I’ve been watching another two tv shows- Star Trek: Discovery and Mindhunter. I’m at the mid-point with both now. I’m not sure where I lie with regards Discovery… its okay but, like the Star Trek movie reboots and their Kelvin timeline, I’m not entirely surely it really qualifies as Star Trek. I’m sure its supposed to be Star Trek, but it really feels like something else transposed to the franchise, you know, like getting the scripts for Babylon 5 and twisting it into, oh, Deep Space Nine… wait-

Ahem, well, we won’t raise that scandalous geek conspiracy for any more discussion- anyway, after a ropy start I’ve stuck with it and am enjoying it in a sort of ‘big-budget sci-fi show that isn’t really Star Trek’ sort of way.  Its okay, but hardly anything to really get excited and obsessed about.

Mindhunter, on the other hand, is absolutely brilliant, and not accidentally like a ten-hour expanded cut of David Fincher’s Zodiac movie- indeed, in a way its almost a dedicated prequel, but you know, one of those rare things, a prequel that actually works. Its brilliantly shot and beautifully paced, the cast are excellent (and we get to see Anna Torv again, its been too long since Fringe wowed me- now there was a show to get obsessed about).  Its a pretty much flawless so far and I really should be watching the next episode rather than writing this post.

Other Netflix stuff that has been bewitching me is The Good Place trying to fill the gap left by Brooklyn, and The Haunting of Hell House that I have reluctantly held off due to Mindhunter taking over everything. Its something of a quandary- do you watch several shows at once, alternating between episodes or just binge one show at a time? I opt for the latter, if only because it saves me getting confused trying to keep up with multiple plot threads.

Getting away from Netflix and onto the the disc front, Indicator’s Night of the Demon arrived a few days ago, and I have several 4K discs coming next week, all being well- the Matrix films, the Sicario sequel, a low-key arthouse film from Kubrick that got the future all wrong (can’t believe I just typed that) and a John Carpenter flick about strange sunglasses. So plenty to be getting on with if I can get away from that Netflix button on the tv remote.

Oh, and somehow against all sense and reason I’ve been struggling with season nine of The Walking Dead having swore off it last season, and yes, I’m regretting every painful minute of it. Mind, seeing an habitually-cowardly priest who is now one-eyed and refuses to drop his dog-collar whilst banging the scrap-lady and posing with a machete as if he knows how to use it probably rates as the biggest script-writing WTF of the year, frankly. I just can’t see me surviving this show to its mid-season break, but break-ups are so hard after so many years….

So anyway, excuse me now, I really must go and watch another episode of Mindhunter.

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

pride1This one’s a curio. This mash-up of genres gets caught somewhere in-between really; too irreverent to be a genuine period costume genre and too light to be a genuine zombie horror movie. Fans of Jane Austen likely feel it isn’t being sincere enough and fans of zombie flicks likely feel it isn’t gory or scary enough. Maybe that’s inevitable with mixing genre’s like this but I can imagine cinema-goers looking for a zombie horror would have been left bored and frustrated by the romantic costume drama and the Jane Austen fans would be horrified by the zombie stuff, leaving no-one particularly satisfied.

Based on a book by Seth Grahame-Smith, I would imagine the film’s problems are inherent in the source material – as Jane Austen is public domain I suppose it seemed a neat idea to use her material and sprinkle zombie thrills into it for sardonic wit. Perhaps it works better on the page, or is the idea itself simply better than the execution? In any case, I think the film-makers should have perhaps used the book as a springboard and then made it truly cinematic by making it a ‘real’ horror movie rather than the action-comedy that it actually is (I did think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at times, it has that knowing, slightly irreverent tone).

But maybe that is the point. Zombies are daft- at least George Romero knew to not take them too seriously, and rather use them for some social commentary.  Yes our culture does seem to have an unhealthy continuing fascination with zombie horrors, as evidenced by many movies and of course the long slow lingering death-crawl of The Walking Dead. But even when filmmakers take them seriously, its all clearly becoming something of a self-parody, so maybe Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is on the right track after all, and horror fans are wrong to be expecting any scares; the scares are all done.

Yet it is rather fun though, and I quite enjoyed it. The action scenes are well-staged and the gore pretty convincing, and of course the period costume drama is well-staged. Matt Smith in particular demonstrates a gift for comedy. For all its failings as a horror film, it at least injects some freshness to the awfully tired zombie genre. What I also found interesting was its alternate-history, using a period setting and giving it a genre spin.  Whatever next, zombies of Christmas Past in A Christmas CarolGreat Expectations and Zombies? 

Even better- War of the Worlds staged as the period drama that HG Wells wrote. Only when the Martian ships land they open up and hordes of martian zombies crawl out. I can see the tagline already : They don’t want our planet, only our brains.

 

The Terminally Walking Dead

wd8The Walking Dead – Season 8

Well, that’s an hour of my life that I’m not getting back. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s a whole 15-16 hours of what was Season 8 that I’m not getting back.

Whatever happened to The Walking Dead? I can remember back when it was great, each episode eagerly awaited and discussed at work with the guys afterwards. Having never read the comics, the show seemed full of surprises and capable of genuine shocks with various members of the cast getting the bullet (or bite).

Those days seem long gone now. I’ve stubbornly watched (endured, a more apt description) the last two seasons out of some mix of loyalty and curiosity- having invested several years watching it, it seems pointless/stupid to give up on it and not know where it goes/how it ends. It feels like I’m that guy in Godfather Pt 3… ” Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” But at this point I really have to wonder if I’m out for good, and the way the viewing figures for the show is going, it would seem I’m not alone. Loyalty and curiosity only goes so far, and maybe nine seasons of turgid mild horrors (and that’s just the last-minute twists and the truly cringe-inducing dialogue)  is more than enough.

There have always been pacing issues with The Walking Dead but the show has done so many WTF about-turns with character behavior and turgid storylines and plot-holes that it’s impossible to take it seriously anymore, it’s just becoming a self-parody. Its an awful, bloated, self-important mess with so many confusing, convoluted WTF moments that I’ve lost track. Case in point, this season eight finale revelation of where Eugene’s true loyalty lies which is so out of left-field and contrary to everything seen over the last two interminable seasons  I just cannot fathom out what the script guys were thinking. Indeed, in an effort to surprise and possibly shock they’ve thrown out any semblance of credibility and continuity. A few episodes ago Rick is killing bad guys who have surrendered to him and here he’s offering amnesty to a bunch that were all ready to wipe out Rick and his freinds in a bloody cold-murder trap just a few moments earlier.  Its bullshit, that’s what it is. This show has truly jumped the shark.

And Maggie has been pregnant for two seasons (possibly actually three, I can’t remember) and still isn’t even showing a bulge yet? WTF?

Outlander Season Three

out3One of the odd things about watching Outlander is that it’s one of those shows which no-one else in my social circle is watching. Which is weird, considering how ‘big’ a cultural event the series is worldwide and how popular the books are. No doubt much of the cause of this is the fragmented state of television distribution these days, and this being on Amazon Prime over here. I can only imagine what it would be like in the old days when something like this might have aired on a major terrestrial broadcaster like the BBC. Its surely what they call ‘watercooler television’, but I have to wonder how much of a thing that even is these days, with some shows isolated by their distribution in certain territories

So it often feels like I watch Outlander in a total vacuum. Imagine watching Game of Thrones and knowing no-else who was watching it. No rumours to discuss, revelations to marvel at, no spoilers to avoid from those who have already seen episodes or read the source books. Even just the experience of being outside the fanbase. I’m well aware that Outlander is very popular, but all of that seems to be outside of my cultural ‘bubble’. I feel so feel remote from it, a benefit is that avoiding spoilers is the easiest thing in the world, but a negative is that I suspect I’m missing out on some of the fun. And who doesn’t like sharing their favourite shows?

So here we have season three of Outlander, and yes, it is very good and well worth watching, in some ways a contender to Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and other popular juggernauts of the tv landscape. It is extremely well made, with a great cast and very good scripts. I gather it follows the books rather closely, and each season, while following an overall arc, does seem pleasantly self-contained with satisfying conclusions to the interior minor arcs of each season. Also there is a fairly distinct difference between seasons which makes the show fresh and interesting- Season 2 went to France and Season three goes on the high seas with nautical episodes, eventually winding up in the West Indies. Again, this is no doubt from following the books and the books themselves taking the lead in moving plot and setting forward (twenty years have occured between the start of season one and the end of season three- compare that to the lack of progression that hurts The Walking Dead over, what, eight seasons now?).

It also is blessed with a musical score by Bear McCreary that clearly demonstrates how much Game of Thrones is sorely lacking musically. Its big. lyrical, emotional, and perhaps while not as astounding as his BSG work remains one of the highlights of his career and for television scoring in general. Many movies (particularly the Marvel ones) could benefit from scoring like this. Outlander has a musical identity that is unique to itself and the soundtrack releases are well worth checking out.

All Aboard the Zombie Train

train12013.34: Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan is a thoroughly entertaining Zombie movie- it can’t be said that it really offers anything new to this post-Dawn of the Dead/28 Days Later/World War Z genre, but what it does deliver, it delivers well, with plenty of thrills, gore and spills. What else could you possibly want from a Zombie movie?

It’s curious, considering how the tv Zombie juggernaut The Walking Dead seemed to be suffering from such lethargy and tiredness with its most recent season, that this film still manages to be such a fresh, kinetic experience. WTD aside, it’s not as if we never see Zombie films etc these days- they are pretty much everywhere and yet this film feels so original and entertaining. Certainly the backroom staff of TWD would do well to see this film and heed its lessons- namely, maintain pace and maintain the threat: it’s the end of the world after all. The tv show seems more concerned with fellow humans being the real danger and the zombies just background noise- almost becoming incidental to the show, an occasional diversion for a little gore and action when the daily politics of survival become tiresome. It is almost becoming boring.

Train to Busan is not at all boring. An outbreak from a pharmaceutical lab or chemical factory (I may have missed details, it seemed vague, but no doubt it will be clearer on a second viewing) is getting out of hand and threatens South Korea with a Zombie Apocalypse. It’s almost as if this was some Far-East spin-off  from the World War Z movie from a few years back, which strikes me as being a pretty neat idea, letting film-makers from around the world write and shoot movies telling what happened in their locales during WWZ.  Could have been a very interesting and enjoyable franchise.

Anyway, it’s the dawn of a Zombie Apocalypse and an infected human gets onboard a train just as it begins its long journey. Instantly this train journey becomes a microcosm of what is happening out in the big wide world- a varied cast representing various age groups and areas of society, trapped in the restricted space of the train carriages as the zombie infestation takes hold and the brain-hungry critters work their way through the train. It rather reminded me of the great Snowpiercer; in some ways this is that films horror cousin. There are some great set-pieces and the film surprises, given its fine sense of claustrophobia, how it opens up the sense of scale at times, particularly near the end.

It’s good fun, and there is such a lot to enjoy. The acting, the twists and turns of the witty script, the make-up, editing and visual effects. Brilliant stuff, the only negative about the whole thing is I worry about the eventual Hollywood remake being announced someday- it seems almost inevitable, sadly. Starring the Rock, no doubt.

 

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

clov12016.59: 10 Cloverfield Lane (Amazon VOD)

10 Cloverfield Lane is a very effective thriller, with a taut script and an excellent cast. As its title suggests, it is loosely connected to the original monster movie Cloverfield (just how loosely I won’t go into). Thankfully however this film drops the found-footage stuff and is a wholly more traditional film, and much the better for it.

It also boasts an absolutely wonderful score by Bear McCreary. There is a lot of the feeling of The Twilight Zone watching this film, and much of it stems from McCreary’s Herrmann-esque, evocative score. It immediately places us into a particular sense of mood and place, of a 1950s, 1960s tonal quality, quite non-contemporary. It’s so refreshing to watch a modern film that isn’t saddled with a Hans Zimmer-like score, and it is interesting that this is from McCreary, one of the most exciting talents in television scoring over the past ten years (Battlestar Galactica, Da Vinci’s Demons, The Walking Dead, Outlander etc.).

So anyway, this review is old-hat for many since it’s months since the films theatrical release, so I guess spoilers are ok. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is literally driving away from some unspecified relationship woes when she is run of the road in an accident. She awakens in a strange, spartan room – an IV attached to her arm and a brace on her knee that is, alarmingly, chained to the wall. She’s greeted by her captor, a man named Howard (John Goodman), who claims he’s saved her life. He tells her there has been an apocalyptic event, and that he has brought her to his survival bunker. Immediately there is something ‘off’ about Howard. He describes the event on the surface as an attack; maybe by the Russians, but casually also suggesting it was maybe by the Martians. At any rate, the surface has been rendered uninhabitable, and Howard, MIchelle and his other guest, Emmett (John Gallagher) have no choice but to wait it out – maybe a year or two.

As time passes, Michelle begins to doubt Howard’s version of events, but various things seem to corroborate it- Emmett himself witnessed the beginning of the attack and fought for entry to the shelter, and when Michelle gets a glimpse of the outside world she sees a bloodied, poisoned woman desperately trying to gain entrance herself. Howard is evidently unhinged and his story is crazy, but this is afterall a Cloverfield movie- should Michelle really risk everything to get outside and what will she find if she gets out there?

clov2Winstead is terrific in this. She really deserves better and more substantial roles in future genre films- she’s vulnerable but strong too, with a great physicality to her role that really brings to mind Weaver’s Ripley in Alien. Winstead is that good (but then again, I also thought she was the best thing in that The Thing prequel some years back). Goodman is naturally as dependable as ever, and it’s nice to see some of that old disarming charm of his (remember Always?) with the hints of deranged darkness he brings to his role here.

By the time the film ends and (most) of its secrets revealed in a final twenty-minute flourish, I was left with a desire to see more of these Cloverfield films. They could become a great little franchise of Twilight Zone-like stories. That does however come with one caveat- yet again we see here a JJ Abrams project that really harkens back to older originals than really doing something new and unique. He did it with Super 8, Star Trek, The Force Awakens and here The Twilight Zone- he seems adept at reinventing or reinterpreting old material or classic pieces of mainstream culture for new audiences (the Herrmann-like score by McCreary is surely no accident here, and the claustrophobic setting of the shelter has all the hallmarks of The Twilights Zone‘s adept use of working within its limited television budgets) but where is the really new stuff? Is there really nothing new under the Bad Robot sun?