The Walking Dead: TV Review

Oct 26, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Fantasy & Fangs, Jesus Ibarra, TV

by Jesus Ibarra

The Walking Dead premiered its fourth season this past week to some of the biggest ratings seen on television in recent years. Based on the widely popular comic series of the same name, The Walking Dead is a show about surviving in a world after zombies have taken down civilization. The other side of this show is that it’s not only the zombies you have to worry about– or walkers as they are called on the show–because the survivors are often more dangerous than the dead. This and the theme of what surviving in this world does to people and their humanity are the three long running themes of the series.

They are presented through a group of followers led by Rick Grimes, superbly played by actor Andrew Lincoln. The walkers on the show are in line with more traditional zombies as they shamble and walk, not run. A bite will kill, but eventually everyone who dies “turns” no matter what.

The pilot of the series was perhaps one of the best pilots I have seen, hitting all the right notes as we see Rick come to terms with this new world. Although the first season wasn’t fantastic, it did deliver on the promise of the pilot, showing us how the group of survivors Rick would come to lead, survive. The second series, without spoiling it, was uneven. Although it featured fantastic performances and some interesting subplots, it had pacing problems and some bad characterizations. The third season was perhaps where this show started to really become a fantastic survival horror series. The premiere was amazing and it continued to be so until the middle of the season, where thing sort of stalled. Andrew Lincoln, however, is so good that he manages to convey his character’s growth and transformation masterfully.

However, the show has three glaring problems that continue to come about. They aren’t outstanding problems obviously since the show is super successful, but in my opinion they prevent the show from being amazing versus just great. The first problem, involves a woman, and by this I mean the show often doesn’t know what to do with their female characters, often just using them as literal plot devices. Aside from maybe two or three characters on the show, most of the women are one dimensional and don’t experience any character growth versus the men.

The second problem and the most glaring in my opinion, is the way each season starts out strong and fast- paced and then loses its steam by the ending. The season three premiere and the four episodes that followed it were freaking amazing, but then somehow things just went nowhere. It feels like a problem the show should not have in its third season, where most shows finally find a footing and pacing they stick too.

Finally, the third problem is something most people might not know about if they aren’t paying attention to TV news, is Robert Kirkman. Robert Kirkman, the creator of the comic books, is a concern because I think he should stick to running the comic books and not executive producing the TV series. Television and comic books are not the same medium. In the course of four seasons this show has had three different show runners and in every change, there appears to be a difference of opinion on the direction of the show. I can’t help but wonder sometimes if maybe there was a stable run of things behind the scene, and perhaps if Robert Kirkman wasn’t so involved in the series, the show wouldn’t have the two problems I have already mention.

Regardless of these issues, The Walking Dead is good television, and sometimes it even makes its way into fantastic television. If you haven’t been watching, now is a perfect time to catch up on since it has short season.

Use this link to purchase The Walking Dead & a portion goes to help support KRL:

Jesus Ibarra is 21 years old; with a love of all media, he’s always on the lookout for the best finds. You can read more of his reviews on his website.

1 Comment

  1. Hmm. I agree with some of your points, but not all. I can see what you’re saying about the women characters not really growing, but they are promising us something this season, and we’ve already gotten to know the katana wielder much better.

    I was a little disappointed with the season opener, but I have to say, that if they didn’t do it the way they did, the rest of the episodes wouldn’t have ran so smoothly. Furthermore, you can’t just have a show on full throttle all the time. You have to take a step back and let the characters have a breather. It makes the next situation all that more intense. So, I like the roller coaster ride that we’re on.

    Robert Kirkman has shown that he knows how to write zombie stories. So, I think he has every right to go in any direction he wants. In fact, I just read an interview that says he is stoked about the Dead spin off coming to AMC in 2015 because he doesn’t have to follow the comic book at all. He will have free creative reign over the show. I do agree, however, that sometimes it seems as if there isn’t a clear direction.

    I appreciate your honest review of the show,

    Josh

    Reply

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