This review is current as of November 22, so SPOILER WARNINGS for the current season and seasons past.
It’s no secret that The Walking Dead is one of the most talked about and watched shows in current television. Say what you will about it, it does have pop culture by the throat. The reality is that it is a very violent show. But in a zombie apocalypse with death featured in every episode, it does make a comment on humanity as well.
After the brutal season opener where Abraham and Glenn are beaten to death with a baseball bat, the tone is grim. Daryl is taken prisoner, and Carol is recovering after wanting to end her own life. Maggie is recovering from the loss of her husband, but is poised to take a leadership role in the Hilltop. And Rick is still…Rick. The surface of him is playing submissive, but the boiling rage is evident in his eyes. Carl is getting up there in his teen years and is hell bent on killing Negan. We also find out that Shane is the biological father of “little ass kicker” Judith, which gives Rick Grimes more baggage. If you need a reminder, Season 2 was when Shane, played by Jon Berthnal, was in a relationship with Rick’s wife Lori.
Speaking of Negan, his character signals the new direction the show is going in. He is a nasty, always smiling villain that you love to hate, and the casting for him is spot on. It’s a matter of national pride perhaps, but it’s an AMERICAN actor in
this show in America. Several actors from overseas are doing passable American accents and have major roles in the show. It is nice to see a heavy part with a US actor.
What happens now in this season will set the tone for future seasons, who will live, who will die, and such. But after the brutal beat down opening to this season, some people have walked away from the show.
I know that kids under 18 watch this show. Critics have argued that the show has some twisted sense of morality. You can see two men beaten to death with a baseball bat, people shot, stabbed, and run over but you cannot hear four letter words or see any nudity. It is kind of a strange dynamic, but the show has a huge audience and to pull a mature rating into it now would dampen their revenue. Judging by the amount of merchandise, video game spin offs and more, they have the audience right where they want them, and they will continue to push that forward.
Fair warning: This is the rant-like section. The parts of the show I dislike:
Please find a plot reason to give Carl a haircut. In a fight, that would be the first way to control him and put him down. And he just looks silly. I find it hard to take him seriously. Great actor, but he will age about four years if they would give him a proper haircut.
There are plot holes that you could drive a truck through, but it is a very escapist kind of show. There really are zombies out there, but the REAL monsters are the humans in the show. Aside from constantly having fuel in their “clean car, commercial level of polish” vehicles, having plenty of electricity, and mowed, manicured lawns, they really have you hooked into the end of the world vibe. However, the best apocalyptic film I have seen in recent years The Road, with Viggo Mortensen, is the direction TWD could and should be moving in, but hey Jeffrey Dean Morgan looks spiffy in that leather jacket that looks brand new.
It would also be nice to have fewer commercials in the show. I enjoy HBO shows because the only break that we have in the show is a pause to get a refreshment or use the restroom. The commercial breaks in this show, especially near the end of an episode, are ridiculous. It wouldn’t be so bad if the show would keep a good pace and move along. I even saw a commercial that was framed and sounded like a scene from the show where zombies were outside a window. Then when the show came back on, there was a shot just like that commercial, and it really took me out of it.
The zombie sound effect, surely, the budget would allow a sound designer to have the zombie noise evolve. They all sound like an Andy Serkis Gollum rage scream. It’s been the same for 7 seasons. Update it! It’s comically dull now. The zombies are getting more and more decayed, so it would make sense for some that are very old to have different vocalizations.
It’s always been a grim show, and there are more seasons planned, but I feel it might be time to start wrapping it up. But with a spinoff show Fear the Walking Dead and the comic still going strong, it is likely they will be making this for another few years. A major actor would have to want to leave the show to signal the end, perhaps.
All that being said, I do watch it every time it’s on and put aside my groans and let the zombies be a background part in a soap opera of pain. The Night of the Living Dead influence has been going strong for years, and the zombie popularity isn’t dying out yet.
The Walking Dead is a horror drama television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.