I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve recently gotten hooked on the show The Walking Dead. This is a fairly significant development for me, as I can’t remember the last time I’ve actively followed a current TV show.
The creators of the show are wise to keep the zombies themselves to the periphery and focus on the band of survivors. Let’s face it: the living, with all their hang-ups, hook-ups, and neuroses, are infinitely more interesting than their drooling, mindless assailants.
It’s the interactions between the fleshed-out, three-dimensional characters that are keeping me glued to the screen. The show’s use of small-time, no-name actors drives home the idea that these are average folks thrown into a hellish situation, doing everything in their power to press on and survive. New threats and circumstances make it so that each character gets to spend screen time with every other character, leading to fascinating dynamics between very different individuals.
Personally, I feel that our pop culture is reaching the point of over-saturation when it comes to zombies. They are everywhere, and it’s beginning to become a bore. Sometimes films, TV shows, and books can make the zombie genre work (see Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland), and when they do, it’s due to cleverness and characters we care about. However, gems like these are few and far between and are easy to overlook in the teeming masses of zombie-related media. I, for one, will not be terribly broken up when the zombie craze passes.
That being said, The Walking Dead just works. Despite being a lightweight when it comes to handling on-screen gore, I’m enjoying this show heartily. The Walking Dead keeps the tension and the drama high, throwing in a dash of terror every once in a while for good measure. There’s something to be said for a show about zombies that doesn’t make the viewer want to take a blow to the head themselves.