And because I’m a total anti-hipster, I’m talking about Season 3, folks. I’m going to watch it now that it’s not cool anymore with Season 4 on the way. Because that’s how I roll.
Seriously though, I like The Walking Dead, but I’ve not seen any of Season 3 because, once again, Rachael and I do not have cable. We watch our shows after all the water cooler buzz has faded and the internet is no longer enamored with them. After all, somebody has to get excited about those Netflix notices letting you know that the last season of a show that’s about to start airing its new season, and if not us, then who?
So in a recent conversation with a coworker who likes to boast that he has no internet at his home, we were discussing how excited we were about new Walking Dead. A lot of the kids at school really like it because it’s a gory zombie killfest, and also it’s largely about Rick Grimes showing what it means to be a Real Man(tm). I enjoy it for the philosophical exploration of what significance our trappings of civilization have to our identity as human beings, but the gore and zombies are fun too. Anyway, I was telling my coworker that I was looking forward to seeing Season 3, and he gave me kind of a ‘meh’ reaction. I was surprised by this, because everyone else who’s seen Season 3 tells me that it was a great improvement over Season 2 in terms of character development.
The Walking Dead has kind of a problem with how it writes its female characters, especially Lori.
She’s pretty much the Lady Macbeth of Post-Apocolyptia (formerly rural Georgia) with her bizarre machinations to make Rick do things he’s not morally comfortable with while at the same time being wishy-washy about the fact that she started a relationship with her husband’s best friend when she thought he was dead (yeah, that’s awkward, but it seems like the kind of thing that’s best aired out early, rather than sitting on it until the animosity between the two men reaches a point where they go into the wilderness alone with the intention of killing each other). She’s just frustrating in a lot of ways, and many of them have nothing to do with the fact that the series is set in Georgia where a form of gender complementarianism is a social norm (if that were the case, then I’d be happy to see some more in-depth exploration of gender roles on the show, especially as it relates to the utter collapse of civilization; alas, the women, for the most part, act like stereotypically gendered women, and the men act like the characters who do all the exciting stuff).
Setting aside problematic characters, I still really enjoy this show (almost as much as I enjoyed the game; if you like the show and you enjoy games in a similar vein to old point-and-click adventures, then you should definitely play the Walking Dead game). Horror-based television shows are hard to pull off (especially long-running ones) because one of the big conventions of horror is that you have to let horrible things happen to your characters (the kind of things that might make them useless as further actors within your story, in fact). This problem creates a serious roadblock for any show that wants to rely on having a steady core cast while still maintaining a real suspense over whether everyone will survive to the next episode. Nonetheless, The Walking Dead pulls this off rather well. Even though a significant (sympathetic) character only seems to die about once per season (by my reckoning; remember that I haven’t seen Season 3 yet) I still feel worried that everyone’s really in danger. Of course, when you write a show where you’re not afraid to zombify child characters that the audience is attached to, I suppose it’s not that hard to make it feel like no one’s really safe (although the fact that Rick keeps winding up on the cover of each season’s teaser poster suggests that he’s got some kind of super plot armor–not necessarily a bad thing, but he also seems like the one who gets into the most trouble too).
So anyway, I’m looking forward to watching some more zombie action. Maybe I should go do that now instead of working on this blog post, in fact…