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Archive for June 21st, 2018

by Dennis Polifroni

So many negative things have been said about the AMC flagship show, THE WALKING DEAD.

“It’s been on too long” (now moving into its 9th season).  “The show treads the same water again and again”. Finally, and most infamously, “what is all this about?”

As a fan of the show, who has stuck by each episode and season with unabashed loyalty, I can honestly say I can see and understand the gripes. I feel the complainers pains. However, in order to truthfully navigate the filmic adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s smash-hit comic book series, one has to look with better eyes.

On the surface, and this is the reason for its initial success for the first 6 seasons, THE WALKING DEAD is a tight, taught intense horror show about the end of the world as we know it by a plaque that turns the recently deceased into flesh eating zombies. Loaded with thrills and chills, and NOT too little gore and guts, the series presents itself as a thrill-ride chiller with characters we can relate to and care for. The story of Georgia cop Rick Grimes (the fantastic Andrew Lincoln), who awakes from a gun-shot induced coma to find the world dead in its tracks (shades of Danny Boyle’s marvelously creepy 28 DAYS LATER), and the people he bonds with on his quest to find his family and a safe home amid the deadly chaos, is the stuff of horror movie legend.

Characters that we love die, and are replaced by characters we will love as well. When one prospect for a home goes sour, Rick and his tribe move on to another.

I admit. Describing it this way, one would think the naysayers are right and the show can only suffer from repetition.

Ahhhhh. That’s where so many go wrong…

The beauty of Kirkman’s basic plot, and what is misconstrued as mind-numbing, repeated narrative structure, is that by keeping the basic outline simple the series writers are able to weave in intricate observations about democracy and how the conservative rule hits hysterical proportions in a time of crisis. It shows us how easily forms of racism flare in emergency mode and, most of all, how we take for granted the little things that will become luxury in a world turned into a graveyard.

On an artistic level, the repetition allows the technical crew and directors to play with the visual and sonic aspects of the series presentation so no single season looks or sounds like the other. THE WALKING DEAD is, without a doubt in my mind, one of the most visually daring and creative works of filmic art on the tube.

THE WALKING DEAD

(2010-present AMC/Netflix Streaming, DVD/Blu-Ray)

p. Frank Darabont, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple developed. Frank Darabont based on the comic by. Robert Kirkman w. Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont, Scott Gimple, Angela Kang d. Frank Darabont, Ernest Dickerson, Phil Abraham, Guy Ferland, Michelle McClaren, Clark Johnson m. Bear McCreary photo. Ron Schmidt, David Boyd, David Tattersall e. Julius Ramsay, Hunter Via, Dan Liu

Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Lennie James (Morgan), Steven Yuen (Glen), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Melissa McBride (Carol), Sarah Callie (Lori), David Morrissey (The Governor), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Neeghan), Jon Bernthal (Shane), Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale), Micheal Rooker (Merle), Scott Wilson (Hershel)

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