After much hype and to-do, I decided to give AMC’s new zombie show, The Walking Dead, a go. 54 minutes into the 1 hour & 6 and I was already bored to death of the headshots, raspy whispers and groaning, and the “ohmygod the last bastion of hope is actually full of zombies but no one knows!!!”
Dude. I like horror. I watched the Nightmare on Elm Street series when I was in early elementary school. But what is it about zombies? I mean, seriously. Here’s a synopsis of every fucking zombie story ever:
– You wake up from a coma
– Everyone is dead
– There are zombies
– Also, there are a few survivors who know wtf is going on
– There’s some place that is supposed to be safe from zombies
– It isn’t
I figured that, you know, you’re going to run a TV show about zombies, there has to be more to it than that, right? Some kind of new twist? How the hell are you going to run an entire 13 episode series on the premise of “everyone’s dead, some of the dead are zombies and they want to eat you.” At least in 28 Days Later there was the whole “humanity is worse than the zombies, maybe we deserved this” thing going on – morbid and makes you want to slit your wrists, but at least it’s something else. And it suddenly occurred to me that the thing about Cherie Priest’s zombie steampunk book Boneshaker (a freaking awesome book, btw) that was awesome, wasn’t the zombies.
So, then I think, wtf? Why are zombies so popular? They aren’t sexy like vampires. They don’t have the whole Jekyll/Hyde thing like werewolves – a metaphor for angsty men who need some kind of justification for not being able to control their anger. They’re just dead people. Who aren’t. The whole zombie meme came out of – oops! – accidentally burying people alive (usually said people had some sort of disease which gave them the semblance of death, like a coma, until you buried them and they woke up in a coffin and tried to claw their way out. This also may have had a bit to do with the whole superstition that graveyards are haunted). Zombies are like the least interesting horror creation, ever. Are they trying to play on our fear of our own mortality? Because I’m totally freaked out that I’m going to die and come back as some undead version of myself intent on eating my progeny’s flesh. Yep. I don’t know. I don’t get it. Zombies suck.
what we like about zombies, esp. in the graphic novel version of The Walking Dead is not actually the zombies themselves. They are merely a set piece, and yea they are fun to smash into gory pieces. It's the "what would I do if in the event of an outbreak? how am I going to survive?" that is captivating for us. Kirkman nailed that cold in the book. Commonalities aside (yes, I know Alex Garland wrote the same thing to open 24 Days Later), Walking Dead isn't about zombies, it's 100% pure character driven and explores way more than the initial outbreak premise that all other zombie movies focus on. I dare you to read the first volume of the graphic novel and not want to see where the story goes at the end of it!
Yeah…I'm just bored with the whole survivalist shtick. And mostly my malaise is directed at AMC's The Walking Dead, I didn't even know a graphic novel existed until I started looking for pics to use for this post. I've no doubt the book is better — it always is. But even the whole OUTBREAK!! theme has been done to death…I read that a long time ago when it was called The Stand and God was played by a crotchety old black lady.
Don't get me wrong…vampire stories have been done to death, too. So have formulaic "evil bad guy" slasher stories (see: Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street). I guess I was just expecting something new and awesome with The Walking Dead show — particularly since Rubicon and Mad Men are so good and doing things that are fairly unique to television — and instead saw the same old zombie thing that's been done since George Romero with only a few variations.