The Walking Dead

I don’t need to call attention to what is apparently one of the biggest television premieres in some time, nor do I need to call attention to the fact that for some time, the best “narrative arc” television has been superior not only to most cinema, but to most literature as well. I thought the zombie thing was pretty played out. The best of the older zombie flicks were social satire (Dawn of the Dead’s critique of consumerism) while the best of the recent crop were satires of the genre itself (Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland).

Nor is it too difficult to figure out what the “pitch” was: “It’s Lost with zombies.” Well, OK, keep an open mind. And the opening episode did little but set that premise up, but for one thing that I can’t get out of my mind. After encountering an unusually horrific but powerless zombie (nothing from the waist down) our hero, safe, moves on to other things, but late in the episode returns to where he found it/her (I think it was a her). This is unnecessary. And before he gruesomely puts the thing down in the genre-convention appropriate manner, he mutters to it:

“I’m sorry this happened to you.”

That got my attention. So I watched the preview of future episodes, and in one clip, our hero intervenes to stop an act of violence by a survivor against another survivor, and sternly commands the man he has disarmed:

“Don’t. Kill. The Living.”

Not much you say? I disagree. What other rule makes as much sense among survivors? Who among us is not, in some sense, a survivor? I can think of a lot of things in our culture that lack such a moral foundation, and between the sentiment and the maxim, one could build a world to stand against darkness.

I’m hooked.


3 comments on “The Walking Dead

  1. RV says:

    I absolutely love this show. Probably the most sympathetic treatment of its main characters in the zombie genre that I can recall (or for that matter, in the horror genre in general). Yes, I’m also going to follow this show in real time, which I hardly ever do.

  2. Zona says:

    Blows my whole theory to shreds. Must go back to work on that paper.

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