My new friend (and possibly soon-to-be enemy, depending on how well this goes) L.C. Fremont and I have decided to have a little back-and-forth about each episode. She loves the show. I have numerous issues with it. It should be a lot of fun, and there may be a little bloodshed. You can read her first installment here.
Due to the nature of these posts, there will be spoilers for each episode, and this post will feature spoilers for the rest of the series. So, if you don’t want spoilers, this probably isn’t the place for you.
Before the season starts, I thought I’d throw a few thoughts out there.
First of all, allow me to talk a bit about my feelings on this show. I’m a big fan of the comics, I live in Kentucky (for those who don’t know, the creator – Robert Kirkman – is from Kentucky, and that is where Rick, Lori, Carl and Shane are supposed to be from), and I love zombies. This show should be right up my alley.
And, for a while, it was. I loved the first season. The first episode in particular was tremendous.
It started losing steam pretty quickly in the second season. Part of that was due to the shrinking budget (a hold-out by the cast of Mad Men had AMC shorter on cash than they thought they would be). Our characters were stuck on Hershel’s farm for the bulk of the season. There was a distinct lack of zombies and a massive increase in meetings and moral grandstanding (most of it due to the now-deceased Dale). I found myself growing tired of the characters and bored with the lack of development of any sort of plot or action. It redeemed itself a bit with a terrific end of the season, which carried over to a great first episode of the third season.
But I found myself growing bored and frustrated during the third season. There were some great episodes, but they were usually mixed in with some terrible episodes. I found out that I liked very few of the characters. Even those I did like were ruined at times with lazy writing. Characters changed from episode to episode, depending on what drama the show needed. Secondary characters only started to be fleshed out in the minutes before their demise. T-Bone stood up to Rick and died (we later found out that he drove a church bus and helped out in the community, which gave him more of a character than we had seen in the previous 2 seasons with him). Axel started sharing a bit about his history and was promptly shot in the head. It’s a lazy way to develop characters, and it’s something this show does a lot of.
And all of that without even mentioning the severe underutilization of Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese. (Tyreese is one of my favorite characters from the comics, and Coleman has been terrific in The Wire and his random appearances in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.)
I’m curious to see where this next season goes. At the end of season 3, The Governor had been exposed as a psychopath. Of his previously large following, only 2 people are left, and they think he’s insane. The rest were either gunned-down by him, or fled into the arms of the slightly-less-insane Rick Grimes (he hasn’t talked to his dead wife in a while, so I assume that qualifies him for the title of Not Quite As Crazy As A Murdering Psychopath). So where do they go from here? The Governor is still out there, but with an army of himself and two followers that don’t seem totally on board with his new direction (murdering women and children being the main sticking point. Prudes). Meanwhile, Rick and his band of misfits are currently living in the prison, having recently taken on a bunch of old people that have left The Governor’s camp. So we have a psychopath with no army possibly trying to take on an old-folks-home masquerading as a prison. Riveting stuff.
D’Angelo Barksdale is joining the cast, but, after seeing what they did with Cutty this past season, I’m not optimistic they’re going to do much with him.
I will watch this season, but I’m not optimistic.