Why Do You Love the Walking Dead?

Posted: March 31, 2014 in General
Tags: , , , , ,

I must admit that I have never read the graphic novels that the AMC series is based upon.  I was aware of them, but I tend to go more towards comics than graphic novels.  I have no basis for comparison between the two, but I have to say that I have been a huge fan from the very first episode.  So I ask, why do you love The Walking Dead?

Let me be the first to answer.  I have always loved horror movies.  I really fucking love horror.  It is the one genre that I can honestly say my wife has absolutely no desire to watch with me.  She will suffer through an action flick with me, especially if one of her favorite lead males is running around shirtless in it, but horror for the most part has been off the table for dual viewing.  I have no shame in saying that there have been scenes in some movies that have scared the bejeezus out of me.  Zombie movies though have never had the scare factor.  They have always relied on the gore for their effect and are generally always caused by some sort of government program gone awry or toxic spill or other such nonsense.  Even those that have had sequels to them really have never seemed to be able to tell a story and what a world in which the living are greatly outnumbered by the dead is really like.  Yes, they get the violence and the base animal hunger that the zombies have, but the movies always rely directly on the zombies and always seem to overwhelm the small party of survivors that band together in short order.

So I love The Walking Dead because to me the zombies are a secondary part of the story.  Don’t get me wrong, the time they put into making sure the undead look undead and behave in that small-brained, desire to feed and replicate way is phenomenal, but this show really revolves around the survivors and the terrible lengths they are willing to go for themselves and those they love.  If the movies tried to capture this sentiment in 2 or so hours, they would fail miserably.  TWD gets to bring this all to the small screen each week with the varied cast of characters finding themselves in new predicaments and just what they are made of as they come up with ways to survive.

The other great aspect of this show is not just the threat from the zombies, but man each week continues to prove why they are the Apex predator of the planet.  The constant battles and control that one group tries to exert on their environment and the struggles between different groups is incredible.  The violence does not stop when you kill someone, you have to make sure that they stay dead.  That brings a personal aspect to it, that by the fourth season seems to have been made an obsolete feeling to the cast of characters.  They used to struggle when someone died and they knew they had to take steps to make them stay dead.  Now a blade to the head is de rigeur when making sure that your enemy cannot come back to do you harm and they seem to do it with less feeling for those that were just living than they do for the walkers.

The Walking Dead gives the viewer something they can latch onto.   TWD takes something that has not yet happened and makes the cast do things that the former civilized living would never even contemplate had they not witnessed the rising of the dead first hand.  The survivors have had to kill loved ones, strangers and friends.  They faced the brutality of those who have taken advantage of the world and tried to assert their own tyranny over it.  They have had to leave behind people who they may have been able to save because doing so may have brought either them harm or their group harm.

The other great thing about the show is that they are not afraid to kill anyone off.  At the end of the fourth season, there are only five members of the original group still together.  There are a few that have been added over subsequent seasons, but there is no guarantee to the lifespan of a character.  The writers are always ready to drop someone from the payroll and do it in spectacular fashion.  The only one who is safe in the cast is the zombie, it is rather hard to have a zombie apocalypse movie without them.

So tell me, why do you love The Walking Dead so much?

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