Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Walking Dead: Room for Improvement...

BE WARNED: the following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead up to (and including) the mid-season finale for Season 8.

Also: excuse the length of this article, but I have broken it down into segments. Bear with me.

Call this an 'open letter' or a train of thoughts written down or whatever you fancy, but suffice it to say The Walking Dead has caught some flack in the last couple of years and made some missteps. Here I address some of the bad - as well as landmark moments of good - that the show has represented on screen, with a few possible fixes. TWD is one of the best shows on television, but there is room for improvement...

SEASON SEVEN WOBBLES

The seventh season of AMC's thunderously successful zombie show caught a lot of flack. Some balked at the violence in the première episode, although to be quite honest, what were they expecting?! Having your head smashed in with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire is going to leave quite a mark. Did they forget the geysers of blood that gushed from slit throats in the season five première? Or how about the countless scenes of flesh eating, zombie slaying, bullet-spraying carnage that has been a staple of The Walking Dead since the get-go?


The main criticism of the seventh season however, was with the overall structure and pacing. All too often major characters went absent for several episodes at a time as Scott Gimple and his writers opted to focus on one contained story after another. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. The first half of Season 7 sums up the issue quite well: after the Lucille-swinging première (one of the finest episodes of TWD's entire run) we are introduced to The Kingdom, Sanctuary, and then Oceanside all within five episodes – each with a procession of new characters whose names, faces, and allegiances we struggled to remember. Basically, it was too much to take in and our long-running show started to feel unfamiliar. Although, I will say that 7x02 – the introduction of The Kingdom – was a very good episode, handling Shiva and King Ezekiel perfectly (especially how Carol – and we the viewers – were clued-in to the real Ezekiel by the end of the episode).


Some folks didn't like that Team Rick were under Negan's thumb. “Just kill him already!” they screamed, which was ironic considering that if they did that then it would be the exact same case of 'rinse & repeat' that the most ardent complainers accused the show of committing, when comics readers know that All Out War is an entirely different conflict to what we've seen before with the likes of Woodbury, Terminus, or even The Claimers. To be fair to Gimple & Co, a little patience was required from the audience – drama and tension aren't derived from getting what you want immediately, after all! You don't enjoy the thrill of getting the gang back together in 7x08 without going through a period of separation and subjugation. Resolution can't come five minutes down the road, or even next week!


Let's fast forward to Season 8 and how the structural problems were being faced head-on according to Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero, and the cast as they headed into Comic-Con 2017. Now, certainly, there have been some structural improvements compared to the seventh season: We've not gone for long periods of time without seeing certain characters generally, although, yes, Negan, Michonne, and Rosita all went missing from the screen for three or four weeks in 'viewer time' (likely because of scheduling issues and the other commitments of a popular and in-demand cast). Meanwhile, the propensity to focus too much on a single “A Story” at the expense of any “B” and “C” stories taking place with other groups in other locations has been limited in Season 8A – but they can definitely go further...

Click "READ MORE" below to continue **SPOILERS UP TO 8x08 AHEAD** ...

Monday, 11 December 2017

Moment Edition: The Walking Dead 8x08 Memes...

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Click to Enlarge: Feel the burn...

Click "READ MORE" below to see the rest of this week's memes **WARNING: HUGE EPISODE SPOILER AHEAD**...

Monday, 4 December 2017

Awkward Eugene Edition: The Walking Dead 8x07 Meme...

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Just the one this week. The last couple of episodes have skewed more towards setting up the mid-season finale, but it was good to see that a couple of questionable decisions last week were paid off here.

Click to Enlarge: Should've gone for the fist bump...

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Flavours of the Month: November 2017...

Space bums, dimension-jumping duos, voices from the past, and A Sideline In Vengeance - just some of what's been setting the tone this month...

Click "READ MORE" below to see this month's looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...

Monday, 20 November 2017

Weenie Talk Edition: The Walking Dead 8x05 Memes...

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We're into the second half of Season 8A now, and All Out War continues apace. This was a really good episode - so much going on - a very satisfying watch. Numerous pairings of characters faced off with each other with so many implications teased, setup, or averted (for now), plus the paranoia of a potential power vacuum (like the crumbling of a nation behind the Iron Curtain) made for much tension and entertainment. Quite possibly my favourite episode of the season thus far.

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Click to Enlarge: Weenie talk all over the shop...

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of this week's memes...