October 17, 2012

Finally watched season 2 of The Walking Dead

In fact I finished the season a little over a week ago but I just didn't get a moment to sit down and compose my thoughts.  I wanted to do it before Season 3 premiered.  Oops!

Season two of The Walking Dead did not kick nearly as much ass as the first season did.  In fact, a recent photoplasty from Cracked.com explains a good half of the problem.

I was so excited to see crazy situations that would push survivors to brink.  I was excited to see who was going to bite the dust, and who was not.  I was excited to see what fucked up situation would involve creativity and strength and endurance.

Less than half the season was about that.

The first two and the last two episodes had a lot of the same things I loved in the first season.  Starting with the scene of people hiding under the cars, and ending with Rick announcing to everyone that this whole group was no longer a democracy, that was the kind of drama in an apocalyptic setting.  But instead what we got was a lot of people yelling at each other.  Or even worse, just nagging back and fourth.


I don't get how many times the writers thought they should talk about life questions: "opting out" of the harsh existence, continuing the human race despite this horrible setting, the treatment of those who have wronged and been wronged.  But in this type of drama, you really only need to devote 30 minutes of conversation to it before you have to put some serious action in.  You don't need 3 suicide moments, you don't need a love triangle that lasts almost the ENTIRE FUCKING SEASON and seems to be one sided.  You can only have the character you hate be right so many times until the audience says "Hey you stupid characters!  He's crazy but he's going to save you're life!  Shut up this time!"

It seems like the writers were forced to think about character development and hit a brick wall.  And another one.  And then another one with a piano falling on their heads.  Shane was a great example.  He could've been there to show us that survival was harsh and cruel in this new zombie world, that you can be complexly conflicted with what you have to do to live and who you want to be.  Instead, Shane was just vilified left and right.  Every chance they had to redeem him got swept away by him being a huge asshole, and most of the time for no damn reason.  We see the main characters make horrible survival choices, romantic endeavors prioritized in the story over other interesting lines, characters good points written poorly and bad points overemphasized.  I still watched all of it because I loved the characters from the last season, but Angie's angst, Daryl's whining, and the disgraceful inconsistencies in Lori's every action in every episode had me pulling my hair out.  And to top it off, the women were poorly written for this season, except Maggie, who wasn't great but just okay.

The setting being stuck on Herschel's farm also slowed everything down, which must have been intentional on the writer's part to use it as a place to station half the season as monologue central.  And that was a huge contribution to it dragging.  Notice how the episodes that were best for the season consistently mostly either off the farm or getting off the farm.  The magic, idyllic famrhouse was not the best place to really progress the story or the characters, they stagnated.  The zombie drama does best with the idea that NOWHERE is safe for even a significant amount of time.  You must keep alert and keep struggling if you want to live.  We lost that appeal early on.

The end of the last episode really did save it for me.  We see Rick struggle over doing the right thing (and almost fuck up royally every single time) and never get any gratitude .  It is about time for him to tell everyone to either put up or shut up.  So I'm excited to see where season 3 takes us (and again, not waiting as long as I did for Season 2) but they better learn from their mistakes from season 2.  If they don't, I will not be watching this next season through.

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