I was a bit annoyed when reading Benji’s blog for this week, as I had planned to also do mine on zombies. I couldn’t think of anything else so here you go, your second helping of zombies this week. My blog however isn’t inspired by George A Romero’s copyright mistake, instead it’s about the release of the second series of ‘The Walking Dead’. Based on the American comic/graphic novel style series written by Robert Kirkman, the first season seemed a big success and a second season has been long awaited since.
The elements that set ‘The Walking Dead’ aside from other zombie based tv programs is that it has feature film like quality. The production quality of the series is really high, so the zombies actually look like decent zombies, a good cast was selected and the narrative has more to play with than any normal tv show. Now the narrative has come under a lot of criticism; that the show doesn’t include enough zombies for a zombie programme. This I feel are purely comments resulting from zombie fans brought up on the new generation of zombies films such as the ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remake and ‘Rec’. Whereby the characters are all two dimensional, and the only plot devices are about how to kill or escape the zombies; nothing else ever appears to drive the narrative. What ‘The Walking Dead’ is achieving is similar to the George A Romero films. I know I said that this blog wouldn’t be a comment on Romero, but you can’t help but mention him when discussing zombies.
Romero’s films not only tackled zombies but other issues, adding more depth to not only the narrative but the characters. ‘Night of the Living Dead’ tackles racism as one character will not take orders from clearly the strongest, most modest and straight headed guy of the group because he’s black. ‘Dawn of the Dead’ tackles the impact of society and the morals of man; families keeping zombies alive because it was their brother/sister etc. Even Romero’s later film ‘Land of the Dead’ tackles economic issues, how the rich still dominate over the poor even in a world of chaos. ‘The Walking Dead’ faces issues as deep as society and morals. What do people do when the world appears to have ended? Do they commit suicide or struggle on not sure where it will take them? All of these concerns are raised within the series, which ultimately means that the show cannot be under constant bombardment from walking flesh eating corpses, instead some time has to be calm, sitting around discussing these topics. This I feel has given ‘The Walking Dead’ its cutting edge, making it more realistic than some feature zombie films released today.
It also helps that the series is based on a comic series, as it means that there is a continuos story that is already written, one that is of high quality, rather than a quick script chucked out in time for a release date. This again adds to the depth of the characters, as there is enough story for each character to flourish. Each episode runs for 45 minutes, there were six episodes in season 1 and are thirteen in season 2. That makes to be a pretty long zombie film. There are still relationship fall outs and disputes amongst the survivors about which course of action to pursue, however the audience give more a shit because they know the characters better. Within zombie films the audience instead sit there thinking what fucking idiots would have a fight during a zombie apocalypse, and because you don’t care about the characters as they don’t have enough screen time to develop you become frustrated and just want the zombies to attack again to save you from this stupidity on the screen.
I have therefore been looking forward to the release of season 2 of the ‘The Walking Dead’ as it is a zombie show not only about zombies. Now there have been releases that bring something new to the zombie genre that I enjoy such as ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ’28 Days Later’ (though I must stress here that they aren’t zombies in 28 Days, and I do get really pissed off when people say, ‘since when could zombies runs’. They are not dead bodies reanimated, but living people in a constant state of rage, the adrenaline running through their bodies allows them to run when shot. But as you see at the end of the film they starve to death, which zombies wouldn’t do because they’re already dead. The film is however ultimately placed into zombie genre though. I apologize for this small rant but felt I should clear the air slightly on that matter), but they are few and far between, so a constant supply of zombies presented in a good high quality standard is I suppose just what the doctor ordered, yea that’s right, the doctor ordered zombies.