Top 10 Ways To Make 'The Walking Dead' Less Stupid

52 comments

Every week I watch The Walking Dead and I hope it turns into a good television show.

Sadly, it does not.

The first two episodes of the first season were great. Since then it's gone down a very steep hill. There's a myriad of problems, but I think they all come back to the writing. This is a poorly written show, with meandering plots, contrived speeches, and obnoxious characters. There are a few shining moments, which is probably why I keep coming back, but I'm very close to giving up on it when the season starts again in February.

And I want this show to be good. I really do. This is the golden age of television. Breaking Bad, Community, Mad Men, Doctor Who. There is so much awesome stuff to watch on TV. And yea, I want a cool zombie show too. But this is not a cool zombie show. This is a mess. And I'm not saying it needs to follow the comics, which are also meandering and plagued by long stretches of boring. It just needs some good writing so that I don't hate every character except Daryl. 

After Sunday night's mid-season finale, the show is on break for two months. I don't know how much of the second half of this season has been shot, or whether the show will continue to suffer from AMC's rough handling of the budget and showrunner. But as a television viewer and a fan of all things related to zombies, I do have some suggestions on how to make this show more engaging when it comes back in February:

10. Stop with all the monologues and serious talks.

At least four times per episode, everything grinds to a halt so a character can tell a story, or relay some information, or give an impassioned speech (I'm looking at you Rick, and everything you've ever said). I get that a zombie apocalypse is a vehicle for telling human stories, but there needs to be less 'telling' and more 'things actually happening'. 

9. Hire more female writers and directors.

The women on this show are sexist caricatures. Carol does nothing buy cry. Maggy acts crazy around Glenn, because girls who like boys are crazy. Andrea is angry all the time, not for any real reason, but so there can be tension in lieu of character development--and so she could "come out of her shell" by shooting guns and fucking Shane. This show's attitude toward women was summed up when Glenn asked Dale if all the women were on their periods. Get it? Because ladies on their periods are nuts! You know why Mad Men has good, interesting female characters? Because the writing staff is predominantly female.

8. Give Lori a break.

I know I addressed the problems with the female characters, but this deserves special mention: Lori is reprehensible. Everything she says is mean or terrible. "I hate my husband because I got angry at him for nothing and he responded by being understanding and compassionate." CHRIST! Unless the goal of this character is to set back gender equality, please give Lori something nice to say, for once.

'The Walking Dead'

7. Give T-Dog something to do other than be black.

All T-Dog does is stand in the background and sometimes say something. He's there for the sake of diversity. That's it. Writers, please give T-Dog something to do. Please justify the existence of this character outside of filling a racial quota. IronE Singleton deserves better than that. Also, give him a name that's less racist than 'T-Dog'. 

6. Address this season's massive logical fault.

(This item comes with a SPOILER ALERT). I refuse to believe that not a single person on the farm knew Sophia was in the barn. Comic series creator Robert Kirkman has said that Otis had been putting the zombies in the barn and then Otis got killed, so that's why nobody knew. I call bullshit on that. They were feeding the zombies. Nobody noticed the little girl? That's weak. And the timeline doesn't make a great deal of sense. There may be a very good, logical explanation for all of this. We need to hear it. Because otherwise the writers are showing contempt for the audience by pole-vaulting logic in favor of an emotional payoff.  

5. Stop making characters do stupid, illogical things in every episode.

The whole "zombie down the well" thing was pretty funny, but stands as television's worst example of problem solving, ever. The second they lowered Glenn into the well, it was obvious what would happen, therefore robbing the moment of any tension. And really, the only way their plan could have been worse is if they stood in a circle hitting each other with hammers. When you put characters in a completely illogical situation to give the illusion that something is happening, that's lazy writing.   

4. Kill all the survivors; replace them with new ones. 

Keep Daryl and Glenn and Shane. That's it. I'm really tired of the rest of them. They're all so annoying and I hate their faces. But failing that...

3. Put Daryl in charge.

Of the survivors, and the farm, and the writing staff, and everything ever, from this point forward.

2. Introduce Michonne.

Soon. Daryl is great, but he can only carry the show for so long. Michonne, a sword-wielding character from The Walking Dead comic book, is a strong black woman--something this show desperately needs (see points 7, 8 and 9). 

1. Try to include some zombies.

It is very easy to forget this is a show about zombies, and not about people whining on a farm. So far in this season, there has been one legitimately scary zombie moment--on the highway in the first episode. Other than that, how many other cool zombie moments have we had? Besides Well Zombie and High School Zombie Attack, I can't come up with anything. These zombies aren't a threat. They're just sort of there and they happen and they're gone. Again, zombies are a vehicle for telling a story. They are the ultimate MacGuffin. But they still need to be there if the show is about them. 

Image of The Walking Dead: Season 1
Director: Frank Darabont
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden, Sarah Wayne Callies, Emma Bell
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Image of The Walking Dead:  Compendium One
Author: Robert Kirkman
Price: $39.01
Publisher: Image Comics (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 1088 pages
Rob Hart

Column by Rob Hart

Rob Hart is the class director at LitReactor, as well as the publisher at MysteriousPress.com. He's the author of New Yorked, nominated for the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, as well as City of Rose and South Village. Short stories have appeared in publications like Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Needle, Joyland, All Due Respect, and Helix Literary Magazine. Non-fiction has appeared at Salon, The Daily Beast, Birth.Movies.Death, The Literary Hub, Electric Literature, and Nailed. He lives in New York City. Find him online at www.robwhart.com

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Comments

tzarek1998's picture
tzarek1998 from Massachusetts is reading Less Than Zero November 30, 2011 - 7:33am

I like the so-called "boring" segments in the show. The human interactions show that this isn't a story about how cool it would be if there were zombies cause we'd get to shoot things and not feel guilty, it's a story about people surviving in a world where all our luxuries are gone. The zombies are just kind of the motivator to keep the characters and viewers on edge and force the characters into doing stuff. I do agree, as a television show the story is a little slow and boring, and I knew that was going to happen after reading most of the books and before I saw the show. The books convey that story idea better than a show ever could hope to (not to mention that I think a lot of people expected this to be a Zombieland-esque TV show and instead they got a soap-opera that they still got addicted to). I do agree with you on some of the other stuff though, like the sexism and racism things, and that Daryl is one of the single greatest characters ever (at least until they introduce Michonne)

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading A lot of Brian Evenson November 30, 2011 - 7:36am

This show was a disappointment from the get-go. It's just... lacking. I still have all of season two on my DVR, but just don't have the motivation to watch it.

Ron Delaney's picture
Ron Delaney November 30, 2011 - 7:36am

At the risk of sounding like the "You just don't get it, maaaaaaaan!" guy, The Walking Dead, both comic and TV show, is not about zombies. It's about how people deal with a desparate situation. I'm not saying that the show hasn't been slow, it most certainly has, and I'm not saying that some of the writing hasn't been bad. But "moar zombies nao!" will not fix it, just make it a not-The Walking Dead.

Robin Hardwick's picture
Robin Hardwick from Oakland, CA is reading Little Bee, The Leftovers, Helter Skelter November 30, 2011 - 7:40am

I have to respectfully disagree. I like that the show is not a shoot 'em up, zombie-hunting type of show.

As for Sophia, I think that Herschel DID know that she was in the barn, but hid it from the others.

spence's picture
spence from planet is reading Books November 30, 2011 - 7:45am

It's merely an ok show when it could be great. I haven't seen every episode but i did see the last few this season. The thing that gets on my nerves the most is that every time two people are on screen, it's an argument. It's like there's no conflict because the zombies only appear once every 5 episodes or so (seems like it to a casual viewer like me) and they make up for it by having everyone mad and arguing all the time. They need to get off the farm too, it's boring as fuck.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading A lot of Brian Evenson November 30, 2011 - 7:46am

And just to clarify, my personal gripe with the show isn't the pace or the focus. It is the crummy acting and annoying characters.

David Paul's picture
David Paul from Greenwich, CT is reading The Raw Shark Text November 30, 2011 - 7:55am

I am in full agreement... The Walking Dead could now be more accurately titled The Walking Around.  Yet somehow, for a show where nothing ever happens, they've managed to create plot holes wide enough for a RV to pass through safely. I now have contempt for this show and have sinced moved on to American Horror Story.  With intelligent subplots, strong female leads including Jessica Lange, and a story line that is jam packed full of bombshell events, it's become the not-to-miss show in my weekly routine... especially since if you do miss one episode, you're likely to become lost in the shifting plot.  And the interesting rumor is that season two will include a mostly new cast as 'the house' is the central character of the show.  My only fear is that the writing is so ambitious and the subplots are so intertwined, the story may hit some dead ends one day, or the payoff might miss.  But so far, so good. In the end, the contrast in the entertainment value between AHS and Walking Dead is stark.  I want to feel affection for WD, but instead I feel let down.  

CrispinXV's picture
CrispinXV from Chicago is reading Damned by Chuck Palahniuk November 30, 2011 - 8:08am

I agree with some of your assessments, such as T-Dog and the female characters being very static, but I do believe that this season is only getting better and better.  The writers hinted that Herschel knew about Sophia because the son came running in saying "It happened again" so they knew that Sophia got stuck in the mud which makes sense because Daryl found the doll in the river bank.  And yes, this is a drama about the humans and I think the drama is high tension associated with zombie backdrop.  But there does need some more zombie action and more explanation about the zombies.  My one huge grip with the show is that they call them "walkers."  This is supposedly present day or near future.  Everyone born after 1900 knows the term zombie and what it means.

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this November 30, 2011 - 8:15am

To clarify a point that's come up twice so far--I don't believe this show would be made better by turning it into Resident Evil. Quite the opposite. What this show needs is characters who aren't obnoxious and writing that makes sense. I thought the final moment of the last episode was fantastic--for all of Shane's fury and posturing, Rick is the one who doesn't hesitate. 

More of that. Less Lori being a bitch and T-Dog filling a quota and Daryl being the only capable character. 

tcopsey's picture
tcopsey November 30, 2011 - 9:10am

I too want big things out of this, but it really has suffered from poor writing. What happened to the zombies having amazing senses of smell? In the first series, Rick and Glenn had to smear themselves with dead zombie gampf so to escape them, first episode of series two they can just lie under cars as they shamble past.

A horrible, misogynistic show from a brilliant concept, wasting a huge budget.

Kirk's picture
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Kirk from Pingree Grove, IL is reading The Book Of The New Sun November 30, 2011 - 10:05am

I can't agree with 9 more. The women on this show are so terribly written, it's almost uncomfortable to watch.

Tommy Lombardozzi's picture
Tommy Lombardozzi November 30, 2011 - 11:15am

Good work, Rob. I also run hot and cold with this show. I continue to watch it because there are aspects I DO enjoy, but I contuinually wonder what it will take to push the story along.

I never read the comics, so I don't know where things will go... but looking at the show as it's own entity, I often question how they will make this cast of characters evolve and sustain. Because really, they're all very caricature. I like Dale... and Daryl when he's not ebing a cliche.

 

I'll keep watching, because, well... why not... ?

.'s picture
. November 30, 2011 - 11:18am

I blame Kirkman and Moore. I also blame the writers of the show for following the graphic novel so closely. The dialogue in the graphic novel sucks. The show tends to be boring and predictable without any well written "drama." The action scenes are good. I'm reminded of Romero in that sense. The Walking Dead is no Breaking Bad or Mad Men but I'm reminded that if I flip the channel off AMC, I risk watching a reality show. And AMC, yes you, what is with this mid-finale business? The ratings of your shows are top notch, demand more money to keep your shows on television! Also, I get a creeping feeling they will continue to follow the story line of the graphic novel. (Introducing the new character w/ the sword, the sub-plot of Shane.)

Kirk's picture
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Kirk from Pingree Grove, IL is reading The Book Of The New Sun November 30, 2011 - 11:23am

Everyone does mid-season finales this time of the year because the ratings take a huge shit since everyone is out doing holiday stuff.

Anthony Zummo's picture
Anthony Zummo November 30, 2011 - 11:25am

Alot of people seem to be annoyed with this show. I've been reading the walking dead since 2005 and even the comics had there long and boring moments (mentioned in the article above). But when I heard they were making a show about it, I knew it would be boring for most people who just want to see blood and gore and gunfire every second of every show. The people who truly just enjoy most of the show understand how the comics were and do not have high expectations of zombiness. Not to mention, the locations the characters are in. Have you ever read the zombie survival guide? You won't find many people/zombies in the country or out of a populated place. So how can you expect them to always be fighting zombies in every episode?
As far as people being obnoxious and whiny, can you say you would be calm and collected if something like this were to truly happen? Most people should take their mind away from Hollywood thinking that blood and explosions are best and just convert what you expect into more of an observation of what your watching.

I think if zombies were in every episode, people would just get bored of it and complain about them becoming to hokey. It's not a movie that needs to pump action into an hour and a half. Its a series that needs to have ups and downs and yes the charcters need to have interesting dialogue. Even the books were about the human reaction to terrible times, not the zombies. So I agree that the writing can be improved but I think most people are looking for something that is not going to happen.

But I will agree that a change of writing is always good to help with the arching storyline. Bring in some new blood and see what can happen. But i'm not completely done with this show. There is plenty worse crap out there. I'll just say vampires

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this November 30, 2011 - 11:40am

I didn't ask for them to be fighting zombies every episode. I asked for better writing. 

miked's picture
miked from Los Angeles is reading White Noise November 30, 2011 - 12:04pm

As hit on in the article, I think the major problem with the show is that no one is likable at all, with the possible exception of Daryl.

One thing the comic, over the long haul, did well was showing how decent people turned into animals given their situation. There's an obvious hypothesis in there about humanity in general, and it's clear given the circumstances. In the show, they START out as dicks. Therefore, I could really care less if they all die.

Patrick Abbott's picture
Patrick Abbott November 30, 2011 - 12:09pm

Agree with the writing sentiments. Sometimes it feels like the writers are taking it in shifts. Some of the characters are getting good development and more screen time, Daryl and Glenn specifically. Seriously, during the 'barn storming', I thought brilliant, that whiny fucker Shane is heading for gourmet time, but no chance. 

It needs a bit of a shakeup and like the end of season one, a group we care about needs to hit the road, but without Shane, Dale, whiny Lori and Andrea (she will side with Shane) and let them meet a few more along the way. I have hope for this series if the writers can get their arses into gear, keep the monologues if you must.. relevant, plug up the holes ..ohh and maybe a few aliens ...kidding.

ColinMac's picture
ColinMac November 30, 2011 - 12:37pm

I've read a lot of people talking of this plot hole of how the people of the barn must have realized it was Sophia in the barn.

I'm not debating that they probably knew, but they were also keeping the walkers in the barn a secret from Rick's group so it makes complete sense to me that they wouldn't tell them about Sophia being in there.

Rob's picture
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Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this November 30, 2011 - 12:44pm

ColinMac - I sort of agree with you, and I sort of don't. At that point, Carl and Daryl were both well enough to be up and moving around. They were only staying to look for Sophia (and also because they wanted to live there).

If Hershel wanted them off the farm so bad, he could have pulled out Sophia, said, "There you go, now get the fuck out of here." 

And it just seems sort of fucked up that he would allow them to search for the girl with the inherent risk. Daryl came back with an arrow in his side. Lot of pain and suffering that could have been avoided. 

Even if he didn't want to reveal the true intentions of the barn, he could have probably figured something out - he really wanted them to leave. That was the drive of the past few episodes. 

I'm fine at suspending my disbelief and rolling with a well-told story, but I don't believe this is a well-told story. The logical gaps are huge. 

CSUMSW11's picture
CSUMSW11 November 30, 2011 - 12:59pm

I guess that I just want to know why Daryl ins't a zombie. Get bit by one or scratched and its maggot sack time. The arrow that he got stuck by had been used to shoot zombies. wasn't it infected.

Kirk's picture
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Kirk from Pingree Grove, IL is reading The Book Of The New Sun November 30, 2011 - 1:12pm

Spoiler below

What I'm really curious to see is if the show follows the comic and goes with the whole, "everyone who dies turns into a zombie" regardless of if they get bit.

.'s picture
. November 30, 2011 - 2:09pm

^ Yes agreed!

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. November 30, 2011 - 9:32pm

*SPOILERS*

I read the Walking Dead Compendium not too long ago and was blown away by how awesome it was.  That being said, I didn't think the first season of WD was that bad, at least the pace moved along quickly.  This season has been a disaster.  The little girl plotline dragged out way too long, yeah Shane is cool and has that He-man thing going on but they need to have what happens to him in the comic happen on the show because it's very significant to Rick's character turning towards the dark side.  At this point, that's the only thing that will make him more interesting.  Lori is coming off as a totally selfish bitch at this point but then again in the comic she was that way too.  They ruined Andrea's character, she has been a total wimp and whiner all season.  Glenn and Daryl are probably my favorite characters.  I like Maggie but she does act odd.  They just need to get off the damn farm and find the prison and meet Tyrone (I think that's his name, the black dude) and Michonne.  The quicker we get to the Governor storyline and the zombie heads gurgling in jars the better.  This show could be sooooo much better considering the source material, I think that's what sucks so much.  I agree, with shows like Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, etc.  It's hard to put up with shows that drag.  Can we mention how utterly unnecessary the Talking Dead show is?  Like an hour of chit chat needs a recap.

 

CStodd's picture
CStodd from NY is reading Annie Prouxl's Fine Just the Way It Is November 30, 2011 - 9:55pm

Another way to make The Walking Dead less stupid is to give Jon Bernthal some acting lessons. The guy is clearly channeling every tough guy facial tick since DeNiro and then storms off with that weird oger stomp. Oh yeah, same goes for the blonde actress. Overacting every scene. 

spence's picture
spence from planet is reading Books December 1, 2011 - 9:20am

I like the way her boobs swing though.

TheyBredRaptors's picture
TheyBredRaptors from In a van down by the river, NY is reading The Hobbit, which I read EVERY December December 2, 2011 - 11:24am

Excellent article!

You make great points as to the character development. T-Dog should be given more of a story-line as right now he is worthless. To me, it always a sign that a character needs to be developed more if you are apathetic as to their fate in the story.  I also agree that Lori needs to stop being written as this awful person, even though I think it may be pointless. Pointless because if you look at the first episode they were setting it up for Lori and Rick's relationship to be fractured with the conversation he and Shane were having in the car. 

I understood the point you were trying to make with them needing more zombies. The part in the first season where Glenn and Rick wore the Zombie suits and walked out into the streets was nail biting. They had many great moments of suspense which you thought they were going to continue in epic fashion with Season two, episode 1, but they lost it. I feel like with all their moments on the Farm we have lost the concept of how shattered and scary the world truly is at this point.

My only disagreement with you is the whole Sophia in the Barn plot. I find that it is completely plausible that no one knew Sophia was in the barn. My biggest theory is that we established in the first episode the Walkers may now be herding. One of largest aspects of any herd is how there is always hierarchy within it. I know Sophia left the barn last because they wanted an epic climax. However, perhaps it serves another purpose, just maybe the Walkers in the Barn were herding and Sophia is one of the weakest in the packs. Therefore, she was always off in the corner, making it difficult for someone feeding them to see her. Also, Otis' wife was the one who was feeding them and I doubt she spent a long time looking down into this dark barn to check out who was inside. She probably threw the Chickens in as per Hershel's orders and walked off.

Anyway, I could spend all day discussing why it is more plausible for them to not know Sophia was in there than know she was.

Once again, great article!

Ben Umstead's picture
Ben Umstead from L.A. is reading Speedboat by Renata Adler December 3, 2011 - 10:21am

I enjoyed this article far more than I ever enjoyed the actual show. I tuned out long ago and have been fine with that decision; I have plenty of TV to watch. Checking in with your article, Rob, I'm reminded why this was a clunker from the get-go. So thanks for that, I'll never have to tune in again!

Rachel Harris's picture
Rachel Harris from Cumberland Basin is reading mindless fluff (god, its so hard to get through, ugh) December 3, 2011 - 6:05pm

Loved your article!  Writing these pedantic character dramas really hit a crescendo with LOST, and the writers of the the Walking Dead seem to have mirrored the LOST pattern: the illogical and annoying contrived formulaic interactions of the characters.  They need writers that haven't been sent through the pattern and formula mill, because i don't think i can take much more of this formulaic crap they keep churning out, it's really annoying, not entertainment, but aggravation.

Again, thanks for the article, it had me saying yes! when i was reading it :)

 

Rob's picture
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Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this December 4, 2011 - 12:41pm

Rachel - glad you liked it. I'm actually rewatching Lost now, since I have some distance from it, and I'm currently near the start of the third season, which spent a lot of time spinning it's wheels, but still, I think what Lost has over The Walking Dead is that, at least in my opinion, the characters were much more compelling, and the actors they chose much more watchable. Nobody on The Walking Dead, outside of Daryl and sometimes Shane, have much presence. I think one of the areas that helped Lost, especially in the beginning, were smart casting choices. I will vigorously defend my stance that, with such a large cast spread out over six seasons, there were relatively few clunkers. 

What Lost did well--which The Walking Dead is failing at--is to successfully make the show about the characters. I wanted Charlie to kick the heroin and Sayid to believe he was a worthwhile human being and Jack to get over himself and Hurley to develop a backbone. I don't give a shit about a single character on The Walking Dead and they could all die and I would be cool with it. 

Then again, I'm also in the slim minority of people who was satisfied with the ending of Lost, so take that as you will. 

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading A lot of Brian Evenson December 4, 2011 - 2:44pm

The Lost finale was a travesty of justice and should be tried as a war crime.

Rob's picture
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Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this December 4, 2011 - 6:03pm

Disagree.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 6, 2011 - 6:08am

   I realize I am arriving to this party late, yet there are some factors I would like to address. I recall a piece of news that stated Darabont had issues with the writing schedule. The average day was quoted as hovering around sixteen hours. Considering the final product, I find this hard to accept. If it is true, I find it maddening. I think the current storylines are cursory efforts at best. The writers seem determined to reinforce the same cloying ideas that most all religions and certain philosophies present (I am looking at you Altruism) which bleed through to so much of what we ingest as entertainment. Where is the frenzy that would consume these characters? Where is the abandon that would color their actions? Why could they (the writers, producers, et cetera) not attempt to actually make a ground breaking series and push to sell frequent departures and fresh infusions of talent? A cast in a constant state of flux? This premise would certainly support it.

   While it is obvious the focus of the story is the human reaction to an epidemic, a possible extinction event, I find said reactions unrealistic. A survivor would have more to fear from his fellow primates than any shuffling corpse. There would be constant, violent struggles for dominance of any "pack" which formed. These packs would also find themselves under attack from other groups or individuals. I suggest that psychology supports the notion that the human animal would revert to a more primal approach to survival. In reality there are riots (recently) over deals on useless consumer goods, deaths even. Are we really supposed to accept that in a world stripped of societal injunctions, the rule of law, that the myth of our better natures would win out over our depthless capacity for cruelty and self-preservation? I think not. Again, given the premise, I see the series as a wasted opportunity to truly explore human nature. To show the viewer how we would truly look and act under those circumstances.

   Considering I have more than likely angered a few of you already, I will press on and alienate myself further. To the fans who are waiting patiently for the introduction of a sword carrying übermenschlich, my question is why? Is it not unbelievable enough already? Have the years of fetishizing comic book characters and their celluloid counterparts really left you so dulled and eager to embrace yet another so painfully unimaginative creation? This is not the fucking X-men. Must you scream for every bit of your entertainment to be so ... monotonous? I feel your desires for this type of character in everything is part of the problem. The "badass" is overrated. If you want a better product, you must be a more discerning consumer.

   I appreciate the discussion.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 6, 2011 - 10:53am

At this point, a talking dog with a human head would be a welcome relief to the monotony of the show so of course we want Michonne.  Although I do agree with you, there should be more groups fighting against each other, the people would be worse than the zombies.  That's why in the comic I found the *spoiler alert* cannibal storyline plausible.  The way that the show is now makes it seem like 99.9% of the population is dead. 

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long December 6, 2011 - 11:23am

   I am honestly surprised the writing team has not explored this element. They completely botched the only aspect which approached it, the episode titled Vatos.

deadchristmastrees's picture
deadchristmastrees from Philadelphia is reading The Real War on Crime December 9, 2011 - 9:14am

Glad I'm not alone!  I agree with just about everything thats been said. Esp #4 and #1! Just start over.  I desperate for a good zombie show and so are alot of people(why else would anyone gravitate to this garbage?).  I made a lot of the same points that the author did on my facebook and people just attacked me!  Its ok to like a show and still admit it sucks people...

I havent watched the last episode and i dont plan on going out of my way to either.  I've kind of given up...  Its so sad when a show with so much potential does nothing but disapoint...

Just put some more zombies in and I'll shut up!  Hell, I watch a ton of crappy horror movies that have weak characters and no real plot...but they have ZOMBIES and blood to make up for it.  Of course in this day and age of great v shows there is no reason the walking dead cant have both.

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human December 20, 2011 - 4:24am

The show's limited due to a huge cut in it's budget (blame Mad Men). Not only that Frank Darabont and the orignal writing cast were fired (aside from Kirkman). That's the reason why there are so many dialogues. Not only that but the central focus of the story is the drama between all the survivors, not the zombies, and how they cope with living in a world full of the undead. I think everyone expects some action gorefest which would only take away from the plot and make it some cheesy thriller. I do admit this season is lacking though, the whole finding Sofia portion was ridiculous. I would like more zombies, but hey, when you have a budget like theirs what would you do?

They need to introduce Tyreese and the Governor.

Pearce Patriott's picture
Pearce Patriott January 2, 2012 - 7:39pm

I hve another way to make this show less retarded....How about the protagonist, a cop no less, a guy trained to be inquisitive and ask questons, ASK SOME FU**ING QUESTIONS!!!!!????

Why doesn't the protagonist ask the humans -- the first ones he has seen "alive" since waking from a coma -- WHAT THE FU**CK IS GOING ON GUYS?????!!!!" This is the most fundamental, simple question that any person with even a smidgen of thought would think to ask the first person he/she sees. But this guy just seems to accept the fact that, after waking from a coma, his family has vanished and everyone is now a zombie! WTF? DId the writers of this show miss this point? Did they really think we would just ignore this most important question?

They just thought that we would just suspend belief and "go with it"? Really? How about the cop saying...what the hell guys? The last thing I remember is getting shot and then I wake up to find everyone dead and zombies. What the hell fellas? How long was I in a coma? When did this start? Is this happening al around the world?" etc. etc.  

I was screaming this into the screen. Ugh. Why bother? I set my standards way too high it seems. It IS on Netflix. That should have been my first red flag. Too bad. I was hoping to get into this show. Now all I want is to see this moron, who is about as inquisitive as one of the zombies, get killed so at least there is some satisfaction.

 

nicktrout's picture
nicktrout February 3, 2012 - 11:32am

Hi everyone. I had a lot more fun reading this article and all your comments than watching the show. I agree with all the criticisms. It pains me to watch. Here's one you all missed. This should have been a red flag from the get-go.

It is about the iconic photo of the show. One lane is full of the people trying to escape post-apocalyptic Atlanta. The other lane is empty except for the show's protagonist on a horse. Cool photo to be sure. But, here's what I don't get. The world is ending, zombies are coming and yet nobody dares try to leave the city by driving in the wrong lanes. Unless it proves what I always suspected that people are more concerned about oncoming traffic than zombies, it shows the people who make this show do not think logic is a guiding force in telling stories. 

 

 
sterculius's picture
sterculius March 19, 2012 - 1:06am

Wait you're complaining about stupid writing and you want them to bring in Michonne? She was one of the silliest worst comic book cliches of the novels.

Deep Thinker's picture
Deep Thinker March 19, 2012 - 5:51am

All very good points, great article. I'm in two minds about Walking Dead. There have been a lot of problems, but I really think it has picked up in the back half of season 2. It still has to make up ground, but I have seen improvements and am optimistic. 

The points about T-Dog and the females being useless to the show is absolutely spot on. I don't mind deep and meaningful discussions. Some of the characters are great - Daryl, Glen, Herschelle and Maggie.

I also think Lori is really good. Who says you have to like all the characters?You just have to relate to them. In Lori's case, she is torn between two men, who are passive aggressive towards each other, one of them going crazy and erratic, she is pregnant and doesn't know who the father is, she feeling of shame for having an affair, confusion and uncertainty about the future, and fear for the safety of her husband, son, ex lover and unborn child. These are the perfect ingredients of turning into a cold hard bitch. Who can blame her from putting her family first over the group? She has more to lose than the others and this is what makes her different. 

Rick and Shane are good but a bit one dimensional, and there is no subtelty when their personality changes. Not like Walter White, in Breaking Bad for example, where the changes are so gradual it is brilliant.   

Here are my top 10 problems with the show  -

(1) Season 1 was very rushed, while parts of season 2 dragged on for ages

(2) The explosion in the research facility at the end of season 1 was lame - it would have been better if it was overrun and the scientist became part of the group, rather than the scientist trying to kill everyone. A scientist would have added to the group dynamic and given the group some innovative survival strategies.  

(3) The fact that there was only one scientist who hadn't suicided in the research facility was very "neat" but utterly implausible that when the group arrived he was the only one left

(4) Everyone praying at the altar one by one early in season 2 was laboured and boring

(5) The search and rescue went for far too long, and there was too much trust in Herschelle's word that he didn't know about Sophia, and I can't see how they could have dragged these zombies in without anyone noticing

(6) The debate about whether people should have guns was plain dumb (come on people, it is a zombie apocalypse! Of course you need guns!)

(7) Season 2 felt like they were stuck on a farm that until late in the show seemed immune to zombie intrusions, which was not believable, and when zombies did come they all of a sudden became easy to kill (whereas at the beginning Rick could even kill two to save Sophia)

(8) There was a lost opportunity of bringing the neighbouring gang into the script when Shane killed Randall - in fact, I thought the group as a whole were too distrustful of Randell given he was a young kid, abandoned by his group, and you could forgive him for taking the option of safety in numbers.   

(9) The Dale / Andrea interplay was plain annoying - it didn't lead anywhere and seemed like a filler that was there for the sake of it. In fact, they are both poor actors and displayed little character development. 

(10) When Maggie's sister was contemplating suicide, I felt like "Hear we go again". It had already been done earlier in the series in a very laboured way. 

But most of these criticisms span from episode 3 of season 1 to the first half of season 2. As I said, I think it is picking up, so fingers crossed for season 3. 

Deep Thinker's picture
Deep Thinker March 20, 2012 - 5:25am

To Mick Cory  from Kentucky re your post on December 6, 2011, let me say this:

You have misread the situation by posing a very elementary question that is very easy to answer. Really, I think you have a pretty one dimensional take on human behaviour generally. 

As far as the show is concerned, there are plenty of instances where the group has legitimate reasons to fear its "fellow primates" (as you put it). There was the distrust for the group at the nursing home. There was the group at the bar wanting to steal their farm. There was the Randall situation. There was Shane killing Otis. There was the Shane vs Rick thing. Seriously? Have you even watched the show? I strongly disagree that all you see is altruism in this show and notwithstanding your flowery language, you are hard pressed to back up your argument with any real evidence. 

As for your take on human behaviour, I think you have a pretty superficial idea as to how people respond in a crisis. Do you really think that everyone is going to resort to killing each other over scraps of food? Yes there will be people who do, but they will not survive in the long run. The ones who survive are the ones who work together. You can't survive in a world dominated by blood thirsty zombies without having people watching your back - which means giving, sharing, teamwork, collaboration, taking risks for one another and generally finding a way to live together. This is not a weakness for a survivor - it is an asset. As the old adage goes "what goes around comes around" - everyone is better off if the group as a whole invests in each other's survival.

As for your comments on the sword wielding maniac - I am not as presumptious as you seem to be and shall reserve my judgement. This tv series does not follow the comic book to the letter. I will wait to see what happens so that I can offer an informed opinion. I suggest that you do so as well.

Deep Thinker's picture
Deep Thinker March 20, 2012 - 5:25am

To Mick Cory  from Kentucky re your post on December 6, 2011, let me say this:

You have misread the situation by posing a very elementary question that is very easy to answer. Really, I think you have a pretty one dimensional take on human behaviour generally. 

As far as the show is concerned, there are plenty of instances where the group has legitimate reasons to fear its "fellow primates" (as you put it). There was the distrust for the group at the nursing home. There was the group at the bar wanting to steal their farm. There was the Randall situation. There was Shane killing Otis. There was the Shane vs Rick thing. Seriously? Have you even watched the show? I strongly disagree that all you see is altruism in this show and notwithstanding your flowery language, you are hard pressed to back up your argument with any real evidence. 

As for your take on human behaviour, I think you have a pretty superficial idea as to how people respond in a crisis. Do you really think that everyone is going to resort to killing each other over scraps of food? Yes there will be people who do, but they will not survive in the long run. The ones who survive are the ones who work together. You can't survive in a world dominated by blood thirsty zombies without having people watching your back - which means giving, sharing, teamwork, collaboration, taking risks for one another and generally finding a way to live together. This is not a weakness for a survivor - it is an asset. As the old adage goes "what goes around comes around" - everyone is better off if the group as a whole invests in each other's survival.

As for your comments on the sword wielding maniac - I am not as presumptious as you seem to be and shall reserve my judgement. This tv series does not follow the comic book to the letter. I will wait to see what happens so that I can offer an informed opinion. I suggest that you do so as well.

JustanotherTVjunkie's picture
JustanotherTVjunkie June 30, 2012 - 9:37pm

I agree with all of the criticisms of this show, I have not watched this show since the beginning of the second season.  I just couldn't take the repetitive stupidity of the characters.  Though like many others I was hopeful at the beginning of the first season - though riding on horse back into an abandoned zombie-filled city by oneself is really really questionable.  

I have never seen a group of people with so little survival ability or thinkingness [yes I know that's not a real word].  These folks are so unadaptable and dimwitted that if any of them (prior to the arrival of the zombies) missed a connecting flight at an airport they would never be able to find their way to anywhere (or figure out that they could ask someone) and they would die of starvation in the airport. 

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the writers thought they were creating - other than a group of morons lead by imbeciles.  Part of the problem appears to be that the writers may all be big fans of "Survivor" and they thought that the show is a reality story and that it was really about survival.  Too bad, such a shame for such an interesting concept.  I guess its back to National Geographic, Science, TCM, CMT, or PBS for something worth watching (sigh).

Sorry I couldn't provide any commentary on the recent episodes - but I have stopped watching the show.

 

Steven Chao's picture
Steven Chao December 2, 2012 - 8:29pm

I actually think introducing Michonne destroys some of the realism of the show. Sure a show about zombies isn't all based on realism in the first place, but I liked the fact that any character could die. Michonne brings this aura of invincibility and super heroism. This isn't a show about someone who is has seemingly super ninja skills that can't be touched by zombies. People aren't going to be like that in real life. People are going to be stupid. People are gonna make mistakes and not think straight. Whether that results from poor writing or is actually planned is ok with me. 

André Farhat's picture
André Farhat February 28, 2013 - 1:39pm

What I've learned from The Walking Dead

Zombies have a very acute sense of smell, sometimes.
Zombies can smell flesh from what appears to be miles away. However, if you keep perfectly still and silent inside a motorhome lavatory, they will not detect you.
Also, whereas under a tank will not mask your odor, any sedan will serve as a perfectly good hiding place from a "herd" of roving undead.

One drop of zombie blood is potentially lethal. Unless…
Unless it splashes on to you after you poked through their brains with a screwdriver.

Zombies have a real hard time walking at a regular pace or in a straight line. However…
they can get to running when a young nourishing lassie tries to escape into the woods. They are surprisingly adept at running through uneven branch and snag encumbered grounds, and doing so without ever tripping or slowing down.

Some dead are harder than others.
Zombies will not take no for an answer, and require a severe gang pounding to cease from driving at your brains. Still, light-framed women can often carry that message across, with the simple aid of a screwdriver to the head.

Acting skills are not required.
To snatch yourself a part in a series featuring masses of unexpressive, clueless and uncharismatic creatures wandering in a post-apocalyptic setting, all you need is great makeup and a filthy wardrobe. The same goes for the people playing the zombies.

Good actors translate emotion into expressions. Bad actors try to create emotion out of expressions: remember now, eyes wide open and jaws fully clenched!

And the guy who plays Shane took some acting lessons at the Keanu Reeves Academy (while trying really hard to pass for Robert De Niro).

Keep calm and carry on… after being raided by tens of man-eating undead.
If ever you've halted in the middle of an abandoned highway just to have your picnic interrupted by a swarm of monsters who just about ate your children—without prior notification—assume that this is just an isolated incident and go about your business without rushing yourself. Oh! and there's a little girl missing.

The cardinal rule of fantasy is that…
Canonically, in superhero stories, superhero fantasies don't exist. That is, people are oblivious to the concept of heroes and villains endowed with superpowers. However, in latter years, metareferences have been exploited with relative wit (Super, Defendor…) or not (Heroes).
It usually the case with tales of the Undead. Here, people never refer to the walking dead (hey! that's the title) as zombies, but rather as walkers or geeks, which you be, I guess, the vernacular form used maybe by young hip people. This tells us that in this universe, nobody's ever wrote about zzzombies! Let's chalk that up to a narrative device that by extraction, aims to prevent unwelcome ties to "the rrreeal world", where geeks (the real ones) could just always complain about how there are so many obvious ways to kill a zombie. Although just around 50 to kill a lover.

André Farhat's picture
André Farhat February 28, 2013 - 1:58pm

On T-Dog. I found it helped to shout "T-DOG!" every time someone said his name, but they just keep calling T-Dog–T-DOG!– less and less. Shame.

Brodie Slenderman Corte's picture
Brodie Slenderm... October 28, 2013 - 3:20pm

you all havent got to seson 3 and 4 one good shit happens a show starts slow on the first two seson but by the third seson (i hav had many experiancse with this case) get really good so if you quit now youll miss out on a bad ass show and the taling diolog gives it  a more feel to relisem and carle becomes a bad ass in the future so give teh show a fucking brea

ljlloyd's picture
ljlloyd November 14, 2013 - 7:42am

Rob,

Now that "Walking Dead" is into Season 4, do you still have the same opinions?

I agree that Season 2 was slow and filled with annoying characters reciting boring monologes. Season 3 was slightly better, but I wish we knew why the Govenor was such a psychopath. And don't even get me started on what the writers did with the Andrea character! oi! Season 4, however, is rocking. Rick is back to being his sanctomonial self and making decisions for everyone else. People are dying horrible deaths every other scene, and the zombies just broke through the fence! Looking forward to seeing how this season ends.

 

mrcritic's picture
mrcritic December 4, 2013 - 5:12pm

Another episode of the 4th season ,never seen so much stuppidity, or not ?

Is it because humanity is going back in evolution people getting dumber .

the scenery gets realy boring ,nothing hapend ,everybody goes his own stupid way

putting a knive in a zombie head by the fence ,why not dig a canal ,are there no machines in this World anymore ,were are the big shovals .no we are stupid and still ,getting stuck with there suv on a pile of zombies ??

its almost a insult to the intelligence of the viewers

Those writers have no imagination  at all .