The dead have taken over AMC, and people just can’t seem to get enough. Based on the popular series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead continues to be a hit with critics and audiences since its inception back in October 2010.
This past weekend the series returned from its second season hiatus, picking up after the shocking cliffhanger that left Deputy Rick Grimes and his band of survivors killing an entire barn filled with the ravenous undead. Five episodes remain before the second season draws to a close, with a third season already confirmed.
While Rick desperately tries to keep the peace between his people and Hershel’s family, Shane continues his descent into paranoia and insanity. Having already met a grisly fate in the continuity of the comic books, Shane’s rapidly deteriorating mental state in the aftermath of the barn shooting could signal his violent end as the second season finale looms. Rick’s actions in the bar that concluded this week’s episode imply that he has finally learned what it means to be a leader, making the hard decisions for the good of his people.
The Walking Dead’s second season has so far offered some spectacular character moments between the series’ cast, but unfortunately it has come at the expense of the show’s pacing and a significant drop in zombie killings. Thankfully, the resolution of the survivors’ hunt for Sophia creates the foreboding sense that the rocky peace between them and Hershel’s family is ending.
As more people from the outside enter the fray and Rick makes increasingly tougher decisions on how to handle these situations, it becomes obvious that a major change is about to shake up this ragtag group of survivors.
Ultimately, while the first half of this season wasn’t able to deliver the shock and suspense of season one, the second half is shaping up quite nicely, promising more confrontations and more slayings of the undead to satisfy our weekly zombie fix.
I am fascinated by the fact that people are still watching The Walking Dead.
Whether it’s the beyond sluggish pacing, inconsistent and poorly drawn characters or complete lack of gumption, the show is miss-able at best and forgettable at worst. Yet the show saunters on like the zombies it very occasionally shows, and the mid-season premiere continued to try to find the balance between action and character growth after the surprise reveal of the barn last year.
To say the least, I’m still not sold on the show, even less so than I was in the still not great first season. The acting is serviceable and little more and the direction has suffered since Frank Darabont left the show. Scenes are shot blandly and rarely take advantage of television as a medium.
That being said, the biggest problem with the show still plagues every second of programming. For a show about the zombie apocalypse, there never is a real sense of danger. The human protagonists rarely act as if their day-to-day life is threatened and only come in contact with the undead in situations where they seem to know what is coming.
This isn’t the way to set up a show about survival against all odds: it’s the way to set up a soap opera. The status-quo is rarely upset and characters feel static. It seems impossible that a show this bloody, obscene and often disgusting would so pivotally lack guts. Instead, it’s a dull, predictable and entirely uninspired waste of an hour timeslot.