Bamboo Review: The Walking Dead
There's a basic problem with The Walking Dead: its premise allows a lot of leeway for being awful.
The average episode goes something like this: some personal story is set up with stilted dialogue, then zombies, then another 40 minutes of poorly written and poorly paced plot development happens, then a short zombie scene, another scene where the characters attempt to feign personalities, and then some zombies, explosions, or exploding zombies.
Is there an overarching point to this? Not yet. The living walk, and so do the dead, and periodically something happens to someone where they get hurt or something. We're now in the middle of an interminable plotline where a dude is hurt and a kid is hurt, and – of course – there's a cool setup where zombies are threatening a couple of other people.
The way I measure an episode of Dead is whether I'd watch it if you took out the zombie attacks. I'd watch an episode of The Wire where all they did was sit around and talk about stuff, because the characters on that show just talking about stuff was fascinating. Same for Breaking Bad. Same for a half dozen other shows that could use recurring plot themes as a safety net, but are (usually) well-developed enough to avoid that pitfall. Breaking Bad could get by if it consisted of fifty minutes of waiting for Walt to use chemistry to get out of a jam followed by ten minutes of Walt using said chemistry to get out of said jam.
But then it would just be a procedural drama on CBS.
Zombies are The Walking Dead's version of Urkel. You wait until they show up, you're mildly entertained, and then you patiently sit there waiting until they either show up again or you realize you're too old for this shit. Right now, I'm still nine years old, and still waiting to hear a "did I do that?" before I turn off the set and go to bed happy. Except now it sounds more like a thousand guttural moans periodically interrupted by gunshots.
That would have been the best ending to Family Matters imaginable. Oh, to dream…