Alienating My Audience: Spitting Truth about AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’

Posted in Horror, TV on October 16th, 2012 by Nick

The Walking Dead premiered this week and from a ratings perspective, the outlook is good. Very good.  The third season premiere attracted 10.9 million viewers (a mind-blowing number for cable!), defending its title as the most successful basic cable drama of all time in the adult demo. But dammit, it’s time to spit some truth on this zombie craze.

The Walking Dead tells the tale of Rick Grimes, his family, and a slew of survivors of a blood-splattering, intestine-eating zombie apocalypse. The show is an adaptation of a monthly black and white comic book series, created by Robert Kirkman, who also serves as an Executive Producer on the show. Although the show captures some of the meat of the books, I still feel like the true guts of the story remain largely uneaten.

When the show first hit our living rooms, it was a huge victory for the Horror genre. A television show about zombies was being produced and was actually going to air! The books had a steady fan base, zombies were the new rising trend, and Kirkman and effects master Greg Nicotero were both signed on. Epic win! Although I enjoy The Walking Dead enough, I still can’t get over the fact that the show isn’t living up to its full potential. Sure, the zombies look great, the blood and gore is spot on, but much of the characterization of our beloved survivors is gone. I’m not loving the cast (Laurie Holden’s Andrea is my favorite, yet I fight the urge to fast forward every time Sarah Wayne Callies opens her mouth), or the adaptations of who these characters are. It’s very telling when comic book art can present more emotion than actors and actresses on screen, but in this case, the book’s art and writing really do win out.

It’s also no surprise that Season 2 had pacing problems. We searched for Sophia for what seemed like an eternity, and even when words were exchanged, the series really wasn’t saying much – about society, or about the lives and relationships of these people we’re peering in on. It doesn’t feel cohesive. The only true emotional punch this show delivered was the shocking discovery that Sophia was a zombie, hidden inside Herschel’s barn. Once we got over the awesomeness of zombies on TV, viewers waited a full season and a half before getting a shocking, real, emotional payoff.

Season three’s premiere episode got “back to its roots” of killing zombies. Though I love some delicious violence, this running, gun toting, and stab-y goodness begins to lose its effectiveness when the characters behind it aren’t as strong as they could be…and should be. Because of this, the tension has dissipated. The show really needs to tighten up and dig deep inside of these characters in order to highlight the traits that readers of the book know and love. There’s still so much more potential hidden in this narrative than what we’ve been presented with.

Perhaps my standards are too high. Maybe shows like Mad Men, Homeland and Dexter have raised my expectations. Or maybe there’s just too much competition in TV nowadays. Let’s face it – Rick Grimes is no Don Draper. Although I still watch The Walking Dead, I don’t crave it like I do when the gang from Sterling Cooper Draper Price returns. And being such a Horror fan at heart, I really wish I did.

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Betty Draper Must Die.

Posted in TV on April 6th, 2012 by Nick

Is there anything worse in the world than Betty Draper on Mad Men? Sure, there’s that whole world hunger thing, but have you even heard Betty Draper’s whiny, complaining voice lately?! Nails on a blackboard, I tell you!

Mad Men is back in full force, and all seemed to be right again as far as my DVR schedule is concerned. But then Episode 2 happened (entitled “Tea Leaves”). The episode focused on Fat Betty Draper who is eating a ton and getting fat because she’s depressed. Then, we got a red herring!  What was that, Matthew Weiner? Betty might have cancer? Oh, nope. She’s just unhappy. Again.

Focusing on Betty this early in the game (or at all) is the worst idea ever because it pumps the breaks on a show just starting to build momentum again. And by “pump the breaks,” I mean it brings these mad men to a screeching halt. (Totally fell for the red herring too. How would Betty’s death affect Don’s new life? And what about the children? WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?).

I used to sympathize with January Jones’s character a lot. Don was an inattentive, cheating asshole and Betty deserved happiness, right? To feel like she was loved and cared for? After all, she is the mother of his children!

Well, fuck her. I’m done with that shit.

Needless to say, January Jones is equally as terrible as the character itself. And there, my gentle readers, is the double-whammy! January Jones is unable to show any emotion in her face at all, and this is sort of one of the main principles of acting. I don’t think you have to go to Julliard or The University of Acting Awesomeness to figure that one out. Have you ever seen X-Men: First Class? It’s like Betty Draper ran away from Don and became a superhero! Exhibit B: Saturday Night Live. Among a cast of ridiculously tight pros, January and her character are just so, so out of place. Kind of like an undercover cop at a Phish show.

This is why I’ve decided that Betty Draper Must Die. Speak it. Spread it to friends. Hashtag that shit on Twitter. #BettyDraperMustDie. Without Betty Draper whoring around, ruining things, and wasting precious minutes of our beloved show, Mad Men would be nearly perfect.

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Matthew Weiner: The Maddest Man of All?

Posted in TV on March 29th, 2011 by Nick

AMC’s Mad Men isn’t returning until 2012. This atrocious news was brought about by this statement from the cable network:

AMC has officially authorized production of season 5 of Mad Men, triggering our option with Lionsgate. While we are getting a later start than in years past due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations, Mad Men will be back for a fifth season in early 2012.

Contract disputes are the pits. Show creator Matthew Weiner is disputing his contract with AMC (apparently $30 mil for two seasons isn’t enough?). But to his defense, AMC is demanding that two minutes be cut for extra ads, plus they want to add product placement and cut two regular cast members (GASP!).

While Weiner shouldn’t get too greedy, can’t AMC avoid messing with a production that’s working!? I guess it’s a different world for cable: They allow quieter, niche shows the necessary time to develop and find an audience and in return, increase their demands once a show wins 1,100 Emmys. Can we blame them?

The blame game is irrelevant. Donald Draper, Peggy Olson and that delicious Joan Holloway won’t be gracing our screens until next year. It’s a lose-lose-lose for AMC, Weiner…and us.

Thanks to V.J. for the tip

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And now, a violent zombie video.

Posted in Horror on March 9th, 2011 by Nick

This video claims to consist of “every” zombie death from AMC’s The Walking Dead. Though I feel it may be missing a few, it’s still a violent romp through the delicious world of zombies.

OK, maybe “delicious” is the wrong word there…

 

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Sad Don Draper is so sad…and funny!

Posted in Check It Out!, TV on September 9th, 2010 by Nick

Poor Don Draper. He’s so sad! He lost the only person who really knew who he was (OR DID HE, PEGGY OLSON!?) so now he cries and is sad all the time. IT’S SO SAD.

Sad Don Draper, the incredible blog I wish I created, is both a testament to the man himself, and a satire of a wonderful show that maybe needs a few extra laughs here and there. Here are a few of my faves, but be sure to check out the site for yourself for some extra fun.

He’s so SAD.

All jokes aside, Mad Men‘s episode last week was mindfuckingly radical. “The Suitcase,” an episode largely revolving around the characters Don Draper and Peggy Olson and the relationship between the two, was probably one of the best hours of television I have ever witnessed. Besides the entire series of Six Feet Under. And besides the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But right after those…right under those 207 episodes is “The Suitcase”. And 208 isn’t a bad place to be in! We’re talking about the history of television here people!

Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss have this chemistry down to a tee, and their portrayals must, just must earn one or both of them that golden statue come next Emmy season. Draper and Olson’s will-they-won’t-they (let’s hope not!) love for each other is so precious, so forbidden, yet so sincere that the entire show, in my opinion, is really fueled behind these two powerhouses.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d absolutely loathe a Don/Peggy showmance (I mean, have you seen The Office post-Jim/Pam hookup? It’s terrible!). But dammit, I wish every episode walked the tightropes this one did. Not only was Peggy and Don’s relationship further examined, but Don was coping with the death of Anna while Peggy was struggling to stay vested in her relationship with Mark. Both characters, throughout the  course of the series, know what and who they should be…but they still struggle to find inner harmony and happiness. It was such a subtle, and perfect, and amazing episode that I want to coddle it, snuggle next to it, and scream my love for it from a mountaintop.

Also, any episode without Betty or Sally Draper is a huge plus in my book.

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Only four days…

Posted in TV on July 21st, 2010 by Nick

WHO’S EXCITED?

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'Mad Men' set to return this summer

Posted in TV on January 17th, 2009 by Nick

Yep. That’s about all I’ve got. You can read the official report from Variety.

I didn’t read the whole thing because I haven’t seen Season 2 yet and I’m a spoiler-phobe. Such a great show filled with the spirit of the 60′s, yet boasting extreme originality when compared to other types of new programming.

Check out Season 1 on DVD now, if you haven’t already.

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