I have come to realize over the past several years that THE WALKING DEAD is a show of moments. What I mean by this is when the show is good, it’s fantastic. But when the ‘good’ wears thin, its merely a tick or two above mediocre. For instance, the first half of the first season was outstanding. Then they got to the CDC and everything slowed down to a crawl. Similarly, season two started strong, halted at the farm for a good long while, and ended as near-classic television. Season three then started extremely strong and ended up wandering around slower than the zombies in the show.
Given the prior season’s irregularities, I can’t say that I was super-hyped about the fourth season premiere tonight but I was still excited. We can officially thank THE WALKING DEAD for much of the current state of television with the resurgence of horror in pretty much every form. Its continued success only solidifies this viewpoint so we see edgier and more supernatural-themed shows popping up everywhere. Because of that, it’s still worth watching if not just to catch those fleeting moments mentioned above.
I think I screwed myself over when I picked up the source material comic books and read most of them in a very short amount of time. I merely wanted to compare the two and get perspective on the show, but what I found was a much tighter package than what the television series had evolved into. I can only imagine that the showrunners wanted to keep the everything universally appealing to a broad audience, but they made a major mistake by not bringing the super-violent and horrific elements that would have made the entire season incredible. And I am still appalled as to how badly they botched the Governor’s character. The point I made several times while last season continued to drag on is that your show is already written… simply follow the existing material and you can’t possibly go wrong.
But they didn’t listen to me, so here we are. Last season ended on a Little House on the Prairie note, and I half-expected to see little Carl frolicking in the tall grass with a little white dog and zombies in the background. The happiness of the whole thing made me sick as that is nowhere near what the show should have been. Seriously, read the comic book to find out.
But first, jump inside to find out more about the premiere! Spoilers to follow…
I truly, madly, deeply (Savage Garden reference FTW) hope that they revisit much of the comic material that they outright ignored last season. If so, they could really dial up the intensity and inject fresh spirit into a stagnating show. If not, this whole season could be a 16-ish hour waste of time.
The premiere wasn’t all that bad but still delivered much of the same except now with a lot of new people. It felt more-or-less like Season 3.5. The group goes out on a supply run and finds a whole bunch of (you would never guess…) ZOMBIES who fall from the ceiling this time to make it slightly different from the last group of zombies they killed. Beth’s boyfriend that we’ve never met before dies but that’s about it. Meanwhile, Rick finds some dirty chick in the woods who takes him back to her camp and tries to kill him but kills herself instead. And some dork collapses in the shower room and spontaneously zombifies. Possibly that is the ‘unknown threat’ everybody keeps teasing for this season? And here I kept thinking it was going to be an Oregon Trail-esque case of dysentery. If the show paused momentarily for a white box to appear and say “Carol has Typhoid”, it would have classed things up a bit.
All kidding aside, there is plenty of foreshadowing going on about a crazy ex-military medic and the prison being overrun by walkers, all of which I hope happen quickly. In the comic, one of the original prisoners seems innocent but ends up beheading two of Hershel’s daughters in the shower room. Could this finally be the guy? I sure as hell hope so. There should also be a lot going on between Rick and Tyreese by way of character development and I hope they bring in the one member of the group who mentally snaps and goes to give one of the walkers a warm embrace. Could that be Beth? And how about a reboot of The Governor’s character? Let’s make him every bit as crazy as the comic this time around. Can he finally cut off Rick’s hand and kick Michonne’s ass? This one I hate to say this out loud, but the baby is a very strange weight on the story that never existed in the book. The Governor’s assault ended up killing both Lori and her unborn child so we are totally off the rails in this aspect… could something be brewing there too?
So many hypothetical questions to throw out there, it will be interesting to see where the newest showrunners take it. As far as the premiere is concerned, there is nothing new to see but hopefully it sets the table for goodness to come. B- overall.