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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Oy, Who Put This On? (It’s On Random)

I think the title of this post fits this review of the…what is it now?  Fifth episode of the Walking Dead?  I don’t even know the name of it to be honest.  Anyway, a fair share of this episode actually did feel like it was on random.  In some cases, this was good.  But the most notable ones were not so lucky.  Let’s start with the good.  I think all in all, this episode a cross between episode 3 and 2.  Guts had action, but some terrible characterization moments, while Frogs had almost no action, but also almost no flaws.  Episode 5, last night’s, was almost completely empty of action and had flaws.  Kinda the worst of both worlds, that be.  But it wasn’t all bad!   It ended up feeling just slightly disappointing to us.

Here thar be spoilers!

The lack of action is a very limiting factor, in my opinion.  Not that you *need* action, but with production and costs of a tv series at this level that they are trying to bill it, they should be able to fairly seamlessly mix in action and dialog without devolving down to “Action episode” and “Characters talk episode” and rotating their occurrences every other episode.  Vatos, written by the guy who ‘only’ works on the ‘lowly’ graphic novel wrote the best episode to date, yet various other (I’m sure) famous writers and directors have difficulty with the same task?  (While I’d like to jump to the conclusion that directors are highly over-glorified, I’ll settle with the guy writing comics just showed all ye’ Hollywood folk how to get the job done, for probably far less wages to boot.) 

The most action in this episode was watching Beaten Wife flail away at her deceased husband, blood splattering the screen to drive home the point that she’s beating him down like he used to be her.  Of all the ‘bodies’ used in the series so far, this one was probably the best looking and thus this part actually looked painful for the corpse.  For any out there who dislike the amount of gore via the stunningly accurate headshots spurting around left and right, you’ll probably have to turn your head or just hope they get on with the scene when you see this part.

Other than that we are left with a pure talk episode.  Not that the idea of just dialog is bad, but…well…I kinda said back in the Frogs review that while it worked for episode 3, if all we are left with is 100% character development and no action, we’ll probably get bored.  While I was not this episode, the sudden pop-up of “viewer discretion is advised’ usually hints to some awesomely unliving action on it’s way.  The censors or whoever require that to pop up really need to stop unless something demanding that actually happens.  I could see that appear before Dead Ed’s graceful acupuncture by his wife via pickaxe, but when it actually showed up was just as they were leaving the camp and before they left Jim by another tree.  I dun’ get it!

Shane is suddenly thinking about killing Rick, by the way.  Very believable instant switch of character, that was.  Rick says one comment that Shane takes the wrong way and next thing you know Shane has Rick locked within his iron sights.  Since, you know.  Saying Rick is dead without a body would be believable.  (As he couldn’t show it to them due to massive gun shot wounds.  How would he explain that?  Zombie woodpeckers ambushed them?)  Dale got a good eye on Shane during this, but kept almost hilariously silent as Shane stuttered and tried to make up an excuse.  Next time go with “I was working on my Dick Chaney impersonation.”

Really, this was completely out of place unless you read the comics and started tip-toeing a dance of joy that this arc is still alive.  In reality it makes no sense.  Shane was never disappointed Rick came back, he was happy to have his friend near him, even if they disagree on a few things and now Shane cannot tap Lori’s covet.  (Wait, is it a noun or a action verb?  Either way it is quite bad.  Watch the 10 Commandments for a briefer.   …But you know what isn’t bad?  Guns!  Guns forever, right Charles?)  He also, as a cop, should know never to point at something unless you intend to shoot it.  Meaning he WAS intending to shoot Rick.  …So now he’s bi-polar?  Not once was there any sign that he disliked his buddy coming back.  The only scene that displayed Shane’s explosive tendencies specifically was Lori telling him to stay away and then he juiced Ed’s face like an orange with his fist.  He should want to kill Lori based on that logic, not Rick.

Speaking of Dale, I really like him now.  He was a bit ornery at the  start, but with more time on camera he comes across as caring, smart–nay, wise and a natural leader.  Or top-notch advisor as he is currently presiding. Dale’s portrayal this episode, to quote Walken, was Fantastic.  The more I see of Dale, the less I want to see everyone else.  He is strong and armed (best part of Shane) cool, calm, and a good guy (best part of Rick) without being too strong or too heroic.  Rick in the past, and again in this episode is on the razor’s edge of being a Mary Sue.  Dale bartered a bit with Rick in Guts, and that was fine.  Showed he is a good guy that will help out, but has a backbone and a few needs of his own.  Is he a bad guy because of it?  No.  He’s human.  And Shane is batcrap crazy and Rick is a goody two shoes.  Oh, and was anyone else thinking this and snickering as Rick and Shane were in the forest?

Best Way to Solve Any Argument. Ever.

Also, Jim was bitten during the attack.  Poor guy.  Tough couple of days he’s had.  I wonder if this is the Rick that ‘could have been’ if Rick didn’t have Main Character Powers.  (Every main dood has ’em.)  He tried doing the right thing, he lost his family while fighting for them, and now while defending the rest of the camp got bit.  And the black chick pointed it out for everyone to see, nearly causing the camp to lynch him.  (The racially-charged irony that the black girl almost got the white guy lynched was not lost on this one.)  Because of this he was forced to spend the rest of his days locked up in a stuffy RV before willingly wanting to die alone and by himself.  With the company that he was surrounded in, no wonder.  Of course the black lady kisses his cheek at the end…that completely voids out the hell you just put this man’s final hours through.  Enjoy that guilt you just racked up there, ma’am.

Rick…was off his game this episode.  He was far more needy, weak, and nearly a bucket of tears at the end.  Did someone on the writing staff watch Lassie one too many times during the drafting of this episode?  What happened to strong Rick pointing a gun are Daryle at the start of this show, or like three times the last episode?  And why did they want to sneak in past that many bodies?  Why not yell out as they drew near in the first place?  You know, to avoid getting surrounded when you thought you were safe in the first place?  Like how they got boxed in at the end just before the Deus Ex Machina “Door to God” opened seconds before the group lost it?

Too many random bits in this episode to really get a hold of anything solid and good for my tastes. Oh!  And Andrea!  What happened to her?  (Rant in three…two…)  She went from grieving woman, to snubbing everyone caring for her, to then pointing a gun at the guy mainly responsible for saving her and everyone on the scavenger team?  To protect a (un)live grenade of a zombie waiting to hatch?  Why?  WHY?

Because they wanted to:

  1. Make her say a snarky and barbed line, throwing it back into the man’s face that showed you how to use a gun properly.
  2. To shoot her sister once she turned, put her to rest.
  3. Make a dramatic reveal.

She was emotionally compromised and should have been handcuffed the second she pulled a gun on Rick (not to mention Amy should have been as well, to avoid the whole mess above) and it all, ALL could have been avoided if she just told one of the many people who stopped next to her that she planned on killing Amy off herself (More evidence that someone on staff watched Lassie during the drafting process).  But since that would avoid her pointlessly telling off Rick and take away some of the impact of the dramatic reveal, we are left with a character who has just damned herself to look like a badazz. 

She just pointed a gun at the living, but more specifically Rick the ‘golden one’.  The last person that did that was Merle. 

Think about that.

Andrea is a female version of Merle.  (Just with more tact and visible weaknesses. )

She pointed a loaded and live weapon at a helpful human being.  She could have told many people what her plans were, to at least give her some backup should Amy over-power her.  Should could have told Rick to avoid a confrontation; to avoid “crossing a terrible threshold” (any fans Uther the Lightbringer represent, woo!  Hell, any fans of Arthas shout out as well!).  In another discussion on zombies, I described this as marking herself as the Short Straw.  She was emotionally compromised, pointed a gun with intentions of firing it at a police officer, and from the moment she killed off her sister she should have been handcuffed until they decided where to drop her off.  Hell, maybe her and Shane should soothe their violent and impulsive natures together in a forest scene.  That seemed to help out all involved last time it happened.

So yeah, I’ll go with marking myself off as “disappointed” with this episode.

One final bid for longer lasting viewership:  action keeps people glued to their seats.  Dialog and only dialog episodes make people feel like they are sitting in glue.  (Subtle change, that is.)  The first is exciting and pushes the story along wisely and still finds time for character advancement.  The second is slow, uncomfortable, and fairly boring.  (I did like the humorous explosion in the lab, though.  Nice comedic timing of the robotic voice.)  The Walking Dead doesn’t need to be *filled* with gore, action, and zombies…but if all it IS filled with is speeches and heart-felt discussions…well…we are left with this:

After they bite off your ear, they'll talk off the remaining one.

And as far as I know zombies can’t even form words.  It’ll be a slow forty minutes of guttural, garbled, and strained vocal chords belting out airy baritone vowel sounds.  As Alton Brown would say, “Not Good Eats.”  (And I dare say, he’d add in a “uni-tasker” or two for good measure.)

Don’t Say The Zed Word!

Pardon me as I bandage myself, I just can’t seem to stop gushing.  The undead stars have aligned their massive necromatic balls of gas and produced for us the current best episode of zombacylpse proportions!  Did you see this episode yet?  No?  Why not?  Go watch it, sign a check in my name as finder’s fee laws dictate, and then continue reading.

Here thar be spoilers!

We are treated to a bit of dialog between Amy and An…Angelina?  Andrea!  Amy and Andrea are chatting about their father who taught them how to fish, hoping he is still safe in Florida.  Luckily, I think they are correct in their hopeful optimism, as most people go to die in Florida anyway.  The dead do not come back to life unless killed by Walkers in this universe, so the old folks probably dropped via trampling rushes at the malls or heart issues due to the shock of seeing that guy that always beat them at golf walking around with half of his face falling off like damaged wall paper. 

If you ask me, the worst place to go would have been California.  Based on the movies and actors that come out of that place, it has been taken over by zombies years ago.  As Florida is about as far away from there that you can get from within the States, kudos to them.  Mind those hurricanes.

Jim, who was that Guy With The Beard from last episode is digging graves or looking for gold, and freaking everyone out.  He says he had a dream, and that people shouldn’t worry as it totally was not predicting what was going to happen later on in the episode.  Shane calmly restrains him, even after Jim tries enticing Shane into a confrontation and mentioning Ed, “He Who Hath Been Reduced To Facial Hamburger” last episode.  So they tie Jim up to a tree and beat him.

Well they don’t beat him, but he is stuck to a tree.  Like a zombie offering, of sorts.  He simmers down later, relax guiz.  SETTINGS SWAP!

Glenn gets the bag with guns with Dayrle/Darrel guarding his back and Rick/T-Dog guarding another escape exit.  Suddenly a mexican gang rolls up, beats up Dayrle and takes off without the guns but with Glenn in-tow, though Rambo did get a shot off into one of their keisters with his bow (no scope).  Oh and Merle’s fine, took out two zombies one-handed, then cauterized the stump with a make-shift rig he threw together before jumping out of a window and into the unliving world unknown.

Slightly off topic, but Merle has this Amos Moses thing going on for him now.  He has a stump (one for beating down alligators, the other for lack of a hand), both are southern, both only have one hand, and both have issues with a Sheriff…

Speaking of Rick, I noticed that he got a mighty bit testy this episode, showing a bit more bite than previous episodes while Shane was excessive with kindness (saying “Please,” reassuring Jim several times, and getting everyone back to safety and not running away as soon as excrement hit the exhaust).  It is nice to see in the long run these two guys balance out and Shane is fairly well out of the “guy we hate” and “coward” rut, and Rick too is out of his “pure hero” niche as well due to these additions.  Very nice tweaks to character, rounding them out a lot better while also making them both pretty cool doods.  Sugar cookies to the writer and director!

Also, Amy died.  So there goes the sappy actress pandering for an Emmy performance.  …  Until her sister freaks out about it.  I get that this is a bad time for all when the undead mafia rolled into camp without an appointment, but hell, they took out Ed and several other people I have not even seen on camera before.  Like that one 20ish thin chick that got mauled (not Amy, a long-haired brunette).  Where in the heck was she during all of this?  They weren’t even wearing red shirts.

Well, I mean, their clothing is probably drenched in crimson now…

Oh, and the gang that took Glenn turned out to be defenders of an old folks home that apparently housed predominately hispanic-based residents, based on who came back to check up on them.  Wait.

Dayrle shot that one dude in the buttocks (thanks, Mr. Gump).  With the same dang bolt (it’s only an arrow if shot by a bow.  Crossbows fire bolts.  I should make an Ad for that factoid…)

Bolts. They're not just for quilters anymore.

(And so I DID.)

A.D.D.  setting in.  My bad.

Daryle fired the same dang bolt that he has just shot like five zombies in the eye with.  Unwiped.  Meaning there is still undead goo either on the tip/shaft of the bolt itself, or on the business end of the firing mechanism, and that just impaled that guy’s possibly hairy hiny.  (Not that I’m judging, I would completely stop my booty waxing sessions in times of dire needs of survival as well.  Heck, a month into Zombieville and you could probably braid the stuff goin’ on back there…)

Based on that information (undead goo on bolt, not fur on butt) Darle just probably, accidentally, caused that one dude to get infected, die off, then turn undead from within the Hispanic Eternal Acres compound and wipe out all the survivors.  Good job, Darle!  You geriatricide-inducing-crossbow-wielding-hot-headed-racist-Rambo-istic-dairyqueenbbtheq-mo-fo. 

He also gets a cookie. 

But not oatmeal raisin, those are mine. 

All mine.

It’s not Hip-hop… It’s Electro!

I started typing this last night, but I’m gonna re-wing it here.  I’m kinda bummed I missed out on the zombie shamble-on-set contest as I didn’t put in the code soon enough.  (Stupid clocks always enforcing their laws of time on us!)  But, the good news that the third episode of The Walking Dead was amazing!  Let me get my Critiquein’ Hat on so I can get that out of the way and carry on with the beaming undead awesome that was last night’s show!

The show starts out with a delirious Merle still handcuffed on the roof, showing signs of sun damage and a bloodied wrist from previously attempting to free himself.  The make-up is fairly well used and reminiscent of Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  Suddenly Merle snaps from his stupor, struggles again with his shackles and zombies start trying to tear the door open before being stomped out by the mighty title screen of the series.

[Critiquein’ Hat firmly in place]

The only issue here is, well, how in the blazes did those zombies get up there in the first place?  I know they are there to have the audience react to the danger of the situation, but wasn’t it a clear enough picture that Merle was going to die up there in the first place?  It has only been one day and already his outer layers are looking like the crust on a fine corn pudding.  (More Thanksgiving day references on the way, never fear.)  He is either talking gibberish or shifting in and out of reality from lack of water at this point.  As Everett might say, he’s in a tight spot. 

Beware that clicking play will result in repeated utterances of the word “damn” as well a constant flurry of imagery as devilish as a hairnet remaining on screen nearly the entire clip.  Ye have been warned!

So why with the zombies and such?  Those zombies, while placed to keep the tension going for Merle, just so happened to make an appearance on queue.  They didn’t beat on the door during his rambling, not even so much as pawing at it like a dog wanting a treat.  While the argument that the zombies only presented themselves after Merle started causing a racket is valid, how did they know he was up there in the first place?  They couldn’t see him until they got up there, they couldn’t smell him even though he was getting roasted like a turkey in our mighty star’s golden rays (that’s two Turkey dinner references) as the fresh air was likely to blow the scent away and not through a sealed doorway.  That leaves their limited sense of hearing, and Merle only really started shouting after the zombies were banging on the door.  Unless he called attention to himself in the first place, they shouldn’t be there.  Not to say he isn’t dumb enough to do that, but it was still a vague thought and it stuck out a bit.  Chalk it up to Popcorn Logic, I suppose.

[Critiquein’ Hat deactivated]

I really am gushing about the rest of this episode that I had to go back and delete everything twice over.  I don’t like stating everything that occurs, yet that is what I kept doing as I don’t feel like anything should have been left out.  The characterization and interactions were great.  My only minor, minor complaint was that nothing really happened in this episode, as when I glanced up at the time I saw there was only two minutes of the show remaining.  The show flew by and I vanted moar!!

I suppose I should try to highlight only what I *really* liked about this episode if I intend on doing anything else today, so here goes:

Lori is finally a character for once!  I mean, yeah she did spend camera time on her back again, but this time it was more of a tender moment than anything.  The audience knows that she is already regretting what happened between her and Shane, but the way the series has thus far portrayed it, it was far more than a single romp in the woods.  Lori later confronts Shane and blames him for telling her that Rick was dead.  As other people have commented, this could either have been a scheme to lure Lori to himself, or been in line with his conservative “he’s dead, we need to go, NOW” sort of mentality that he showcased in the second episode that might have been the only way Lori got out alive.  Either way I’m glad that I can finally enjoy screen time devoted to her, so a big kudos to Lori.

Merle’s brother was also a jerk, surprise surprise. Rick and Shane restrain the brother, I think it was Darrel, in such a precise way that it really shows off that the two were working together on the force for years.  If only Shane was on the roof at the time Merle never would have gotten as far as he had in terms of a danger to himself and others around him.  I actually liked the brother, or at least the dialog written for him.  It was arrogant, crude, but still funny and believable.  From the time he shoots the decapitated zombie in the eye to his anger-filled realization that his brother is chained up on a roof and left to rot, this was an excellent character added to the mix.  Quite believable.  And look!  He actually helped others instead of posing as a threat!  We can still get along even if we don’t agree after all!

Shane.  Now here’s a loaded character.  The writing jumped from labeling Shane as a tool and a jerk the first two episodes to where he is currently, a character rooted in some fairly solid thinking-processes that has a few flaws.  (We will see if this remains to be true in the next episode, but I’m just glad I’m not cheering for zombies to eat his clavicle at every turn anymore.)  No longer is he the dude we are supposed to hate, but he is now a lonely man who if full of guilt for leaving his friend to die and then promptly tapping his wife’s keg, so to speak. 

He is possibly rethinking his motives and thought-process as Rick was able to do things he thought impossible, or too dangerous to even bother with.  I particularly enjoyed his royal trouncing of the chauvinistic southern wife beater.  It was exhilarating to see the guy get laid out, while also showed that Shane wasn’t just a pig as well.  He threatened the man never to harm any women in camp ever again, before breaking some more of the now swollen man’s face.  This might be a blatant symbolic act to show he is breaking down his ‘past evils’ or it could just have been due to him having balls a-blue as Lori is no longer a stress outlet (god that sounds really dirty), but at least Shane is depicted in a brighter light than in the past.

While I liked this episode a great deal more than the first two combined, I do have a worry that Rick is going to get promoted to a Mary Sue if things keep going the way they are.  He trumped the ‘everyman’ the moment he was covered in Guts and ascended to Hero status.  Going back into the undead lion’s den to save a jerk does make him look better than Shane, but it is also looking a wee bit dimwitted.  (You cannot reason to those without.  Saving him now just allows him to turn on you when the mood strikes him later on.  Not to say he should have been left to die up there, but it is never wise to give a spiteful man with a gun second chances so often…)  Again, a small point of contention, but something to avoid as the storytelling was rock solid and if it continues as it did here, we are in place for an excellent ride till the end of the season.  (Please don’t make us hate the new group of people hinted at in the next episode.  This musical chairs of bad guys is getting a bit obnoxious, too >.<)

Final Thoughts

From the very first scene the show really took off in my eyes.  Everyone present had something to add (though the sisters reunited was a little bit long and loud for my taste.  It came off more of a “I’m so happy you aren’t dead because the camera is on us!  Oh god, we might get an award for this scene!  Wail!  Cry!  …Are the cameras still rolling?  Oh, ok.  Teeeeaars!  Joy!!”) and the tale just kept going.  I never felt like the story stalled, and was quite curious what was going to happen next.  Though, I do feel the warning of graphic content was a major let down as I was jazzed to know some zombie action was on the way, only to see one lone zombie woman slain while shopping (there was a Sale!! too, by crikey!), and Merle’s right hand free of any real signs of blood.  Realistic hand, check.  Realistic amounts of blood reasonably present due to evisceration at the wrist… MIA.  Not that I wanted to see an olympic sized swimming pool of blood, but the sole warning for graphic content led a lot to be desired.

Excellent episode all around.  The flaws were impressively small, and I am excited to see what happens next.  Methinks based on the previews and dirge of action in this episode, a lot of action is on the way.  Though, this is proof that not much has to happen in a story to keep it flowing and entertaining.  Confused Matthew would be proud.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Thank yahoo’s ‘news’ ticker on their front page for this link:  Jessica Simpson Steals Engagement Thunder From Nick Lachey.

Well if that isn’t a sensationalist title…

I really was planning on doing a Walking Dead 3 post (which I started last night) but the ol’ “Arr Ell” got in the way so I’m finishing that in a jiff.  Though I spotted this while turning on the interwebs this after noon and was immediately put off.

Steals an engagement’s thunder?  Really?  If this is even true, and based on the math of how long the couples’ have been dating it very well is, how does this prove or one-up anything?  Nick has been dating his gal for four years.  Jessica has been dating her guy for five months and he only was officially divorced just under one month ago.  Nick popped his proposal, and then ten days later Jessica magically is engaged to a guy who probably still smells like his ex-wive’s perfume.

The article I linked to above (and I use the term ‘article’ loosely) is filled with snide and chiding remarks aimed at Nick and his engaged lass.  They mutually ended their relationship and moved on.  End of story.  Their relationship was actually documented in the fad reality TV show starring the two which, while a terrible idea for any couple of newlyweds, was actually Nick’s greatest ally (one heck of a catch-22, really).  It not only drove one doozy of a rift between the two who were already balancing a lot on their plates, it more than likely exasperated any tiny flaws into full blown Michael Bay-like explosive arguments.

While the series showcased, at best, how much of a ditz she was, it also points to just how immature she is.  To quote an (actual) article from People:

Before getting married, the couple briefly broke up in 2001 then decided to reunite after Sept. 11. “Nick was patiently waiting for me to grow up a little,” Simpson told PEOPLE at the time. “I knew that I never, ever wanted to be away from Nick for the rest of my life.”

People Magazine

Looks like he didn’t wait nearly long enough, and based upon this petty feud of Dueling Engagements, several additional years would have clearly not been long enough, either. 

…And apparently the hack at OMG! though that Chicken Of the Sea was actually chicken.

(Not supporting the WAG site thing at all, just that it was the only clip of that part of the show I could find.)

Woot! Minecraft Update on the Way!

Just read from the man himself that a hefty update will be coming along in Minecraft tomorrow!  Quite a few nice changes and tweeks, though my personal favorite is there will finally be working buckets in multiplayer!  That means I can finish my homage to Twisted Metal very soon!  Woot!  (I’m a wooden train whistle!)  Woot, woot!


Layin' the groundwork...

I Repeat: By Removing the Head, or Destroying the Brain.

The second episode of the Walking Dead just finished airing (the code to enter the contest to get a “shuffle on role” in an episode was HUNGRY, if you missed it) and it was equally as good as the first, if not a bit better.  Admittedly I was a bit nervous after reading that Darabont did not direct this episode, or anything other than the pilot (nice find, Clint).  Luckily, it all turned out very well and it was a great episode even with someone else behind the viewfinder.  Spoiler warning.

Sadly, the new director carried over yet another weak and forced opening.   Possibly a remnant from the comic the series is based upon, but yet again it showcased some of the worst of the previous episode.  Now not only did the wife give up on the main character enough to be consoled by his best friend (in about a week, no less) now she is now venturing out into the dense forest, on her own, in order to find said best friend of her supposed deceased husband.  There the two engage is some aggressive carnal lust, as she is more than readily craving sex from him. 


Well after that wall of frustrating impossibility lumbers past, we are given a decent show.  (Starting to think that skipping everything before the title flashes on screen might be the best bet if this keeps up.)  New characters are added to the mix, which I didn’t even notice hit several minorities (Asian, Mexican, and African American) until the racist country bumpkin spouted off the Slur of Slurs.

Now, being a gamer at heart… was I the only one thinking this?

Left 4 The Walking Dead?

Anyway, after this new cast was explained the episode flowed pretty nicely.  The action was good, but not over-powering.  Once again the flawed radio caused drama at the wife’s camp, and yet again ended with ex-best friend telling a chick what to do.  This time he was actually right, though.  If everyone broke away from the group to help out one other person of their own choosing, the group would crumble and everyone would get killed off.  He was right for once, everyone!  Hurray!  He’s adequate!

A near comedic plot to help all the stow-away survivors is hatched and successful (though nearing what happened in Sean of the Dead a bit in the process), and all the important people get away.  And even though the door was locked some how a zombie seems to not only figure out someone is on the roof, but how to break a dead bolt and metal chain to get at them.  Me thinks a scene of Saw is a-comin’, as the tool box was blatantly shot tumbling over and they even mentioned the idea of using a hacksaw to take out some iron bars in the sewer.

Either way, a solid episode.  I might detail my gripes above, but they are only minor detractions from an otherwise stream-lined show.  Though, the sooner they bump off or at least tone down ex-best bud from running the camp of survivors, the better.

You Have to Shoot Them in the Head

The new AMC series Walking Dead, all around did a pretty good job of setting the stage of the rest of the season.  (Spoilers abound, by the way.  Don’t continue if you haven’t seen the first episode yet, and we recommend you watch it spoiler-free the first time through)  Being a zombie movie buff that we are, your very own Encrazed Crafts duo watched the episode late last-last night (that’s two nights ago, but we wanted to say “last night”) during a encore presentation.

The main faults with the pilot episode, is that by now everyone should know what a zombie movie is about, and this show is basically a very long zombie movie.  In short, they are slow, fairly dumb, and like to gnaw on people’s anti-nether regions.  The problem was that while the show is quick to throw you into the story, in this case the main character looking for gas at an ‘abandoned’ gas station…it’s a scary movie at heart.  We are expecting to be scared, and as soon as we hear shuffling we know it is a zombie.  It turns out to be a little girl, and even though we all know the girl has turned to the corpsatious side of life, he still calls out to her.  And then kills her shortly after seeing what we all knew minutes ago.

The condensed issue here is two fold.  First, as I stated above, we all know how this scenario was going to play out.  Secondly, they used a child to attempt to hammer home “this stuff just got real” (to paraphrase Martin Lawrence).  They used the same trite ‘technique’ in At World’s End, also just at the beginning of the story.

Shortly after we apparently go back in time to see the main character eventually get sent to a hospital, only to wake up from his drugged state some time later.  The issue here is, this is far from original.  Resident Evil, various gripes on those movies aside, did this years ago.  Hell, 28 Days Later did it very well, and the movie was on just before this very encore presentation.  Bad choice there.

These two glaring issues aside, they are minor and brief.  Luckily everything else moves well enough to support the show, and by the end of the episode we really liked what could have easily been a boring cookie cutter of a genre.  The characters have character, something so simple yet easily ignored in current shows and films, and especially early on there are some near-gut wrenching suspense moments.  (Matches in a dark stairway scene; looking at you.  Hinting at dead bodies within the area by making the main guy nearly gag as he entered was an evil tease of impending doom which caused the misses to cringe and block her view with a pillow until he made it into the sunlight)

I’d currently give the opening show to the series a solid A, even though the ending of the episode was kinda treading on rehashed “oh, his wife is alive!  And his bud!  Oh noes, they are kissing!”  Really?  Even if they honestly thought the main character is dead, it only took her a week to start making out with his apparent best friend?  Fairly lame, and definitely heavy-handed on the forced-drama-o-meter, but as long as they can keep away from more of that and focus on the new ideas a la guy that just cannot shoot his unlivingly converted wife after several attempts, we’ll be tuning in each week.


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