Mark Frauenfelder at 12:18 pm Tue, Oct 23, 2012
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I stopped watching The Walking Dead a while back, so I agree with everything here except the blue part. (via This Isn't Happiness)
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His latest book is Made by Hand: My Adventures in the World of DIY
MORE: television • The Walking Dead
Meet Jeopardy!'s new master--and his controversial strategy [Podcast interview]
True Detective ends its first season as it began: with two indelible performances [Recap: season 1, episode 8]
Only two episodes this season, but they’ve taken a turn for the better.
Definitely agree. Season 2 was a bit annoying, but they’ve gotten back into the groove.
I felt season 1 was soo boring, season 2 got interesting about 3/4 through the series, and season 3 has some interesting stuff going for it… but this infographic is still solid haha
Completely disagree. Show is awesome. Am I the only one that can appreciate crazy zombie violence AND a well written interesting dramatic story?
Well written… bwahahahahahahahahahah.
You just made my day, that was HIGH LARRY US
Yeah Scooter Jackson knows what is good and what is not. Scooter Jackson won a lot of Emmy Awards.
Ugh please, the writing may not be of Breaking Bad caliber, but it is well and above your typical zombie or post-apocalyptic stories. I mean Falling Skies, Jericho, effing Revolution… If you need a series to bitch about writing then those will entertain you a hell of a lot more.
Need a series to bitch about? Left field called, it wants it’s inane reply back..
Just stating the fact that it’s written like a turd on toilet paper. Comparing it to other turds doesn’t lessen the stench.
Left field? Hmm, what are you doing right now?
I’m sorry you are so pressed about a show with such horrible writing according to you, but bitching about it over the internet will not make your opinions facts.
So why don’t you let us know of some “well written” shows. Enlighten us.
Well-written? Got to disagree with you there. The show isn’t awful but come on… it’s just makeup, extras, digital blood, and extremely stupid characters.
Stupid characters? Yeah, because in a true zombie apocalypse everyone would make smart and rational decisions. I have a feeling the only people that would be left would the the stupid ones, so my feeling is that the writing and characters are probably shockingly accurate.
The acting is good, the writing is ok, and it has zombies.
The characters on the Walking Dead make all the same stupid mistakes the characters on Lost made. They refuse to trust one another and share info, so no one learns simple facts that could explain things or move the story forward in a way that doesn’t rely on chance. The drama comes form the tension between what the viewer knows and what the characters know, rather than on the situations that result from character decisions. The characters are literally too dumb to live.
Added onto that the unfortunate implications of zombie stories in general (the masses are inhuman monsters driven by base hungers who will turn on you, even your loved ones, so don’t feel bad about dismembering them as violently as you can) what you have is the most depressing, gross and tedious hour of “drama” on television.
You just described every drama ever made.
No, just the lousy ones you watch, apparently.
Don’t forget that only white people live in the south.
Hey, T-Dawg does get an almost comical dearth of lines, but he’s still there. Also there’s a bunch of minority guys in the prison…
The stupidest decision I see on the show is the chopped Triumph. That would just about the last bike I would use in zombieland.
Y’know, a spoiler alert is usually warranted in these kind of posts – so thanks for ruining that for me.
Mark you are insane. The show is fantastic.
Sounds a lot like Lost
Kate: “We’ve got to go back!”
Then she gets caught again, and there went 2-3 episodes into holding pattern.
Lost was intended on ending with nothing being solved,explained (thx lindelof) and walking dead origin is a zombie movie that is a never ending hellscape. ie. The comic is still going strong.
They left out “Unfurls map on hood of car. Point and argue.” Really, it happens so often, someone should do a supercut of them looking at maps on hoods of cars.
Yknow if you ever spend a few weeks on the road, driving through foreign lands with limited fuel and supplies, you will actually spend a lot of time unfurling maps on the hood of your vehicle with everyone offering their opinion on the best route to take (drove to Ulaanbaatar from UK, no GPS, incomplete maps, a toy compass, no real local knowledge or language skills)
PROTIP: if you ever get lost in the Gobi Desert and don’t know which track leads to the nearest town, follow the telephone poles.
The biggest problem I have with the show is that there are more characters that I hope get turned into zombies than not.
It is written well enough, and is well produced. Supernatural and religious thrillers never did a thing for me, but I love some zombie action.
At least there’s no Mickey Doyle refusing to die.
That guy is annoying.
You missed out “everyone argues for no apparent reason” and “one of the few interesting characters gets it in the neck”. Though I suppose “nothing happens” and “cliffhanger” cover those respectively.
I like Walking Dead. I even liked Season 2.
I can’t decide whether to start watching or not. I half watched a random episode in a bar once and it looked just dumb and awful, but friends seem to love it and insist it’s good. My first thoughts were that I was watching some ‘straight to dvd’ movie tbh, or one of those video game inspired films like Resident Evil…..
I also have friends that insist it’s wonderful. It has many of the ingredients that I often like in my popcorn TV. I made it through one season, then started reading spoilers because I sort of wanted to know what happened next, and then even the tl;dr versions started to bore me.
Too many people making really bad choices, too many things happening for no other purpose than we need to get you back next episode. No sustained story worth the effort.
Still better than Two and a Half Men.
When you have stock ‘dummy’ characters that stick out as obviously there to move scenes along it kind of drives me crazy. Those cliche characters that get hysterical/stupid and jeopardize things for everybody in a desperate situation.
Huge pet peeve of mine as well.
Also, Rick Grimes needs to learn to gas up.
I swear, the man’s gotta be one of those types who only ever puts $5 of gasoline in their car, whatever the price actually was. “Oh golly, out of gas again?”
You might like Resident Evil movies then, because it’s all about ALICE ALICE ALICE* and how she’s wonderful
*and she’s not even in the games
Just watch Strike Back instead.
I quite like that show, and the characters make believably bad mistakes, under forced conditions. I just find it So hard to like the main Walking Dead characters. The black guy in S1Ep1 with the kid, He was a good character, with a serious quandary, the rest of them just didn’t get me to care about them much.
I completely agree with that graphic for Season 2. Season 3, however, is all about action, emotion and swift resolution of obvious conflicts they’d have dragged out for 3 episodes in Season 2. I suspect someone listened to the fans and decided to step things up.
I change the channel during the yellow part. Then never go back. ”Oh, look, nothing is happening. Oh, now there’s a commercial. I wonder what else is on?”
I watched the whole first season, actually. Then I watched the first episode of season 2, and did the above, and never watched any other episodes.
Now that season 2 is on Netflix with no commercials, maybe I’ll check it out.
At least it’s a hell of a lot more believable than any of the abrahamic religions. A lot less violent too…
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
It seemed to me that most of Season 2 was just a build up to the episode where they find the girl (which rocked BTW). The rest of the time was taken up by someone stupidly deciding to go off on their own, getting lost, having someone else go look for them and promptly getting lost while the first person manages to make it back. Rinse and repeat. I was pretty bored for the most part. Haven’t seen any of season 3 yet but may check it out if everyone seems to think it’s gotten better.
I love the show! is it well written? probably not the best. Is it fun to watch? Hellz yeah! If you are complaining about a zombie show being well written then maybe your expectations are a little too high.:D
Just started watching Season 2 yesterday on Netflix. Used the fast forward button a couple of times. Good to know that if I keep watching I shouldn’t hesitate to skip parts when things slow down. The actions of some of the characters are very frustrating at times.
WELL, I’m glad we could all dis/agree that the show is awesome/ly bad/ass.
So that settles it then!
Wait, we dis awesome ass? We agree ly bad? For once “I can’t parse this” actually seems like an appropriate thing to say.
It’s my understanding that a lot of season’s 2 problems came from a lack of funds; the production was pretty much stuck using the farm sets, and so there was a lot of wheel-spinning. Whatever the reason, I do agree things have gotten better this season.
You hit the nail on the head. AMC fucked up season two by slashing the second season’s budget by $650,000 per edisode and getting rid of Frank Darabont, who had served as season one’s show runner. He oversaw every creative aspect of that first season and I’m sure his sudden and unexpected departure knocked the wind out of the writing staff and the actors. With drastically reduced funding and a cast and crew adjusting to a new show runner, season two really didn’t stand a chance.
I hate to be that guy but the comic is sooooo much better. Season 2 sucked. It does however seem like we’re back on track with the comic though. Carl is finally becoming the badass he was supposed to be. I just hope they kill off who they are supposed to this season.
I liked the comic until Tony Moore left. Then new art guy is ok but it’s just not the same.
Tony Moore left after six issues. Charlie Adlard took over on issue #7 has been there ever since. I just picked up issue #103. So, with Tony Moore having drawn six issues and Charlie Adlard having drawn ninety-seven issues, I’m not sure it’s fair to call him the “new guy.”
I’m sure you’d think the show was a lot better if nobody watched it and someone had to start an internet campaign to bring it back on syfy or whatever.
Mark do you really watch this show? From your comment on Gweek I thought you’d written it off pretty early.
This article is one sentence long, did you skip it?
Completely agree with this. It felt like nothing ever happened except at the end. It was getting ridiculous. Stopped watching.
Good start to the new season. They almost lost me last season but I’m glad I picked it up again. Still some zombie-logic related issues but the makeup and kills have gotten much better.
It’s entertaining, it’s a little Narm-y, it generates tons of discussion fodder, comparing it to the comic is great fun, it’s squidgiley violent in the finest non-CG tradition… I dunno, if you’re a fan of apocolyptic stuff and/or zombies this show has a lot to offer. The writing isn’t brilliant but it definitely doesn’t ruin the entertainment factor. Look at it this way, TWD’s somewhat weak writing/plotting just leaves room for it to improve in later seasons, and/or for another show to come along and do a better job! If we’re gonna complain about T.V, let’s complain about how a brilliant show like Duckman ended forever on a huge cliffhanger… now that’s an injustice!
Zombies growl a lot and eat brains, but they’re also metaphors for us, … and they’re entertaining. The show is often very soap-operaish and yes, characters make really dumb decisions, but that’s formula TV. If it doesn’t please the majority of viewers the advertising revenue will decrease and it’ll be cancelled. If you want to see realistic footage of zombies watch videos about people on the drug Bath Salts.
I always find the “people do stupid things” comments very confusing. I consider the survivors (at this point) to be a random selection – basically take your average work place / grocery store / sporting match and pick ten random people. Do you expect a lot of intelligence? 1) When we see someone do something dumb and get killed, we’re watching the selection process. 2) *Everyone* involved is under extreme emotional duress and is basically suffering from PTSD, which clouds judgement, causes inter-group conflict, and basically makes a mess of logic in general. Folks seem to be saying, “Why are all these folks not reacting like The Doctor, me, or my buddies when they play zombie video games?” Look around you – most folks just aren’t that level of capable. The only reason there are any “non-capable” people left at this point in the show is because they’ve fallen into the circle of capable characters who try to protect them (while suffering PTSD themselves). Do you think the average population of a grocery store would do well if zombies suddenly burst in?
Ha! I have a plan for that very contingency in file ZA-29b!
You’re right, though. The patrons do not fare well in my plan.
I think you’ve got a point, but there are limits. There’s a fine line between convincingly portraying the effects of stress, PTSD, mistakes, etc., and just conveying the sense that the writers felt like it was time for some action, so it’s time for someone to stand around waiting to get eaten.
It breaks suspension of disbelief. Even if sometimes you do want to portray just random acts of human stupidity, you’ve got to try to give that some kind of motivation, and make that intention come across on screen. Things like “let’s have a character who’s lived for months with the realities of full on zombie apocalypse just stand obliviously with their backs to the approach of mysterious groaning and shuffling footstep sounds” or “let’s have a character decide to stop in a darkened hallway and loiter inches away from a conspicuous ‘body’ lacking any visible head wounds” don’t cut it in my mind.
“Too Dumb to Live”
For what it is worth, my experience is that if you watch it a season at a time, no commercials, perhaps via DVD or Netflix, it is a much better show. Watching the episodes 1 week at a time with commercial interruptions really ruins the show for me. It breaks the tension buildups and interrupts the story arcs.
My mom put it more simply: “That show ought to come with a Surgeon General’s warning.”
Watched a couple of episodes of season 3 on Sunday. Also watched “Cockneys vs. Zombies.”
Afterward, I felt like the latter had, overall, much more believable (or at least less aggravating) characters, zombie on human action, etc.
Make of that what you will.
How about an infographic that’s just one big section (plaid, maybe?) labeled “Zombies. Eh.”
(On the other hand, I recall Night of the Living Dead and Shaun of the Dead fondly–but they may exhaust the genre’s possibilities.)
Okay, I agree that last season got boring as hell between the episodes with the schoolyard zombies and the farm being overrun but this season has been much better so far. I do have a co-worker who seems to think that all dialogue that consists of anything other than “Kill the Zombies!” is a waste but I think they’re doing okay so far. As long as they don’t try to take a popular show, (Battlestar Galactica), and save money by cutting expensive exterior shots but keeping the lame drama, (Caprica), I think I’ll be happy. And “incredibly stupid” is what people DO in Zombie movies. If people in the series would follow the Margaret Horrall rules for surviving a zombie apocalypse, all of them would live but it would be incredibly boring .
If the show were more lighthearted, it would feel fitting for the characters to screw up but get a happy ending anyway. Think of any classical comedy.
It’d also work to have smart, good people who try hard but end up dying anyway. Think of any classical tragedy.
But The Walking Dead often has the characters do dumb stuff and then die, which is just the least compelling combination.
LMAO! I call it Darwin in action.
I am going to disagree here as well, season 2 was pretty awesome. I haven’t watched any of season 3 yet but I am definitely looking forward to it.
Did I watch a different Season 2 than everyone else? The Season 2 I watched consisted of Nothing Happens for half the season, pointless arguments for the 2nd half, and then zombies showed up.
Season 3 is better, so far: lots of zombies, but still pointless arguments. And then each episode hinting at scenes which seem to be from another show.
With a slight tweak, that infographic would apply to a good number of comment threads.
Holy shit! Trolls!
You award boobie prizes to boobie contestants….. and make zombie shows for zombie audiences. Oh, and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH……………..
At least every episode isn’t filled with Shane saying “lemme ask y’somethin’” or “Lemme tell y’somethin’” like it used to be…
Sounds just like Dragon Ball Z to me.
Spend all week watching filler and fluff just to see 10 minutes of fighting.
[ cool intro ] [ Kicking zombie butts / making plans /fun stuff ] [ Pairing off in small groups to whisper about all that stupid drama life nonsense I could care less about shut up! ]
Main problem is that female lead. She was in PRISON BREAK and she was a robot in that too… (less than her love interest in that show but god help me the LACK of chemistry between was so terrible it would suck the air out of the room)
It lost me early on with the soap opera level writing they used for interpersonal conflicts. My experience is that people do not in fact act like that in real life no matter what the circumstances. The zombies and general crumbling of society is enough drama, why are people also so into petty squabbling?
Yeah, my experience is that in stressful situations people band together put aside differences and become fiercely loyal with each other.
“I stopped watching The Walking Dead a while back, so I agree with everything here except the blue part.” - That is so like the time I listened to a only a couple songs off of Rubber Soul and then decided the rest must be crap.
Here’s the type of thing that drives me crazy about Walking Dead- although to be fair, this is common of any type of horror/disaster drama: a zombie can only really hurt you with a bite or (maybe) a scratch, right? There’s body armor lying around EVERYWHERE from dead cops and soldiers, but our plucky band of heroes continue to wander the wasteland in SHORTS AND TANK TOPS. I don’t care if it’s hot! Put the goddamn armor on!
If you can’t turn off the part of your brain that pays attention to stuff like this then you’ll never like the writing on any show like Walking Dead.
Body armor doesn’t offer a lot of protection against someone who’s close enough to hug you. It’s meant to protect your center of mass (i.e. your torso) from someone who’s aiming at it from a distance with a firearm, or trying to stab you in the heart with a knife. Zombie bites are almost exclusively to the head/neck/extremities, presumably because a human chest and back are too large and oblique to get decent purchase on with a (former) human mouth. Imagine if you wanted to take a bite out of a living cow; you’d go for the ears or tail or udder or something, not smoosh your face up against its side.
I think the shows great. I even appreciate the pacing. But you missed a bar for “Lori runs around asking ‘Where’s Carl?’”
Whaah! He doesn’t like the things I like!
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