The Walking Dead and the Writing Tardy

by Jonah Goldberg

My friends. My dear, dear, reanimated-flesh-loving friends. I have no good excuses for my failure. All I can do is ask for your indulgence. I have not yet written much about The Walking Dead for numerous reasons. Part of the problem is that I’m woefully behind. It’s already four episodes into the season and I’ve only seen the first two. One reason for the delay is that my wife will not watch it with me and my daughter cannot be around when I watch it on my own, for obvious reasons. Other excuses have to do with work and travel and all that. But I think real men blame everything on their wives and little girls.

Anyway, from what I’ve seen so far, I like it. I don’t quite love it yet, but I could. After all, I didn’t like the first four or five episodes of Boardwalk Empire, but I’m digging it now (even though I still think Steve Buscemi was miscast).

What I like so far about The Walking Dead:

1) The structure. I’m assuming they got this from the comic book, but I like how the viewer doesn’t know how the zombie outbreak started, because we stick with the main character who was in a coma when all Hell broke loose. (Hey, that’s, like, almost an accurate expression! Cool.) This gives the writers a lot of flexibility for entertaining flashback episodes down the road while also getting the audience right into it.

2) I like the main character, Rick Grimes. He’s nicely understated.

3) The zombies. As pretty everyone knows, the zombie community is deeply split on the question of fast zombies versus slow zombies. Purists argue that zombies are by nature slow, and to talk of fast zombies is like discussing a human-sized King Kong. Others argue that zombies must be fast to be entertaining to an ADD-addled audience that has figured out that slow zombies would be pretty easy to A) avoid and B) kill. It seems to me that The Walking Dead has ably split the difference. In small numbers and as individuals, the zombies tend to be traditionally slow. But when hungry and in a herd, they can actually run pretty fast. That makes the action more plausible.

Things I’m ambivalent about:

1) The pacing. The first two episodes were a bit slow for my taste. But that might have been a deliberate choice to ease the viewer in. We’ll see.

2) The love triangle. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I have a bad feeling about it.

That’s it so far. But, I’ll catch up on my viewing and have more later.