Tuesday, October 15, 2013

'The Walking Dead' is Back

"The Walking Dead" is back, and so are my recaps, which will appear every Sunday night right after the show ends on the Journal's Speakeasy blog.

Here's an excerpt from this week's recap. I also wrote a piece about the show, its fans and the economy.

"The Walking Dead” returned to AMC on Sunday night for its fourth season. The show that was apparently too bloody and too gory for the genteel folk at the Emmys is back in all its blood-soaked glory, and it’s finding new ways to dump zombies right into our laps.

No kidding. Tonight’s big set-piece involves an abandoned supermarket, zombies on the roof, and an Army helicopter. It’s not just a bloodfest, though. There is some very nuanced story telling here, and as we’re re-introduced to the characters, we see how much has changed since the Governor mowed down his own people and left Rick Grimes in control of the countryside around the West Georgia Correctional Facility – and how much hasn’t changed. Last season, “The Walking Dead” became a phenomenon. It garnered some of the highest ratings on television, it inspired its own talk show and a college course – it even got its own comic-book series. Kidding, kidding, about the comics. Just making sure you’re paying attention.
The only thing it didn’t get were Emmys (just one, for makeup). Our biggest fear going into this season, in fact, was that this season would be a jump-the-shark letdown from season three, proving the shrinking violets at the Emmys right. While episode one ratchets down the tone from the spectacle of the third season’s finale, it serves up equal parts fine, nuanced story telling, and blood-soaked biter entrails. If the shark got jumped here, it was by ravenous walkers, and that fish never stood a chance.

First off, let’s establish some ground rules. On spoilers, our rule is there is no rule. Anything that’s out in the public domain is fair game here, whether it’s from the show, the webisodes, or something that makes its way onto YouTube. Second rule: the only comics we will discuss are the ones Michonne brings back to Carl. We have great respect for the Walking Dead comics, but this space is for the TV show. Third rule: we are not going to spend all our time deconstructing perceived flaws. Yes, why didn’t that army helicopter crash through the roof of the Big Spot instead of on it? Have at it in the comments, but we just don’t have the space here.

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