Posted May 16, 2014
into Telly by John Birmingham
Of all the superhero powers in all the comics of the world, it's the ability of The Flash to side step peak hour traffic, or to get to lunch before all the good tables are taken, that always appealed to me most. That's why I'll be watching this CW series when it airs, even though it looks more than a little like teen soap. Buffy was teen soap and that worked. Also, The Flash is from the producers of Arrow, which has turned out to be somewhat more awesome than anyone expected.
I'll admit I was also a little nervous when I first watched it because Dave Hooper shares somes of Flashy's mojo, but having seen the whole trailer I'm less bothered by that now, for reasons that'll become obvious when the books are finally released.
I'm saving this week's ep for the end of my deadline, hopefully in three days.
To simply chalk up the success of “Walking” to the viability of the horror genre is to misunderstand the show. It’s never been some splatterpunk thrill ride like the “Saw” film franchise; there’s actually just as much an arthouse sensibility to “Walking” as there is to other AMC shows like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” And as last night’s episode indicated, the series doesn’t adhere to conventional storytelling. Then there’s the tone of “Walking,” which is so bleak it practically thumbs its nose at mass appeal. Throw in the fact the show hasn’t minted any true breakout stars and attracts zero awards buzz, and these gaudy ratings are even more inexplicable.
What’s truly mystifying is that the show seemed to have reached its audience peak at a time when the storylines couldn’t be less broadly appealing. While the previous season’s faceoff with the character known as the Governor provided a pretty conventional villain character to root against, most of this season was focused on the ensemble fighting an invisible enemy: a virus that decimated their ranks. One of the show’s most difficult but heretofore lesser themes — the plight of children in this war zone — was thrust repeatedly to the forefront of the latest episodes in all its depressing, hair-tearing ethical implications.
And when they did turn their attention to the Governor, they brought him back in most unusual fashion with a morally ambiguous storyline that essentially humanized a character that had engaged in mass murder.
Most amazing of all was “Walking’s” audacious decision to bench the entire cast for two episodes to tell the story of the Governor — name another show that would dare do that. If anything, the sidelining was tacit acknowledgement that its lead actors aren’t exactly featured attractions on this series.