Interesting bit in Variety on the unlikely success of The Walking Dead. Have to admit, it's a true addiction for me. Something I hate myself for doing, and don't really enjoy, but cannot stop.
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.