I'm sorry that so many of my TV reviews this year have been critical, but it seems we are perhaps seeing the end of what was an incredible run of high quality American television drama. It started with The West Wing and The Sopranos, and I think is ending with Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. I would argue that the drift into shitness coincides with an ideological drift to the right. Survival fantasies have always been the buried fascist of a liberal imagination. There's an 'I told you so' arrogance to the disaster, and there a good excuse to enjoy firearms guilt free. Falling Skies does this and so does The Walking Dead. With a fantastic pilot now a distant memory and Frank Darabont out of the picture, The Walking Dead resembles the post-mortem pedestrians of its title, stumbling from one episode to the next, gaining no momentum and shedding credibility like scraps of rotting flesh. Just as its characters get themselves trapped again and again and again, so does the narrative, which overly relies on people tripping up, accidentally shooting each other and just being plain stupid. I suppose they have to be stupid because our heroes are after all fighting the brainless, but just how stupid they are almost beggars belief. When a doctor admits that he's actually a vet, Lori Grimes (played by the pop eyed Sarah Wayne Calles) says 'What do you mean you're a veteran?' And this is not supposed to be funny.
Add to this the constant weeping. Lori Grimes and husband (Brit actor Andrew Lincoln) are the main culprits. Showing us people moved is not the same as moving us. I understand that you care about the children, but there's very little given to us for us to care about. It is one of those awkward paradoxes that TV children tend to be so irritating that far from evoking sympathy when they are put in danger, I am always tempted towards the opposite go get 'em feeling. Remember Jurassic Park, and how annoying it was that the children and Laura Dern survived. There's time for this season to save itself but I'm not sure I can be bothered any more. Perhaps one in the head would be the kindest move. What do you think?
John Bleasdale is a writer. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Il Manifesto, as well as CineVue.Com and theStudioExec.com. He has also written a number of plays, screenplays and novels.