The following review does not have any spoilers.
You can make the argument that we are currently in the golden age of television or you can argue that we are in the second golden age of television; either way, there's no denying that the best writers of our time have migrated towards the medium.
Today's television is punctuated with emotionally complex characters who engage in masterful dialogue about current, meaningful topics or the great mysteries of life and consciousness...and The Walking Dead is not one of those shows.
This season is my first experience with this show, and as the season finale came to a close last night, it got me wondering why this show is so deservingly successful in a landscape of emotional heavy-weight television. As I've grown older, I've realized that I enjoy writing of any medium that brings deeper insight and understanding of either pertinent, topical issues or the universal human experience. Whether it's the complexities and reality of the dark side of human nature, as in True Detective, or the hyper-dramatized reality of cutthroat, power-hungry politics of House of Cards, I feel as I have a rather high expectation of what I will dedicate my time to. Which is why I've been pleasantly surprised with my full engagement and enjoyment of The Walking Dead.
The reason TWD is so successful, I think, is because it generally has a very clear sense of self-awareness. It is a show about survival, but more importantly the creators know it is a show about survival. That might sound simplistic, but if there's a lesson that you learn with age and experience in art is to know yourself, know what you can do, and then do it well. This show knows that surviving in the world which it created is supposed to be basic and simplistic. They dig into the deepness of the first basic human instinct and are able to find the rich complexity of survival instead of manufacturing it through esoteric, philosophical writing and over-dramatic acting. And for that, I'm impressed.
|Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes|
|Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon|
|The Talking Dead|
--Brian Paul Swenk
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