Tuesday, November 9, 2010

THE WALKING DEAD VS. DEAD SET



On Halloween night, two tv series abased on a Zombie apocalypse began airing - The Walking Dead and Dead Set.

By now, most of you have read about and probably watched the new, highly reviewed and rated AMC tv series The Walking Dead. If you want to read and excellent review go to Caliban's Revenge, he give the show a 4/4 star rating.

Dead Set is more of a mini series which I lucked into when channel surfing. It airs on the IFC channel and will have several showings at least in November, the next being Wed from 5:05 pm.

Before I begin bashing The Walking Dead, let's start with Dead Set. "It's eviction night on England's Big Brother and zombies begin to attack the outside world." The show actually stars many of the real life BB hosts and contestants and held a great deal of promise. I was anticipating more humor and more character development then we get. The show's first hour is promising but quickly goes down hill with one stupid, cliched scene after the other. The ending is rather satisfying but only for reasons you'll have to watch to understand.

I know TWD started its life as a much loved and admired graphic novel (and btw Brian, 28 Days Later came first). I haven't read the novel so all my criticisms of The Walking Dead have mostly to do with the tv show and my understanding of zombie lore. I have read The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z and So Now You're a Zombie, A handbook for the Newly Undead.

  • Although aware that blood in the mouth, eyes or open wounds will get you infected, the characters have been really reckless and several should be dead by now.
  • Zombies don't eat animals so the horse and rat should still be alive and well.
  • Zombies have heightened senses and so are attracted to noise and human smells which cannot be covered up by covering yourself in zombie blood and body parts.
  • Zombies, like these in TWD, do not have the ability to think and therefore would not use rocks to break windows. Also, they shouldn't have the ability to climb ladders or fences.
  • In the second episode, we are at least 5-6 weeks into the apocalypse - most cars would have dead batteries by now and that scene of Glen flying down the road leaving Atlanta? Not a single broken down/abandoned car, dead body on one side of the road while the other is jam packed?
  • Who has sex in the woods with zombies lurking about just weeks after her/his husband/best friends dies? Even if they where having an affair before the zombies came? I think the guild in addition to fear, would kill my sex drive.
Maybe I'm being overly critical or maybe I've just seen so many zombie movies that I find very little originality and creativity to be truly interested and entertained. I will keep watching.


9 comments:

  1. Great review, I was wondering about TWD...but I prob would do the sex in the woods thing...lol

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  2. I'm loving the show and I hope it keeps bringing the pain

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  3. I admit, i had an issue with smearing blood, and the blood splattering. Some people would be infected, but it's TV.

    I actually thought about the Zombie Blood smell tactic before they did, so I thought I was pretty smart there haha. It's supposed to be that they smell like death, not life :P

    As for it copying 28 days, apparently 28 days can be seen ripping off older movies (I forget which ones, it was a big threat on IMDB though). Waking up to an apocalypse (and not just Zombie) has apparently been done a lot.

    Is some of the reboots of Dawn of the Dead and like, some of the zombies did "evolve" or begin to learn :)

    I have Dead Air coming from Netflix, so I'll watch it on DVD when it comes.

    As much as I find faults with TWD, I still am enjoying it.

    BTW, Modern Day Zombie Lore was invented by Romero and Night of the Living Dead, it has nothing to do with Zombies in Voodoo and African cultures :) Therefore I don't know if there are really rules one has to follow in order to do it right :P

    For example, Zombie's no longer eat the brains, but the brain and the head is still the way to kill the zombie.

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  4. I missed this but wanted to see it. Will have to catch in rerun!

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  5. First off, thanks for the link. You know I love you and appreciate the shout-out. But, a few thoughts of my own: As with the vampire genre, the rules of the zombie genre are fluid, according to whoever is writing them. In the original "Night of the Living Dead," zombies are seen eating insects, so they aren't limited to human flesh. Indeed, my own screenplay "Army of the Dead" (written in 2004) mentions zombies taking down a horse in Central Park. As for "28 Days Later," it came out two months before the first published issue of "The Walking Dead," which means both writers had coincidentally had the same idea, thousands of miles apart. It happens. In Romero's "Day of the Dead," the zombie Bub exhibits rudimentary memory and in "Land of the Dead," the zombies figure out that the lights across the lake mean people, so there's no reason they can't use tools or climb ladders. Car batteries don't just die after a month or so (ask my mother, who only uses her car once a month or so). The jammed highway was leading out of Atlanta, which makes so much more sense than people trying to get into a massively infected city. As for the sex in the woods, you can't tell me there isn't a thrill associated with outdoor sex, no matter how dangerous it might be (and they already said the zombies are more active at night). As for the zombies' senses, if they can see and hear, why shouldn't they smell. In my screenplay, they have no actual senses, but are driven by electrochemical impulses emitted by the bio-engineered virus that drives them. In fiction, the rules apply only as each writer creates them, germane to his or her own vision. Romero may have created the genre, but the rules are never set in stone. Enjoy the show for what it is, like all great fiction, an examination of the human condition. As I';ve said in both my reviews, "The Walking Dead" is the story about the living trying to survive in a world gone mad. There are no rules.

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  6. I have not seen it yet either. I must try to put it on my list.

    Ray

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  7. First, I was in a bitchy mood when I wrote that post but I stand by it. I am open minded and understand that for every zombie there is a new set of rules. What I didn't make clear is that the faults as I saw/see them I felt really came from writer's contrivance and the director saying we need something here.

    I would never compare zombies of one movie to those of another but I think that there are certain criteria that must be met or else you're no longer a zombie movie and are just a monster movie.

    As for the road entering Atlanta, you honestly believe no one used that side to flee town? And with all those cars, there are no zombies?

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  8. Sean, I enjoyed streaming the show(will have to wait to see more as we don't have TV/cable) and saw many of the same things you did. I'm OK with the zombie/apocalypse portrayal in this tale and I am excited about the series. I don't mind changing lore; many people do and I can understand their feelings too.

    Really good shows end up being about the human condition, no matter where or when they are set. TWD seems to do just that, with a great deal of thought, nuance, and style, something greatly lacking in much entertainment today.

    I hope people give the show a chance and it ends up being successful enough to warrant many seasons.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I've been wondering what you thought of this show, since I could tell you are a zombie fan. I don't have quite as many issues with the internal logic as you do, but a big one I agree with you on is the contagion factor. However, I'm willing to overlook it for now. Plus, the cops are both SO hot!

    Have you ever checked out David Wellington's Monster Island, Monster Nation and Monster Planet? You can read them free online. There's a supernatural twist to the usual scenario that took a bit of getting used to, but I think you might like it. Interestingly, those zombies consume anything living (even plants), and animals also become zombies. My favorite was the middle novel, because it kind of detailed what caused the problem and the early attempts at containment.

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