I’m already sick to death with February! The prospect of stupid Valentine’s Day will usually bring out a gollup of spiteful resentment in me at the best of times. But it goes a little deeper than that. I’m fed up with the dark mornings, the dark nights, and the dark rings around my scathing eyes.
Weather forecasters keep scaring us with predictions for Day After Tomorrow’esque snow blizzards; my winter weight gain has reached its zenith and I have now started to collapse into myself like a dying star, and the expensive garden I built currently looks like a perfect medium to grow rice in!
This black dog of seasonal depression always hits me at this time of year, and usually continues right up until Christmas. As a means of escape, and to avoid a messy divorce, I try to lighten my mood with a little TV. Last year I worked my way through five seasons of Breaking Bad, the year before was a gruelling three seasons of Boardwalk Empire. This year, I thought I would try the hugely popular The Walking Dead.
Well, I’ve done the first season, and I got two episodes into the second, and promptly gave up.
I’m a big fan of the show’s star performer, Andrew Lincoln, and a sprawling story about a zombie apocalypse is just my particular brand of tea – as it were. In fact, I did spend a lot of the first two episodes nodding my head enthusiastically, and thinking, ‘Holy jumped-up bald-headed Jesus palomino! I would be just like him!’
As Deputy Rick Grimes, Egg, sorry, Andrew Lincoln, does a stand-up job and gives a believable grimace to an unbelievably horrifying situation. The American accent is no worse than Dick Van Dyke’s cockney horseshit, and as the hero figure, he plays it low key and from an everyman perspective I like.
Trying to find his family while coming to terms with the new, bitey neighbours, the show got off to a promising start – with the tension becoming as epic as the production itself. The camera pulling back on an Atlanta city street, slowly expanding the view and revealing thousands of “walkers”, was a real highlight of that first episode. For such a wide shot, it felt utterly claustrophobic.
The supporting cast do a reasonable job, and deliver the dialogue with just enough commitment to stop it going full cheese… and it’s always a pleasure to see the bat-shit crazy Michael Rooker on our screens.
But this isn’t a review, because as I said a while back, I quit the show after the first season.
Because it was just too damned depressing! I was feeling gloomy enough, without watching a band of people under constant fear of being eaten by a bazillion bastard zombies! It was too much for me, and this is coming from someone who is a seasoned horror fan, and loves a juicy plotline to slowly work through. I did five seasons of Breaking Bad in a month… The Walking Dead should have been a walk in the park.
But it seems to me (and I know this is only after one season), the show might ultimately suffer from its own longevity. What I mean is that whilst Rick and his fellow survivors might encounter the occasional moment of light relief (precious little in the first season, and non-existent in the first two episodes of season two!), that constant threat of being swarmed by happy eaters is just too much of a buzz-kill.
Oh… and I have since learnt that our ill-fated troupe of walking ready meals frequently run into other humans who also want to do nasty things to them! No, no thanks.
In short, you can’t help but feel they are simply running from the inevitable – like One Direction does from their inescapable obscurity!
Again, I know this is a short-sighted view, and maybe if I worked through the five seasons currently available, I may be proved wrong. But The Walking Dead was a little too gloomy for me, and filled with the kind of existential horror I normally reserve for dinner with my in-laws.
… and it’s only the 10th February!
Paul Millard 2015