I won’t lie. We watch the Walking Dead. By “we” I mean Bailey and I, Michelle won’t have anything to do with it. I will speculate the reasons why so many guys like the show has something to do with an adolescent fascination with not only Zombies, Zombie movies, and the gore, but also the inclination to be a part of the rebuilding of society after a collapse. We fancy ourselves to be heirs of MacArthur, drawing up plans of conquest and then rehabilitating an ash covered land. Make it better.
In the interim of seasons for the show you might have noticed a few others that cropped up. While these did not rip off The Walking Dead, they did venture into some sort of Dystopia genre. Here are a few (some of these were in the works before TWD had its first season, so I assume media minds tend to think alike).
1. Falling Skies: Alien invasion
2. Under the Dome: Stephen King’s contribution, and a novel
3. Resurrection: A rip off, or I should say American version, of a French television series about dead people returning (or have they?).
4. The 100: Sci-fi show for the high school kids. A nuclear war, survivors living for several generations on a space station, and criminal teens being jettisoned back to Earth.
5. Dominion: Takes the story line from the film Dominion and advances it about twenty years. God has abandoned his place and the angels get pissed. They blame humanity, so they decide to wage a war against people to vent their frustrations. People are living in close quarters, and walled cities are refuges from attacks.
6. The Last Ship: Deadly virus outbreak, and the crew of a U.S. Navy destroyer are on a mission in the arctic to locate the protovirus, and hopefully a cure. Meanwhile, nations across the globe descend into chaos. This was also a novel (circa 1980s), but it was not a virus, it was a nuclear war.
I have watched each of these, but a few are a little hard to get into. I liked Falling Skies, at first. Now? It is getting tired.
The first season I really enjoyed. The second season was even better. The third season I was a fan. This season? Meh. The acting is getting tired. I am not convinced. This Tom Mason guy has had everything thrown at him and now he just seems to take it all in stride. Come on! His daughter is part of the alien conspiracy! He should be acting a little more concerned. When the Volm showed up you would think it would start a pretty good war, leading up to an eventual victory. Nope. This keeps on for another season, and then his newborn daughter displays some odd abilities. Like growing up in a matter of days. The ability to speak complete sentences while still an infant, not to mention mind control and shifting the laws of physics. So where does this get us, in season four? The 2nd Mass. (the name of the resistance group) roams the eastern U.S., gets put in a ghetto, some get “skitterized” (mutated into worker drones), a few key people get bumped off (what was that guy’s name, no matter, he was a red shirt), an escape, and a showdown. Now they have one of the alien ships and plan to attack their base on the moon. Give me a break. I know Spielberg produces this show, but the writers need to be pummeled. It sucks.
Under the Dome
A small town finds itself encapsulated under an impregnable, and invisible, force field. Nothing can fly over it. Nobody can get in. Nobody can get out. There’s a meth manufacturing dynasty trapped in there with the good townsfolk. That’s about all I know. Could not care any less. I like Stephen King, who wrote the story, but this did not translate well to television. Saw one episode and flushed it.
In a rice field in China a little boy wakes up. It is discovered he is a young American citizen, but he has no idea how he came to be in China. U.S. Immigration escorts him home, to a small Kansas town. The reunion with his parents is anything but normal. Dad is the actor who played Red (That 70’s Show), and he is dumbfounded. Their kid died over twenty years ago and they buried his body after a very difficult funeral. In fact the body is still in the grave (later episode). Soon other people who have died begin showing up. The ministers wife who committed suicide, the criminal father of one of the main characters, etc. Are these zombies? I was watching this show, but fell behind. Omar Epps is the federal agent, and he does a good job. I saw the French version (the original “Revenant”) on IFC, and this does make it easier (subtitles, and I don’t speak French). Let me ruin it for you: This all has something to do with the river. It has some spiritual/moral lessons, and it is worth watching.
We had a nuclear war, and it devastated the planet. Some of the smarter people evacuated to a hodgepodge space station in orbit above the Earth. For one hundred years they have been orbiting, all the while families were made (but you can only have one kid), and crimes occurred (murder), as well as political regimes being established. Now the station is decaying, and losing its air supply. What to do? Let’s take all those juvenile delinquents, you know? The oversexed, hormonal, ne’er do wells with their techno music and desire to procreate, yeah, them. Let’s put them in pods and send them to Earth. Maybe things are getting better down there. In the meantime, if you break a law the punishment is to be pushed out of an airlock. This show intrigues my son, mostly because he is about to be 13 and all the protagonists are not much older. Me? Once again… Meh. Kass Morgan wrote the novel the series is based on, and just like everything else related to Dystopia and Teens, there is a sequel (out this September). If you liked Hunger Games, or Divergent, you can watch this tired idea play out on CW network stations. I’ll skip it.
They pick up where Legion left off, or at least try to. Remember the baby? The one the creepy old lady said was going to die at the beginning of the movie? He didn’t die. Of course not, because Michael (the arch angel) broke out all the swords and guns and wasted all the zombified people and angels. Then that guy got together with the girl and they took off into the desert with the baby, and the battle continued. Well it seems the battle did not go well for either side. It’s a stalemate. And Las Vegas is HQ for all the badasses and truly smart people (figure that one out). The baby has grown up, and he is a soldier in the angel killer army, trained personally by Michael (not played by the guy from the movie). He is unaware of who he is, or how his birth was the central point of the movie. Jeep, the guy who protected him, is presumed dead, and his mother is dead. He finds out later on he is the “Chosen One” when surrogate dad (Jeep) finally shows up all bearded and hard from fighting bad angels. Then Jeep is assassinated, and he gets the “markings”. These are nothing more than the tattoos the arch angel Michael had in the first movie and passed onto Jeep. Now he has to decipher them and save humanity, or convince God to come back. Skip this one. It’s on Sci-Fi Network and does have some decent production, but the premise sucks and they’ll try to drag it out. You have to have an ending in mind, but some people want to make a good thing last until Fonzie jumps sharks on waterskis.
The Last Ship
I really hope they have an end in mind. The Cap’n is a smart guy. He speaks Russian. His ship is equipped with Tomahawks and a SEAL Team. They escort Rhona Mitra to the arctic region to collect samples for research, all sanctioned by the U.S. government. She isn’t there to fight the evil vampire/lycan kabal. She’s a research doctor. Turns out this super secret voyage is an effort to save humanity, which is being wiped out by a deadly disease. It kills in hours or days. Once you get it- Game over. The Russians are hunting them, and they face all kinds of obstacles as they learn populations have been wiped out. Naval bases are unoccupied due to the fact everybody died. They have no contact with the U.S. government and things look grim. Spoiler* She finds a cure. In the first season. What? Yeah, you heard me. So they head home, right? Sure. But now that they’re back they find the whole place in chaos. Some chick, the Secretary of Whatever, is now in charge, and they’re in Baltimore. Meet up with them and turn over the cure, save the world. Hip hip, Hooray! Not so fast. There are splinter groups (this is a Dystopia after all). Or are they? Maybe the government is the bad guy? That’s where the season ended. While not true to the novel, which was written during the waning days of the Cold War, it is a good story line. It will be a good show if… They have an ending in mind and write towards that goal. Don’t drag it out.
What I Would Like To See
Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead adapted well to the small screen. But he is not finished writing the comics, so it could go on for some time. AMC would do well to hit Kirkman up for another “reimagining”. Infinite Horizon. As one of the owners of Image Comics he could be sitting in a sweet spot. When TWD takes one of its long breaks AMC could whip out this story, a retelling of the Odyssey, to fill its time slot. Who is watching “TURN” anyway? The story has all the elements necessary for a mini-series success (beginning, middle, and a damned sure end). Plus it will keep the demographic interested. I mean, I was totally on board with buying a hybrid car in case of a zombie apocalypse (that was one of the biggest advertising programs during the first two seasons of TWD). You could do gun commercials for Infinite Horizon. Or big ass trucks.
I can’t wait for Mad Men to go away. Never watched it. Who cares about advertising, except for production people? It pays the bills, but seriously? A show about advertising with advertising breaks.