The Zombie Universe – On TV


The Walking Dead

Consider this an update on my other zombie article, Let’s Talk Zombies from July 2021, because a lot can happen in the zombie universe during the intervening years.

As I mentioned in 2021, I managed to reach the end of season 9 which concluded with the loss of a beloved character. However, the scene in which he disappeared was ambiguous, to say the least, and left the door ajar for a possible return. After that, the story continued with our main group of survivors battling The Whisperers – humans who wear actual zombie flesh faces so they can move around in the walker hordes with impunity. It was at that point I left the series and only re-joined it for season 10 a couple of months ago. The Whisperers had been defeated, with Nasty Negan playing a pivotal role in their demise and Maggie having to tolerate his existence although he had bludgeoned her husband Glenn to death with his favourite weapon of choice, Lucille.

The stand-off between Maggie and Negan is permanent, but as the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that even though they are sworn enemies, they both need each other, for better or worse. When I joined season 10 I knew that season 11 would be the finale and having tolerated some gruelling low points in the series – lack of zombies and far too much soap-opera bickering between characters – I was keen to see it through to the very end because it was clear that The Walking Dead had reached its sell-by date. On the other hand, many of the characters really do develop into hardened apocalypse veterans, with some colourful new characters emerging, not least The Princess who soon became one of my favourite personalities.

The series mimics real life because we all know what happens in revolutions – the revolutionaries soon become mirrors of the regimes they overthrow and create new dictators with megalomaniac tendencies. Most of the human enemy strongholds in The Walking Dead are controlled by such nutters, so it comes as no surprise that The Commonwealth, in the final season, although benevolent on the outside in a Stepford Wives manner, a sinister undercurrent lurks unseen. Naturally, our hero survivors mostly last the course until the final whistle with Daryl Dixon riding off over the horizon, having bid farewell to Carol – you know he will be back.

Fear The Walking Dead

My favourite aspect of apocalypse genres is always the beginning of the end. Characters are going about their normal lives – making breakfast for the kids, driving to work, and generally living their somewhat dull existences much like we do. In Fear The Walking Dead (FTWD) this is what we see, but in a more extended sense over two or three episodes with the central characters oblivious to the disaster unfolding around them. However, in FTWD, it’s the kids that steal the show, and not in a good way, because we have two dysfunctional families thrown together, and the teenagers, who don’t get along with each other at all, are irritating at best. Set in Los Angeles, it’s difficult for me not to shout, “Wtf do you think you’re doing!” when one of the teens casually walks, unarmed, towards the danger when our instincts would tell us to either flee or hide. For example, here are some of the phrases I have shouted at the TV:

“Pick up that weapon!” – character ignores it.

“Shut the effing door!” – character nonchalantly leaves the door wide open, allowing walkers (zombies) to follow.

“Stop messing about!” – characters stop to hug each other after a miraculous rescue with zombies encroaching at a worrying rate not five yards away.

“Come back! Don’t go over there!” – one character decides he’s immortal, breaks off from the group and, unarmed, decides to investigate a location that we all know will end in tears.

“Don’t open that door!” – character opens said door in spite of audible zombie moans and is surprised when his neck becomes zombie breakfast.

Anyway, let’s consider this as Part Two of my latest zombie fest and since I’m only at season 3 out of 8 in Fear The Walking Dead, I’m sure I’ll be shouting at the TV until the very end, so stay tuned.

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