First, let me say I’ve read three graphic novel collections (comprising 36 issues of the comic on which the show is based) and about a half-dozen episodes of season 1. My opinion on the content is consistent: meh.
Meh explained: There is nothing particularly new about the material other than it is exceptionally gory. On a gore scale, I believe TWD sets new records, so there’s always that.
Here’s the big problem – it’s a story about zombies. Zombies have to be the most boring of all fiction monsters. The backstory is always the same: they die and come back; they get infected and die and come back; the get infected and change and come back; they get infected and change and die and come back.
There’s no pathos to a zombie. No brooding or consideration on the nature of humanity that you get with, say, Frankenstein or Dracula. Just decomposing flesh and munchies.
And they always amble. Apparently, there are no fast zombies (not counting Kirkman’s ridiculous “Marvel Zombies” run). Some munch on people. Some only want brains. Some don’t do much of anything at all.
That’s it. The end.
Now, it’s not like I haven’t watched zombie movies. Heck, good old Charlton Heston, after being Moses and Ben Hur and El Cid, got to fight zombies in Omega Man. And there was a quirky little low-budget job from the 80’s called “Warning Sign” that I remember fondly.
So, how to explain my utter disinterest in TWD? Well, I can still watch a movie about zombies (albeit on free cable, as in “World War Z”), but six years of zombies??? By now, the “unturned” should be outnumbered several hundred million to one. I mean, c’mon, stretch belief much?
Still, it’s not just zombies that have lost my interest. Seriously, what’s left to do with the “big guns” of monster fame?
There’s really not been anything original in werewolves since “An American Werewolf in London” (with maybe a shout out to Jack Nicholson), but that doesn’t stop consecutive releases of “Underworld” or various one-offs.
There have been atrocious recent “versions” of Frankenstein and Dracula as well as the almost brain-numbingly bad concept of Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter. Good gosh, who approves these at the studios?
Vampires have been exploited up the wazoo by now. It’s not like Twilight or the current TV vampire shows are developed for me anyway. And even they are derivative. If I wanted teen angst mixed with my vampires, I’d watch Buffy. Of course, if you really want teen angst, you have to go all the way back to Michael Landon.
Yes, I know this is “era” based. I grew up with those famous “Universal Monsters” of old, the ones they made model kits out of.
Still, just because I grew up in the dawn of monsters (Bela Lugosi fans are getting their pitchforks ready for me), doesn’t mean today’s producers can’t come up with enjoyable reprises. After the last hideous production of Godzilla 20 years ago with Mathew Broderick, the last version that came out a couple of years ago was fun.
But even Godzilla has more pathos than zombies.