“The Walking Dead”

Hey Snootsketeers!

The title of this post does not, actually, refer to TSO management lately — although we do apologize for the long break between posts. (We do!) Rather, it is the title of your new favorite, must-see TV show of the fall. But before we get to that, we’ll catch up on things, and introduce a new feature that will hopefully drag our asses to the keyboard more often.

Much of October was spent working on a TV project that took us out to Wellesley for several nights, on the Chaffees’ pull-out bed; this will be blogged about accordingly in the near-future.

November is going to be a Foxwoods month for me, so there may be some posts that bore you to tears as well. (Though Dr. Stu Chaffee, taking some time off before starting his new job, will be joining me this Monday). Speaking of which, I was there yesterday afternoon when a man in his fifties seated next to me asked if one of the TVs could be changed to channel 14 — and I winced when channel 14 turned out to be FOX News. He then spent the next several hours talking about how Obama was about to spend $2 billion traveling to India “to see the lights,” telling everyone how good the cider there was and pushing it on several players, and asking me if I knew how screwed my generation was by Obamacare (without making eye contact, I simply said “we’ll agree to disagree,” a lesson I have learned the hard way). That, dear Snootsketeers, is why God created ipods.

So, anyways, TV. We’ve all had a little pit in our souls since “Lost” went off the air in May, and networks for years have been trying to duplicate its formula for success. I watched three episodes of the latest such effort, “The Event,” before realizing it was essentially a clone of “24” and losing interest (Possibly Fun Fact: “24” and “The Event” had the same show-runner!)

This previous Sunday night, though, I saw the first show in a while that has really stuck with me and made me look forward to its next episode. It’s “The Walking Dead,” a new post-apocalyptic zombie serial on AMC, and I’m telling you about it now because the pilot re-airs tonight at 1o p.m. and 2 a.m. EST, and again tomorrow night (Sunday morning) at 2 a.m. EST. Meaning you need to set your DVR’s or whatever before the 2nd episode airs Sunday night, because you won’t find it online.

In addition to being spectacular (more on that in a moment), TWD had one of the most ambitious, creative publicity campaigns in recent memory. Last Tuesday, in two dozen cities across the world, a hundred or so “zombies” showed up and staggered around for a while. Some of you nine-to-fivers here in Boston may have noticed them during your morning commute.

Okay, about the show. YES, it involves zombies, and YES, that is going to turn off a lot of females, and my friend Justin. But if you can get over the hump of  the violence, gore, and spookiness that comes with the territory of the genre, you’re in for a treat. Here’s why:

1. It’s on AMC. Also known as the network with the mojo right now. Like HBO 8-10 years ago (The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Rome), they are on a tear. This is only their fourth original series, but their first two, “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” already have a closetful of Emmys, and “Rubicon,” from what I hear, may not be far behind. And the executive producers on TWD are Frank Darabont (who directed “The Shawshank Redemption”) and Gale Anne Hurd (who produced several of James Cameron’s movies), so you’re in good hands. AMC is obviously not shy about spending BIG BUCKS on their shows, leading to bullet-point number two:

2. It looks and sounds gorgeous. It’s shot on 16mm film, which kind of de-colorizes the world and makes it grainier — giving it the feel of a zombie classic. The zombie make-up and special effects are easily the best I’ve ever seen. And just as importantly, the sound design is just as scary — something I rarely notice, but in my experience, generally, in a post-apocalyptic world with zombies running around, there are going to be times when nothing is going on… until something is definitely going on. The way you use sound during those “dead spots” is key to keeping you scared.

3. A likable hero. Andrew Lincoln plays our hero, a deputy in a town outside Atlanta who wakes up from a coma to the new and wonderful world of zombies. I have no idea who he is, but I really like him. Plus he has the exact same birthday as one Stuart Charles Chaffee, PhD.

4. A script with lots of depth. There were two moments in the pilot that were nigh-on-heartbreaking — and both were “interactions” (if you can call them that) between a human and a zombie.

5. The climactic scene. An unbelievable set piece in which our hero, on an unconventional mode of transportation, goes from having no zombies around him, to having plenty of zombies around him. How he gets out of the jam (for the time being), and what happens to his mode of transportation, will have your heart racing by the time the episode winds down.

6. A short-term relationship if things “don’t work out.” AMC only ordered a six-episode run for Season 1! So you have an easy out.

So take five seconds and program your DVR, because AMC does not post episodes of their shows online, and, like “Lost,” I’m pretty sure this is one of those shows best watched week-to-week (as opposed to on DVD), where you have seven days between episodes to reflect on things.

Before we go, we’d like to introduce a new feature to the blog, tentatively titled “Athletes Murdering Metaphors.” The first installment is brought to you by Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt, who had this to say about his team’s signing of Randy Moss:

“I welcome him with open hands.”



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2 responses to ““The Walking Dead”

  1. Glad to see you’re back, son.

  2. FYI, it’s available On Demand, and it’s how Dr. Chaffee and I have caught up. We love it. It’s so scary/gory but worth it.

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