Welcome to MostlyFilm’s review of 2013, which we like to think of as pleasingly eccentric, rather than randomly boshed together. We’re here all week (try the brisket). We kick off with a review of the year in TV, with musings from Ricky Young on zombies, The Tramp on Elementary, Sarah Slade on the reality TV successes of the year, Viv Wilby on a reality near-miss, Ron Swanson on US comedy and drama, and Indy Datta on web TV.
By Ricky Young.
Things have changed. A bit.
When we last talked about AMC’s The Walking Dead on MostlyFilm, we spent most of the article agog at how a programme so filled with desperate and throbbing flaws could continue to be such a mega-hit.
Make no mistake – and broadsheet media-section column inches be damned – this is by far AMC’s biggest show. Yes, they have Mad Men, of course, watched by Mark Lawson, Mark Lawson’s cat, Mark Lawson’s commissioning editor and absolutely nobody else. They had Breaking Bad, which managed a degree of cultural significance by repackaging the good bits of The Shield half-a-decade later, and whose ludicrously hype-drenched finale was watched by a supposedly epic 10.3 million viewers.
Want to know something? Thirteen out of The Walking Dead’s sixteen third-season episodes beat the ass off that. More people regularly tuned in to watch Egg out of This Life get chased by golems again than could be bothered finding out what ended up happening to Walter White. (Spoiler: He returned to his own planet.)
People sure do love the heck out of zombies, it seems. But, like a creeping, tenacious infection, spreading from a single starting point and extending its influence into multiple parts of the whole, this year The Walking Dead showed signs of an extremely worrying and unexpected new symptom.
By Ricky Young
The success of AMC’s The Walking Dead could be regarded as something of a mystery. At the end of its second season, it commands relatively stellar US ratings, is relentlessly zeitgeisty, and even has its own post-airing discussion show, Talking Dead – all the while featuring production flaws the size of shotgun-blasts to the torso.
And that’s being kind. This programme is shit. Shit on toast, shit on a water-biscuit, shit on grits, whatever grits might be. It is, by any measurable standard, a genuinely terrible programme. The premise is a genre cliché, the plotting is insane, the dialogue is like nails down a blackboard and the acting is truly laughable. I use that word with care – watch a few episodes and try not to emit long, deathless barks of empty faux-mirth on a regular and involuntary basis.
The thing is, though, I love The Walking Dead.