This season’s premiere of the Walking Dead opened with a lot of action, but unfortunately the characterization was not a huge improvement over last year. This seems like it’s going to remain a show I watch in order to see what happens rather than because I’m rooting for the characters (besides Daryl, naturally).
I’m torn because I love zombie properties, but I’ve always favored character-driven rather than concept-driven television. It’s a new experience for me to sit and watch people I really don’t like for 44 minutes. No matter how cool a scene is, it’s very hard for me to be invested in it if I don’t care about the characters. Even with the characters I do like, it’s more of a lukewarm appreciation rather than the passion that I normally feel towards my favorite characters. To be fair, that may also be because most of the characters I like are minor ones, and their stories have been abbreviated in order to accommodate the unending and uninspiring soap opera between Rick, Lori, and Shane. Despite all hopes the contrary, Shane’s death hasn’t put the slightest dent in the writers’ enthusiasm for this tortuous and wholly unnecessary drama.
Michonne was by far the biggest highlight of the episode; I spent most of the premiere wishing she and Andrea had more screen time. The prisoner reveal at the end brings the hope that the cast might be rounded out with a few more likeable people. If only we could count on Rick, Lori, and Carl all going the way of Dale and Shane, the show would look as if it were going to be downright good, especially with the eventual addition of the Governor. Is it wrong that I find myself rooting for him just because I know he’s going to challenge Rick?
On a more unfortunate note, it seems the writers–for reasons known only to themselves–decided to take a page from George Lucas’s handbook and set up a romance between a child and a teenage girl, to take the characters to new heights of repulsiveness, and possibly to prove that the writers just aren’t terribly fond of women. This is one trainwreck I hope gets dealt with quickly rather than be allowed to drag out over the course of the season.