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October 25 2016

(SPOILER) Check out Emma Caulfield first recurring TV diary column she's writing for Entertainment Weekly. This first one is about 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 premiere (thus the spoiler tag). EW invited her to write a recurring column for the 2016-2017 TV season, after loving what she wrote about 'The 100' Season finale a few months ago.

She seems to be a bit more forgiving to TWD than myself. While I too have a love-hate relationship with it and can't quit it either, I think this cliffhanger fiasco has pushed me nearly to the point of stepping away. Just way too manipulative for me. It didn't need to drag on like this, and the wait took the impact out of much of it for me.
In complete agreement. I'm done with it. It's not even remotely difficult.
Yeah the cliffhanger was stupid and completely took the impact out of everything. I have a friend who was catching up on the show and had only just finished S6 the day before and she was in floods of tears for this episode but I just couldn't feel it because in trying to make me care the show succeeded in making me not care.

I'm still sticking with it for the moment because stupidly I do like some of the characters and actors, but the show really needs to have a big concept shake up. It can't just be 'look for safe place > find safe place > place is not safe' with an added side of 'people are awful' forever.
The pattern is already broken. They have new adversaries, but Alexandria is the survivors' home for the foreseeable future. The show is fast catching up to the comics as well (lots of changes, though...many wild cards...Daryl and Tara don't exist in the comics, they're original creations of the show aside from a different and less fleshed out version of Tara's now-deceased sister existing in the comics).

I agree that the pattern of finding a safe or seemingly safe new home, having it destroyed by outside forces or found to be unsafe, and then wandering around until they find a new place...could get repetitive after a while (they had the camp in Atlanta, the CDC, Hershel's farm, the prison and/or Woodbury, Terminus, and then Alexandria). I prefer when they're homeless, I think the show's often way more interesting when they're on the run (second half of Season 4 and the first half of Season 5 was some of my favourite portions of the series).

My biggest problem with the show was during the slump in Season 3 (mostly after Lori's death -- the governor shoots her and baby Judith in the comics as the prison falls, whereas she died MUCH earlier in the show in one of the show's better shockers that was an emotional gut-punch as well). I hated what they did to Andrea's character in most of that season and then to seemingly bow to fan pressure and kill her off because of how universally disliked she was...she's an integral part of the comics (I'm a year or two behind on those) and survives long after the gang arrives in Alexandria.

For me, the impact of most of the deaths from last season and this season were lessened by the fact that most of the characters died in the comics by that point and they're hewing closely enough to the source material that some of them have become predictable. They're still well-acted and sometimes they're still satisfyingly written, but most aren't all that surprising if you've read the source material.

***Season 6 and Season 7 premiere episode spoilers follow***

Deanna dies not long after her husband in the comics (she's a gender reversal character, though -- she was Douglas in the comics and her husband Reg was Regina in the comics). The death is a BIT different in the show and more heroic.

Carol continues to be a badass in the show, but the younger, blonde, sorta ditzy version of her in the comics died midway through the prison arc. The most changed character from page to screen (but for the better). It's a death reversal from the comics -- Sophia is still alive, albeit quite emotionally damaged from everything she's witnessed and losing both parents, and in the show they killed her and let Carol live.

Doctor Denise (who likes Alexandrian Heath in the comics and there is no Tara in the comics to fall for...I don't think they had any lesbians or bi women in the comics, just a couple gay couples and one male/male couple that were "prison gay") too on Abraham's death. Dwight shot ABRAHAM through the head in the books. I'm glad they let him live a bit longer on TV, but sad to have lost the actor who played Denise, as she was a favourite of mine from Nurse Jackie. In the books, she was bit by a walker and kept stitching people up and saving lives until the fever took her.

Abraham WAS a bit of a surprise for me, only because they handed his method of demise off to Denise and seemed to be sinking a lot of time into developing him, but it turns out that that was as much of a fake-out as Glen's almost-death and dumpster save.

I would've been disappointed if they HADN'T killed Glen. It's too powerful and continually FELT to NOT do. Nothin' beats those moments in the book, but the show pulled it off real well too.

I hope they don't kill off any more of the originals from the first season or two of the series, at least not until toward the end of the series. Otherwise it'll get like 24 did in Season 5 and you're left thinking, "Who is there left to care about or invest in, with only the leading man and his child left?" (although that worked for the Viggo Mortensen film The Road, but I'd prefer Walking Dead to not get THAT bleak).

The Jessie-and-her-sons deaths were mishandled and some of sloppiest deaths in the series, IMO. In the books, they feel like they happen in the natural flow of the things (and Ron is Sam's age, a little boy, and there's no Sam in thw books). On TV, they did the same thing as was done with Abe and Glen's deaths -- wasting a ton of good build-up to do them AFTER a break (mid-season break in that cast and summer break in Abe & Glen's case).

I like the show more for the moral dilemmas it faces the viewers with and to see the survival-against-the-odds and the rebuilding of society elements, but a whole lot of fans are focused on the deaths and who-will-die-next elements and they ARE a big part of the series, so it's sort of interesting to discuss them.

[ edited by Kris on 2016-10-27 22:00 ]
And what frustrates me most is that at times TWD's moral dilemmas and philosophical discussions have been very compelling. It's a unique show that can frame things about life/death that many shows can't or at least not to this extreme. As up and down as the series has been, there have been some amazing moments that I would deem as unforgettable television.

If the death(s) had occurred in the finale (with no cliffhanger) we would have been discussing things like "where do they go now?" "How can they come back from this?" "What's this Negan guy's motivation/history!? Instead, the cliffhanger forced the conversation to be simply "who get's the bat?!?" and we had 6 months to imagine every single character dying a brutal death. So it was nearly impossible to really surprise us (even if they did throw a slight twist in there).

This show seems to constantly take 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Ultimately though, I really do think they can still tell some great stories. I will continue to put up with the gimmicks and lazy twists in hope that there will be a few of those "unforgettable" moments each season. And, as much as I might like a clean break at the moment, I still care about some of these characters and what happens to them. The cliffhanger is just gonna leave a sour taste in my mouth that it's gonna take a while to get out.

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