I just don't get the fanfare for The Walking Dead. Okay, zombies, I am predisposed to like this show-nay, even love it!-and I...okay, don't is too mild a word.
Really don't. There.
The gender-roles thing is hard for me to deal with. I won't lie. The first dialog of the first season premiere set that tone unfortunately accurately. And this season...oy. I stopped watching halfway through the premiere, after the men decide that Andrea cannot have a gun because it makes them uncomfortable. She might, you know, kill herself or someething. Because she seems so suicidal, fighting off walkers with a screwdriver. My students persuaded me to try the shoow up again, halfway through the season.* It gets better, they said. It did, a little, for Andrea. But! Then there was the crap about Lori's pregnancy...her angst about abortion could have been a great storyline, but the "abortion pill" shit spouted by another woman was just silly. As is the All About Me crap with the guys---Darrel's a dick to Carol because he feels bad that her daughter died (what?) and Glen has to have some alone time because his love for Maggie is the reason he froze under fire (double what? Seriously? The hell?) I can't excuse that shit just because there's a hot dude with bare arms walking around. It's a little ironic that Sons of Anarchy--one of the most overtly masculine/male themes out there--deals with women, violence against them, sexism, with far more grace and nuance. Or maybe not, since Kurt whatisname wrote the show around his wife's character.
It isn't just the women, either. Everyone's characterization turns on stereotype. Development, not so much. More like a shift from one stereotype to another...shift, like the grinding of gears because the plot development clutch isn't all the way in. When there is a complex motivational opportunity--like Shane, Rick, and Lori--the writers go to the simplest, one-note solution. Jealousy outweighs friendship. Violence ensues. It really is all about the relationship among men, or, if you're a woman, the relationship with them. But yes. Rick is changing. Haven't seen a nice guy go badass/asshole before. Nope. Never. Wait. Yes, yes I have. 28 Days Later. Farscape. Sarah Connor Chronicles. Hell, Jax in Sons is always negotiating the facets of his character. Maybe if Rick had facets, he could do that too!
The cinematography is as manipulative. Cuts and angles designed to keep the viewer from seeing things--okay, a fine technique!--but then we are asked to believe that the characters, too, share that limited vision. Which is, presumably, how dozens of walkers can march up a road and get within a few yards before anyone sees them. Or how someone with a pair of dudes in collars and chains can magically appear behind Andrea, when Andrea's been looking around specifically for pursuit. One magic ninja in a hoodiee, I might buy. A magic ninja in a hoodie with two gimps on chains, not so much.
I will probably watch it next season anyway. I feel kinda obligated, given my course theme. I can always hope for improvement. Or a sense of humor. In that, it's as bad as BSG.
*To be fair: I'd've loved the show at their age, too, and forgiven its flaws assuming I even noticed. I don't rag on it in front of them, although I do hack on individual characters. We all think Carl needs a beatdown.