AMC The Walking Dead, 'Why So Appealing?'
AMC's The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is a science fiction horror television series based off the comic books of Robert Kirkman and developed by Frank Darabont. The television show develops after a post-apocalyptic event that turns all who are physically injured into the walking dead. The only way these walkers die is through decapitation. Most eloquently, the show is mainly about how individuals with differing psychological, behavioral, and physical tolls deal with the harsh realities of a post apocalyptic event such as a disease infested world.
Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln), a sheriff in a Georgian Town, arises out of the hospital after being critically shot in the head months earlier in the line of duty. Unaware of his surroundings or what has transpired during his time in a coma, Rick must quickly come to and fight his way out of a quickly overrun town of the undead. Rick Grimes, wife, son, and his now "extended family" must evolve as this post apocalyptic world becomes more and more of a reality.
This article aims to transform its readers into a perceptive audience and dissect the hit television show series into its successful components.
Television Show Series Analysis
The AMC television show series aired October 31, 2010 during Holloween. With over 5 million viewers for the first episode, the show quickly picked up speed. With now over 13 million active episode watchers now starting the 6th season, AMC's television series has seriously taken on a life of its own. Many people like to instill the success of the show has simply been through dore scenes.
While the show has emphasized unique means by which characters obliterate walkers, it is not at heart what makes the show successful. Not many really attribute the shows success with the emphasis placed into the characters psychological and behavioral profile. While both of these attributal factors are not the stand alone reason, they both simultaneously work in tandem with one another (ying and yang relationship). Additionally, an internal reality surfaces as well.
Why do SO many people find themselves clinging to their television boxes. Why are so many people captivated by this television series? It is not a very easy question to answer. But there seems to be a unifying theme behind the shows undenying success. The themes that seem to repeat themselves throughout the show are three special factors that will be elaborated in the subsequent paragraphs. Those indicators are as follows: (1) The Unique Death Scenes; (2) The character evolution both behaviorally and psychologically; and lastly, (3) The Internal Reality. I understand the last one seems a little obscure, but you will soon will understand what I mean by this statement. Additionally, the numbering of these factors does not indicate their importance.
It is apparent that fans of the television series reveal there love for gore and horror all over social media. Additionally, there is a television series that airs right after The Walking Dead called The Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick, that amplifies the deaths of the walkers. In fact, they brought in some, if not, the best special effects and make-up artists in the world to work on these kill scenes. And I want to make super clear, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG.... WITH THAT!
The mass appeal stems a little deeper than just the uniqueness and the quantity of killings. Most of this death rage stems from an internal biological workings to destroy something and be victorious. But most importantly, our enjoyment comes form the understanding that what we are seeing isn't real. Over our lifetimes, we will watch many things that are hanous and destructive. But, (1) it is with whom we associate those acts with, and (2) if they are real, that allow us to individually and socially accept those acts. We aren't personally attached to the occurrences within the show and although we mentally would love to participate, in reality, we wouldn't be mentally strong enough to psychological cope with such an occurrence. This is a very deep point that the show expands upon and a reason I am a strong water of the series.
One of the things that The Walking Dead does better than everyone else is the development of their characters. This isn't just subtle developments and small microcosmic evolutions, these are are very powerful behavioral and psychological transformations that transpire over a serious time. It doesn't end there. They encapsulate these different behavioral and psychological transformations within each character personality, which is wildly complex. And when you think the complexity can't get any more complicated, you toss in a person here and there, you lose a person here and there, and the complexity just keeps getting exponentially difficult. You are left feeling perplexed and sometimes mad because there are some personalities that take complete 180s, while others do not.
Rick Grimes, Andrew Lincoln's character, is a prime subject of this drastic evolution. Like Daryl, the guy has done and seen a lot. The difference is their personal relationships. Many people probably understood that Rick would be able to adjust within the show pretty easily. What people didn't know was that he upheld governmental regulations and laws. There were LAWS. There were CONSEQUENCES. There were tools for society that everyone lived by. When Rick started to realize that those laws and consequences were really no more, and that he became the decision maker for his group, it started to eat away at him. He continually second guessed himself. He realized he had no guidance except the ones he created. The only one holding that and him together was Lori. Once she died, it became quite clear to him that he did everything wrong. Was he leading people to their deaths? Did he lead Lori to her death? That my friends is... one... character! And we haven't even begun to analyze him, his relationship with his son, relationship with the group, and his internal relationship with himself.
When you combine such a superior character presence with that of our lust for anticipated fictitious gore, the show takes on a life of its own. We cannot do without one from the other.
The Internal Reality
So here comes the most important point of any great television show. Would I be able to do that!? There are many types of post-apocalyptic scenarios that could possibly play out. But nothing that would excite an audience and keep them on their feet like this one. Like any show we watch, we superimpose ourselves in that role. How would we fare? Could we survive that scenario? Could I pull the trigger? Could I honestly mow down a bunch of people that were once alive?... and for all intensive purposes are... to an extent. It brings a very important point up, "What if?"
There are a lot of possible realities that could bring about an apocalypse. One of which is through viral or bacterial disease. Believe it or not, there are common place illnesses today that share some of those qualities. We do not even scratch the surface of the list of other agents made in the laboratory.
But even more fundamental than that. We once lived in a world where actual hunting and gathering was an everyday occurrence. Now, we sit back as everything is basically handed to us. But still there is this internal reality that looms within us that understands this very real vulnerability. And for an hour a week, we are truly honest with ourselves... internally.
The greatness of the show, The Walking Dead and those that really get involved with every aspect of the above, stems from the self-awareness of these elements not only to the viewers of the show but the characters themselves that are within the show. And that is very powerful!
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