What’s your plan for the apocalypse? Specifically, the zombie apocalypse? If you haven’t thought about it, I know a series that’ll provide you with some useful ideas…
The Walking Dead is my favorite show these days. The first time I saw the pilot episode, my heart was pounding from beginning to end. I was a newbie to the zombie genre, so everything was terrifying. To put it into perspective, if you’ve ever seen Shaun of the Dead, I was petrified the first time I saw that too. (For those who haven’t seen it, it’s really more of a comedy than horror flick.)
Surprisingly, it was my pastor, rather than my zombie-movie-loving husband, who convinced me to give The Walking Dead a whirl. Nate had watched the premiere months earlier, while I hid in the kitchen. Then a sermon illustration about blending in with a sinful world (referencing Season 1, episode 2) piqued my curiosity.
I was instantly HOOKED. The whole premise of the show freaked me out. I expected zombies to jump out of every corner and every shadow. The quiet scenes were almost scarier than the zombie-fighting scenes, because I was always anticipating the next attack. I still feel that way. I love the thrill of not knowing when the next deadly threat will appear. Even though I have gotten to the point at which I can often predict what will happen next, my excitement of watching it all play out hasn’t waned.
Nate and I find ourselves seeing the world through Walking-Dead eyes now. A barn out along a country road, an abandoned warehouse, a remote campground–all potential hideouts. A shopping mall, a school building, a cruise ship–all interesting and terrifying locations for an outbreak to begin. Vehicle shopping prompts discussion of the ideal getaway/survival car (crossover for the space and fuel economy, plus a motorcycle for short trips to zip through debris more easily). For awhile I think some of our parents were concerned that we might be going insane, the way we’d slip so easily into a conversation about zombie survival techniques.
A renowned horror film director recently mocked the series, calling it a soap opera with zombies thrown in once in awhile. I know that wasn’t intended as a compliment, but I have to agree with him, for the most part, and I don’t see it as a bad thing at all.
If this were centered on zombies week after week, I wouldn’t keep coming back for more. It’s the relationships portrayed that really fascinate me. Really, the show revolves around the people, fighting for survival. And yes, there is drama aplenty. Cheating, lying, suicide, unplanned pregnancy, jealousy…
What makes the show so great for us is the questions it sparks, most of which are universal to the human experience, not unique to the zombie milieu.
Questions like Whom can we trust? A zombie apocalypse creates different ways of joining people together. People must band with those who have necessary skills complementary to their own. They form groups and alliances out of necessity, but all groups eventually reach a limit where it’s counterproductive, even dangerous, to grow further.
Questions like What’s the purpose of living? Is the world really any worse off than before? People still live and die, they still suffer, they still experience joy. Does a seemingly more imminent threat change your reasons for living?
Questions like what do we truly need to survive? Perspectives and priorities change when you’re running for your life. A smart phone is nice in the current times and culture, but it’s useless once the infrastructures are gone. Suddenly weapons, sustainable food sources, and fighting skills are top commodities.
I never would have imagined myself so intrigued by such a violent show, but I can’t wait for each new episode from week to week. The mid-season break in December and January is like torture. Here’s hoping that the writers keep bringing great zombie drama to the small screen…