Yes, some may argue that Breaking Bad is better, in fact, I would assume that almost everyone would argue that. However, there’s two reasons that I don’t think Breaking Bad is the best show on TV. First of all, it isn’t even on right now. And, second, I’ve only ever watched the first episode. Sad, I know.
However, I have kept up with AMC’s other flagship show, the Walking Dead. I watched through season 1, and, unlike many, stayed on board for all of season 2. In the end though, those of us who watched the whole season were rewarded, especially with episodes such as “18 Miles Out” and “Beside the Dying Fire”. Despite a few great episodes, I will be the first to admit that season 2 of the Walking Dead was extremely slow, and, at time, especially towards the middle oft he season, downright boring.
But after a very slow, worn out season, the third season of The Walking Dead arrived. One of the biggest issues with season 2 was that it didn’t have enough action. Sure, I like character development/drama. But there were so many episodes that had minimal action that it started to get on my nerves. I mean, this is a zombie apocalypse after all.
But that was because there was a bigger cast of characters, and they had to focus on all of the characters. That’s why “18 Miles Out” was easily my favorite episode of season 2, as it really only focuses on four characters, Shane, Rick, Andrea, and Lori. Others do get some screen time, but the episode isn’t as spread out as other episodes of season 2.
Thankfully, though, “Beside the Dying Fire”, and the two episodes leading up to it, took a bunch of characters off the table. We lost Dale first, in an episode that really wasn’t great, but at least it cut the cast down. And then we lost Shane. Two major characters off the table in as many episodes. And then in the finale, the show finally killed off a bunch of annoying, minor characters who’s names I can’t even bother to remember. They did introduce Michonne, but who honestly though that that could be a bad thing?
Anyways, season 3 starts off with a cast that has been cut down to a much more manageable size. And that’s why it’s so good right now. The show is easily able to focus in on the characters, and develop them well. Also, the show is doing a much better job of actually giving characters screen time. Other shows (Take, for example, Arrow) don’t spend enough time on certain characters. The Walking Dead, though the cast has grown throughout season 3, still manages to find time to develop all the characters about evenly.
Sure, some characters have taken a backseat to others. But at least they aren’t just there, like quite a few characters (Including T-Dog, much to my dismay) were last season. And that makes the show awesome. It’s able to balance all of it’s large cast, and develop each of them. Each character has grown exponentially since the first season, but the big changes are really starting to come out in season 3. And the fact that the show is able to balance so much character development among characters that have been around for awhile (Rick, Daryl, and Carl, mainly), establishing the positions of new characters on the show (Michonne, The Governor) and still giving other characters screen time while not necessarily developing them significantly (Glenn, Hershel, Carol) is extremely impressive.
And then there’s the show’s relentless pace. The first eight episodes, with the exception of “Hounded”, the episodes have been extremely fast paced. And even “Hounded” is a good episode, despite it being a little on the slow side. The show has finally managed to find a pace that suits it, moving just fast enough to keep viewers engaged, but also not too fast so that they lose track of the story, and this something that many shows simply cannot do.
And my, what a story it is. Zombie Apocalypse movies and TV shows almost always fall flat in this department. And that is because of the fact that they don’t focus on the characters enough. The Walking Dead, much like the comics it’s based off of, is extremely character driven. the show manages to balance all the characters, and that’s what makes the story works. Survival is important, and takes center stage in some episodes, for sure. But, at the same time, character drama is a key story element in many episodes. In season 3 especially, the threat of the walkers takes back seat to the threat of other humans, especially with the appearance of the Governor, and the return of Merle.
The show has also managed to successfully portray how an event like this can affect people. We get the sense that the Governor was a normal person before the outbreak, and now he’s a leader. And the similarities between Rick and him are actually quite scary. Rick, who is, or at least was, a good person has gone down an increasingly dark path. And his son, Carl, has followed him down that path. Other characters, such as Daryl, have been forced to adapt to the situation, and those who haven’t have been taken off the table relatively quickly. The fact that the show is able to clearly show that change in personality is a result of the excellent acting and writing, something many shows don’t have.
There it is. Why the Walking Dead is the best show on TV right now. My review for the mid season finale will probably be coming up tomorrow, and I simply cannot wait for the new episodes. Except for the fact that we aren’t getting new episodes until February, which kind of sucks.