Entertainment Television

Monday 21 January 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'A moderately sprightly zombie moves at a quicker clip than many recent episodes of The Walking Dead'

Show needs to pick up pace for season 8

Zombie romp: Negan in The Walking Dead
Zombie romp: Negan in The Walking Dead
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

It’s returning for its eighth season, tonight marks its 100th episode, it features one of the best screen bad guys this side of Ramsay Bolton and people have loved the show for years.

So why is there such a lack of buzz surrounding the new season of The Walking Dead?

To be sure, the show has been slowly losing the wow-factor and slowly losing viewers (although it still breaks records for Fox) because the last few seasons have moved so, so slowly – frankly, a moderately sprightly zombie moves at a quicker clip than many recent episodes.

Even the thrill of bad-ass Negan began to flag once he had so brutally bashed in Glen and Abraham’s brains with his beloved baseball bat Lucille in last season’s opener.

In fact, the sheer brutality of that scene was enough to alienate some viewers who didn’t like the apparently gratuitous nature of the violence (personally, I thought the scene was brilliant, but each to their own).

One way of t’other, Seasons 8 needs to kick in hard and fast and it needs to keep the pace up, otherwise the show will lose the massive appeal which made it such a broadcasting behemoth.

If the trailers and carefully leaked snippets from the set are anything to believed, this will be the season when Rick, Ezekiel and the other disparate groups living under Negan’s tyranny finally decide to go to war against the darkly humorous despot.

Showrunner Scott M Gimple has hinted that tonight marks merely the first hundred episodes of the show, and given the wealth of source material available from the original comics, they could easily do another hundred.

That ain’t gonna happen, but long-suffering fans would settle for some sort of conclusion in Season 9...

From a show that should wrap up fairly soon to a show that people thought was already wrapped up, but which came back anyway.

The new run of Curb Your Enthusiasm (Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm) managed to exceed all expectations in the first few episodes and it appears that Larry David’s self-imposed exile hasn’t improved his mood – or his social skills.

The usual social pratfalls are still there but it’s interesting to note that at a time when so many ‘edgy’  comedians are open about not wanting to offend Islam (yes, Sarah Silverman that means you), this season has already seen David forced to don a disguise because of a fatwa, and last week’s encounter with Salman Rushdie (who David calls ‘Salmon’), which saw the author boast about how much sex you get once there’s a fatwa hanging over your head, was comedy brilliance of the kind only David’s weird brain can conjure.

Irish Independent

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