I admit, I got excited when I learned that AMC was going to turn the very well-regarded comic series “The Walking Dead” into a television series. I’m a fan of zombie apocalypse fiction and figured that a good dramatic end of the world series was long overdue (actually, I was hoping for Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, but I’ll take what I can get). I’ve watched three episodes so far and I’m not particularly thrilled. The characters quickly devolved into cardboard cutouts spout hackneyed lines and are less interesting than the zombies themselves. There is almost no real drama beyond the soap-opera variety of who slept with whose husband and who called whom what racial epithet. The titular zombies are almost scenery now and there have been times I’ve completely forgotten they were there. The writing is just, plain bad, which makes this not particularly great news.
With The Walking Dead about to finish its first season this Sunday, how is executive producer and guiding light Frank Darabont celebrating the show’s huge success? By firing the series’ entire writing staff.
According to Deadline, Darabont canned all the writers for the show, including executive producer and second-in-command Charles “Chic” Eglee. It’s not unusual for TV show writing staffs to go through changes between seasons, and sometimes the staff is even “laid off” temporarily during a hiatus. But Darabont’s move is more surprising, as is the news that he might not even retain a staff for the show’s second season.
Darabont played a big role in writing the first six episodes, which means that the writing for the next thirteen is going to be more of the same clichéd characters and dialogue that would make General Hospital sound like Shakespeare, and not nearly enough brain-eating. I may give the show a bit of a second chance in the new season, just to see if the writing picks up. If it doesn’t, well, it won’t be the first time a television show let me down.