Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Walking Dead: Violence

Terminus. Bent over a trough with their hands tied behind their back, they await their fate. A baseball bat to the back of the head. Their throats slit. Another episode of The Walking Dead makes a debut.

The Walking Dead Season 5 Premier
The Walking Dead Season 5 Premier

For today’s Monday Mayhem I would like to talk a bit about the level of violence in The Walking Dead. Why is it there? And—is it necessary?

[Spoilers lie therein.]

If you have followed The Walking Dead for any length of time, you will know the show has gone through a transformation of sorts that, for lack of a better cliché, has pushed the envelope of dramatic series television. Season 5’s premier episode caught viewers off-guard with one of the most brutal scenes ever depicted on the small screen. If a phrase ought to typify the episode, it would be this one: “You’re either the butcher or the cattle.” If the viewer thought they had seen it all in the final episode of Season 4, they had miscalculated the show’s ability to deliver an even more shocking story.

You see, up to that point, the violence had always centered around the undead ending up splattered all over a wall or torn apart from gunfire. Humans receiving the brunt of their destruction typically came from walkers searching for food. That is until the absolute terror-inducing scene in the slaughterhouse of Season 5’s premier. It was then the viewer realized just how cruel a human could be toward another human.

The increasing level of viciousness from season-to-season attests to one thing the show has accomplished well—depicting that humans left to their own devices will kill without mercy.

Necessary? Yes.

The violence in The Walking Dead has become a symbol of what society would be like should an actual apocalypse take place. Brother will turn against brother. Hatred will spawn more hatred. And the concept of family will extend to those who will come to the aid of the less fortunate. If it sounds pessimistic, you’re right. But if you caught that last sentence, there will always be those who will not succumb to the human compulsion of killing. They are the ones who will make the world a better place.

Does that sound idealistic? Perhaps. But who’s to say how it will all play out until it actually happens? All I know is in every disaster, there are heroes.

And the heroes are the ones who will make a difference.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you think about the violence depicted in The Walking Dead? Have you had any nightmares yet?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

The Walking Dead Revisited

I’ve been binge watching. Is that an addiction? I’m certain one day I will be part of a support group for binge watchers everywhere. Until then, I’ll admit my fault, and say I’ve been binge watching The Walking Dead. It doesn’t sound so bad when I put it into that context. Doesn’t it? Well, binge watching is this: take a television series and watch it one episode after another until you’ve consumed every single one in a relatively short span. Who needs to wait for the next episode when you’re binge watching? Not me.

The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead

Anyway, for today’s Monday Mayhem, I have an observation for you Walking Dead fans.

Let’s talk about Season Three. Now, if you’ve never seen The Walking Dead, I suggest you skip to the last paragraph to see what I have to say about the series because I will certainly spoil it for you by revealing key elements of the plot.

Back to Season Three—I know The Walking Dead is a Drama/Horror show. I know that. AMC has established that by the story and plotlines. And I love that about the show. But what I’d like to see more of is humor. Inject a few bits of humor here and there, and I’ll love you even more. It’s not a criticism. Not at all. I just find after long stretches of binge watching, as a viewer, some levity would bring me back to focus on the stories.

Rick & Daryl
Rick & Daryl

For instance, when Rick and the other survivors take over the prison, they encounter the remnant of the prison population who haven’t turned. That to me is a great story. Even better is when the survivors try to explain to the former prisoners how to kill the walkers. They specifically instruct them how to aim for the head. Get rid of the brain. Get rid of the problem. Well, what happens? As soon as the group meets with walkers, the former prisoners hit prison riot mode and they assault the walkers in a flurry of body blows, which, by the way, has no effect on the undead other than to prove they can withstand stabbings and mutilations to the torso. In some respect, it’s a funny scene due to how it all went down. None of the former prisoners listened to any of the instructions, but instead did their own thing.

The other funny moment in Season Three, is when one of the former prisoners is hanging out with Beth as she coddles Lori’s baby in a prison cell. A known felon, he asks her how old she is. She says sixteen (I think that’s how it goes—I can’t remember). He then says, “Interesting.” All of a sudden, I roll my eyes thinking the worst. Fast forward to a minute later when Carol and the former prisoner have an off-the-cuff conversation away from the rest. He had convinced himself that she wasn’t interested in men. Guess what he says when he discovers otherwise. Yep. He says, “Interesting.” Of course, she says something that totally shoots him down. And there lies the humor.

I wish for more humor in subsequent seasons, not only for us binge watchers, but also for the new viewers.

What do you think?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you like about The Walking Dead? Do you have a favorite season?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Technology Love

I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I mean, I enjoy playing with new toys and all, but the effort to get them to work exactly how I want them to work kills my love for them. Especially when I find they’ve suddenly become obsolete. Here’s a brief narrative of my experience with technology as part of my Freedom Friday series.

Hogan's Heroes (Photo Credit CBS)
Hogan’s Heroes (Photo Credit CBS)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Whoops, wrong narrative. Let’s try this again.

Back in the Eighties. Gosh, that does sound like a galaxy far, far away. Anyway, back in the Eighties, I became a lover of the VHS tape recorder. I’d get excited knowing I could tape my favorite program and watch it over and over again. And over and over. I can’t forget how many times I watched a certain episode of Hogan’s Heroes. Why? Well, because I could, of course. I treasured that tape. Looked after it. Coddled it. Then again, I was a geekboy with very little friends. Not really, but you get my point.

Then I discovered I can actually record programs without my being home. I couldn’t believe the instruction manual. All I had to do was program the timer on the display and I can enjoy an evening out playing mini golf with friends while the VCR taped an episode of David Hasselhoff’s Knight Rider. Yeah, yeah. Laugh. I liked the show. What can I say?

David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider (AP Photo/NBC)
David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider (AP Photo/NBC)

That evening the mini golf was a bust. It had rained. I then thought, well, at least the evening wasn’t a total loss. I still had my Knight Rider. I eased in the comfort of my couch, flicked the remote, dimmed the lights, and greeting me was a documentary of the lifespan of a wasp. Fascinating. Where’s my show? Maybe I forgot to click on the TV/VCR switch. Am I getting PBS? Nope. I can see the timer on the display going forward. Second by second. Where’s my show!

It wasn’t the first time I had missed what I wanted to watch because of something that went wrong on the device. It wasn’t only me either. My dad would sometimes forget to change the timer from A.M. to P.M. He’d get lovely shows like three-hour marathons of Korean infomercials spanning the length of the tape. Livid? It isn’t the word I’d use to describe the nuclear meltdowns the VCR would initiate in our household. Oh, and let’s not ignore the chewed-up, mangled tapes the little sucker would spit out those wonderful days whenever the tracking heads were dirty. You might as well have placed crime scene tape at the entrance of our home.

No matter how bad those memories sound, I haven’t described the worst of the worst. If anything stuck in my mind as the epitome of time-recording nonsense in the VCR age, I would have to say it was Daylight Savings Time. All I wanted to do was record my program after 12:00 A.M.. Nothing complicated. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Huh, did I have a lot to learn. It wasn’t until later years that I learned the phrase “spring forward, fall back.” Before then, I was at the mercy of the programming lords of the universe.

For instance in Canada, DST doesn’t kick in until 2:00 A.M. I chuckle knowing the pain this caused. Every Spring and Autumn I was all over that timer. I was always an hour either late or early. Could never figure it out. Of course because it was late at night the programs recorded were less than appropriate for family consumption. The next day, I’d find things on my tape like catching the start of Buxom Bikini Babes from Biloxi staring at me. Believe me, not fun when your mom’s in the same room waiting for a classic movie.

Good golly, thank goodness we now have the internet where we can stream anything we want whenever we want. I don’t know how I survived the early days.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Do you have a technology mishap you’d like to share? Any other memorable moments?