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Whatever Wednesday – The Walking Dead, Yeah Again

Whatever Wednesday – The Walking Dead, Yeah Again

Rumors abound that there will be a spinoff of The Walking Dead. Any fan would welcome more of the series we love so much. According to the rumors, the plot and characters would be separate of those we’ve already grown to love that we’d see a different place in the Dead universe. What happened to the government, to Hollywood, to Canada? How is it different, is it the same? Was France really the last to fall and did they find out what caused the virus and do they know hothe_walking_dead3w to stop it?

 

 

I just read today, that the spin off might actually be a prequel. I’m not sure what the point of a show about the time before the zombie plague started unless its a mini series that shows us who created it and why, but I am curious. I thought I’d have an answer to that question when I read the first The Walking Dead  graphic novel. I had hoped it would explain everything, but it didn’t. It was simply put, just the same.

I love science fiction and urban fantasy because it’s so not the real world. But what I need when I read them is to have some basis in the real world. Some explanation of how this might happen if it were reality. If the explanation doesn’t make sense then, hey, I’m not watching, reading or even paying attention.

As I write my own magical universe, I try to make the answers to those questions as real as possible, give the magical answer a scientific explanation. For instance, the magical characters in The Day of First Sun explained to Jack Ramsey, the non-magical FBI agents, that they have an extra chromosome, one that gives them their magical powers. In the book I’m writing now tentatively titled The Gift, one of the characters explains you can’t just conjure items that you don’t own because it’s stealing. But you can summon or conjure items you already own.

Think of it this way, if magic were real, it could solve every problem that exists in the world and if your world contains magic, you could surely cure hunger, disease and poverty. But why then, don’t we do that within these new worlds? Because we also create laws that our characters must obey or they will suffer the consequences.

But I digress. I still want an answer to the burning question about the zombie virus, I need to know where it comes from. Was it created by humans, was it a mutation of something else, and how in the hell did it spread. Because it spread so fast, that there are cars still clogging roads or left out in the open. I was always hoping for a flashback that explained it all. We’ve even discussed this as a family after watching various episodes because we really want to know. My only possible conclusion comes from the idea that where ever the virus was created, it infected the entire planet. We know this from the episode where our favorite group traveled to the CDC in Atlanta, episode 105 Wildfire. My guess, the first person who died after the mass infection turned into a zombie, killed whoever was the closest and so on and so on. It must have happened so fast that it overwhelmed health care workers, the police and even the armed forces. It just became too much.

So bring it on producers and writers of The Walking Dead. I really, really, really want to know if I’m right.

 

Fairy Tales: A History

Fairy Tales: A History

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Once upon a time, there was no such thing as a printing press. Our histories, our cultures, our stories, were passed down in the oral tradition, while sitting around a fire in the middle of the village. Sharing and re-enacting the stories was the primary form of entertainment. Imagine no cable, no movies, no music, no The Walking Dead.

Those stories changed and grew from stories like The Golden Ass, the story of a man’s curiosity and his desire to learn magic, to have it all change when his spell to turn into a bird goes awry when he becomes an ass instead, to the famous Greek stories known as Aesops Fables. As kids, we remember the Brothers Grimm and Mother Goose, delightful or terrifying adventures with talking animals, and fantastic elements. Today we could be talking about Disney.

I’m really more interested in the history of the fairy tale the folk-lore. How they started, what they came to be. Some interpret the fairy tale as solar myths, the idea that the characters are recognized as G-dlike, representing the Sun or an aspect of it and the characters becoming a manifestation of power and strength.

Other experts feel the tales explain ancient customs. The historical fact that many women once died in childbirth. When their husbands remarried, the stepmother competed with the children from the first marriage for resources. We see this in Snow White and Cinderella, as the step mothers do unspeakable things to their step daughters.

So do you enjoy the world of the fantasy? Did you realize it began as child or did you forget the love for things nonsensical, or scary or fantastic. Though the world of the Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction have taken a turn for the popular, the genre itself has been around for a long time. It’s not new. It doesn’t belong to the stereotypical geek. It’s our history, it’s the future.

Do you have a favorite? A story that means something to you or resonates with you on some level? Me, I have two. Cinderella and Mulan for two totally different reasons. As much as the Disney princesses can be irritating and weak, needing a man to save her, I love the story of hope in Cinderella, her intense belief that it will get better. In Mulan, it was the first princess whose story didn’t resolve around finding a man. She took control of the situation and solved her problems on her own. Ironically, it’s a movie based on a Chinese folktale.

 

 

What the Heck is a Tardis?

What the Heck is a Tardis?

If you have to ask you’ve never watched Doctor Who. Okay. So I don’t watch a lot of Doctor Who. It’s not because I don’t want to, the show is right up my alley. It’s mostly because I’m woefully far behind and have no time to catch up. Instead, I watch when I can. But then there’s my daughter, the one who I’ve managed to turn into a geek, the one who loves, The Walking Dead, Torchwood, and Comic Con. I’m so proud.

She’s now a Doctor Who fan, the kind that sat with the Ipad for six hours to watch season six and then declare, she wanted to go to Barnes and Noble and buy his screwdriver. Yeah, the kid is a culture nut and I’m the proud mommy.

But it had me thinking about space and time. And how in all of these science fiction and fantasy entertainment vehicles that it’s the vehicle, the way the characters move within the storyline from place to place and time to time that is what the show is centered around.

Even if you’ve never seen Star Wars, you know the Millennium Falcon. Han Solo’s ride, his home, the only thing he owns worth anything and yes it saves all of their lives by flying them away from the Death Star and in the end it’s the machine that allows Han to assist Luke Skywalker blast the hell out of said Death Star. You might also be aware that it’s a rust bucket and the hyperdrive doesn’t always work.

I’m sure even if you don’t watch Star Trek you know the USS Enterprise. Or Back to the Future you travel through time in a DeLorean. But these types of time and space travel seem practical, seem as though they fit, belong in the realm of their reality. So who then, came up with the Tardis?

Even I know, having only watched maybe five episodes of Doctor Who that the Tardis is the time machine moving the Doctor and his companion through space and time. Tardis stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Yeah a time machine; where occupants can transport to any point in time or place in the universe. 

I had to look it up, understand what this thing was that took on the shape of a 1960’s style London police box. Its chameleon circuit is broken, (a mechanism which is responsible for changing the outside appearance of the ship in order to fit in with its environment, leaving it in its current state). It’s an ordinary object used for extraordinary things. A time machine with a mind of its own, rather than going where the Doctor wishes to land, it lands where he is needed the most.

These machines spark imagination; make dreamers into creators who might attempt to recreate what they’ve seen on television, in the movies and make them reality. So I sit and examine my daughter’s new purchase, a miniature Tardis; an object of dreams and wishes to discover, to explore to assist and make better. If we could go back into time, would we and while there is it practical to make changes? Would our lives be better or would we destroy all that we know? Would that one little change, change everything? And the Tardis, opens the whole of the universe to us. Would you take a trip through time and space? I know I would.

It’s a Crappy New World – Then Why are We So Happy About It?

It’s a Crappy New World – Then Why are We So Happy About It?

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Utopia, the perfect world, where the sun shines daily, people are equal and no one lacks for anything. While we realize that this is probably never going to happen as each side of every issue have difficulty finding a happy medium, we trudge through our daily lives, going to and from work, schlepping our children from activity to activity, and paying those nasty bills instead of finding Utopia. Okay so our lives aren’t as awful as I just made it seem, but I am getting to my point. We don’t live in Utopia but we also don’t live in a Dystopia either.

For those unfamiliar with that term, think The Hunger Games, think The Walking Dead. It’s the opposite of a Utopia, a world that we wouldn’t want to live in, something frightening and unfamiliar, as a result of  an event, biological or otherwise which leads to the cataclysmic decline in society. Stories are filled with the dehumanization of the person, totalitarian governments, lawlessness. So then, why are these television shows, movies and books so popular?

We are huge The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead fans in our household, classic examples of the dystopian society. In one story line we see the catastrophic spread of a disease which turns the human race into flesh-eating zombies. A society whose only purpose is to run from the zombie monsters and survive.

In The Hunger Games, we’re entrenched in a world that is recovering from a revolt attempted by the less fortunate. Citizens living in the outer districts, being controlled because of The Hunger Games. A world where the government controls the masses by sending children 12 – 18 years of age to the spectacle, where they must fight to death. Who in what society would allow this to happen? How does it get to this? Again, an impossible world that we can only imagine, one that is terrifying and decidedly not where we would want to live.

So again, the question is, why? Why are we so interested in these horrifying societies, unreal and yet manage to hold our fascination? I’ve said it before but I always think it’s easier to solve our real world problems in a world devoid of the rules that we know and understand. Where we can feel that justice is served because we can make our own rules, as needed based on impossible situations because shooting an arrow through the brain of a zombie solves the problem neatly and cleanly.

I think that for us readers and viewers it’s a glimpse into something far more fantastic than our own lives and in a way that’s a little scary. We need something so unbelievable, so frightening, so awful to grab our attention and thrill us, or maybe the questions that these stories pose, allow us to think about the consequences of our actions. Topics and situations that gives us a reason to discuss and conclude something about our own lives. Or maybe it’s a simple as hope. the belief that things can get better if we work hard, think it through and fight for what we believe in. Trust in the people closest to us and care for them through the impossible.

In The Hunger Games, Katniss’s simple gesture to honor a fallen child is turned to hope. And she will use that to protect those she loves as she’s propelled into the face of the rebellion. We cling to the hope as we watch the rebellion move forward and we cheer when she makes the right choice and earns her freedom and the freedom of those she loves.

Hope is different in The Walking Dead, because there isn’t a cure for the zombie disease. It’s about finding a stable environment in which to make a life. a place to be safe. Ironically, it’s the prison. Because they stumble into the now unused prison where they are able to defend their position and remain out-of-the-way of the zombie hordes, it becomes a place worth protecting and fighting for, escaping destruction and loss of more of their new-found family group. It gives them hope.

Or maybe I’m over thinking it and it’s simply a bit of everything wrapped in a warped and wonderful visual experience.

 

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The Walking Dead Part Two

The Walking Dead Part Two

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We spent Spring Break 2013 watching The Walking Dead marathon leading up to the season finale. Four days we stayed up as a family until 3 am, watching every episode. Well we missed a few, so when AMC decided to run another marathon over July 4th weekend, we partook for a second time in the craziness that is known as The Walking Dead.

We re-watched episodes we had seen before and caught up on those we missed, though I still managed to miss Rick murdering Shane the human and Carl killing Shane the zombie. Maybe the next marathon.

What makes a normally rational family go ape crazy for one show, when normally the four of us can’t agree on anything?

Maybe it’s the fun, well written stories or the complex characters that have flaws and despite them, find a way to survive in this improbable and impossible situation.

I always contend that the fantasy backdrop works because within the confines of these unfamiliar worlds, justice prevails in a way that it doesn’t in our reality. A place where we can watch Rick go up against the Governor and they can take each other out because the rules as we know them, no longer exist.

Why do we watch The Walking Dead? It entertains and believe it or not we actually discuss as a family, what we would do in those circumstances. Whether or not we could forget our humanity and survive in that new world?

I hope I never have to find out. Until then there’s always The Walking Dead. And as I side note, my daughter and I will be meeting Darryl Nixon at the Chicago Wizard World this summer. No kidding. It’s all she talks aobut.

 

The Walking Dead – Family Bonding

The Walking Dead – Family Bonding

One of the most popular shows on television is The Walking Dead. If you haven’t heard of it – you know the joke, insert here – you’ve been living under a rock. Based on the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead is a journey into a life as it could be should the zombie apocalypse happen. Well, couldn’t it, really?

Why do we love our monsters so? We have seen the re-emergence of the vampire and the wizard, finding ourselves enthralled with the zombie. What is it about the end of the world that has our imaginations running, our hearts pounding cheering for more? Is it the idea that a wild brand of justice works, that the bad guys are punished and the good guys win, that there is a fine line between the two? Or maybe we all expect that Stephen King was right when he wrote The Stand and a super virus is on its way.

It’s simpler to solve the world’s problems in the vacuum of television, specifically on a show based in fantasy and horror, rather than one seeped in reality. A world so shocking, that if we can truly suspend our disbelief, we can imagine the possibilities and resolve all the evils and dare I say, be led by hope.

Quickly, the world of a post apocalyptic zombie virus, which destroyed most of the world, we, my kids and my husband and I, sat for the first time and watched The Walking Dead. My daughter and I started watching over spring break a spur of the moment we needed something do decision. It just so happened to be the week of The Walking Dead marathon, conveniently allowing us to catch up on all three seasons. Staying up till three am during one of the nightly marathon’s might not have been the most wise decision, it was however, spring break, so that made it okay. My daughter became hooked; I soon followed, growing to care for the characters and their struggle in our world that no longer existed.
We watched most of three seasons in five days, reaching its fevered pitched on our last day of break. After racing to finish projects and homework we found ourselves in ridiculous glee, the last seven episodes before the season finale. I’m not kidding; this was family bonding at its finest. We sat anxiously waiting for Rick to “get” the governor and save the prison. We sat ill after another character lost their life, we watched as the old world fell farther and farther into the past as characters adapted and survived in the new world. We watched with rapt attention, shocked and amused for the pure fun of it.

Rather than watching shows that are a reflection of ourselves in a world we’re familiar with, we watched a world turned upside down and what we thought we knew about society, manners and the everyday normal taken for granted, no longer existed. Sometimes you need to see things in such a way to either make you grateful for your place or envious because you wish you were elsewhere.

It makes me want to write about zombies.

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