Author: Aaron

The Walking Dead’s Creator Robert Kirkman Loves 1980s Pop Culture

The Walking Dead’s Creator Robert Kirkman Loves 1980s Pop Culture

Column: Why are TV’s two big fantasy shows so epically humorless? | TV |

“The Walking Dead,” AMC’s zombie-survival drama – now in its third season – has become an established staple for America’s pop culture, with showrunners Scott M. Gimple and Angela Kang setting a new standard for zombie-on-TV.

As is often the case, zombie TV has been getting a great deal of good press in recent weeks. But “The Walking Dead” has also been the subject of derision. Critics have panned the show’s writing as slow and overlong; its characters as bland; and its characters and zombies as the walking dead.

I’ve written about this criticism before (see “The Walking Dead can’t answer, ‘Why are you doing your homework?’”), and I’ve come to the firm conclusion that the criticism is mostly accurate.

But it’s certainly a good thing that critics are getting to grips with the show’s merits these days. The show is at its best when the stakes are high and the story is compelling. And when it’s at its worst, the show has become the anti-“Arrested Development”: dull, dull, dull.

There are three reasons for this, and I’ve tried to explain them to you in this column.

1. ‘80s references

The Walking Dead’s creator Robert Kirkman loves 1980s pop culture (a.k.a. nostalgia). He wrote it with the help of writer/producer David Alpert, the team behind the classic hit “Friends,” and the brilliant concept of using a zombie as the focus for the show’s story.

But it’s not just that Kirkman has a nostalgia fetish that led him to create the show. It’s that he knows TV needs something with which to compete in today’s 21st-century era.

“When I first started with ‘The Walking Dead,’ I didn’t mind the occasional 1980s reference,” he said in a recent interview. “But then I realized that they

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