If you’re anything like me, you’ve been searching since May 24, 2010 for a replacement for Lost. Well, I’m still searching. But The Walking Dead is the closest we’ve come. Shows like Dexter and Fringe offer great stories and characters week after week but there’s still a huge void that’s begging to be sated: enter (or shuffle in) The Walking Dead.
This show offers rich characters, shocking twists and, occasionally, charming humor. It’s a lot like Lost in that you never really know what’s going to happen to these characters. You really feel like offing any character at any time isn’t out of the question. Carl getting shot at the end of “What Lies Ahead” really hammers that home. If the writers of the show are willing to shoot a little kid in the chest with buckshot, who knows what they’ll do?
I think The Walking Dead is so captivating because of two characters in particular: Daryl and Shane. It would be pretty easy to hate Shane, but not me. I think he’s the most interesting character on the show. He’s done so much for the fans to hate him: sleeping with his best friend’s wife (Lori), sexually assaulting said friend’s wife, hobbling Otis, and beating Ed’s face in until he looked like a watermelon at a Gallagher show. But all of those things are explained pretty well. Him and Lori shacked up after Shane was sure Rick had died. He attempted to fill Rick’s role as father and husband (as well as “filling” Lo- nevermind). It seems pretty obvious that Shane beat poor Ed to near death because of his clear frustration with the fact that Rick had come back to life (and not in that funny zombie way). Plus, Ed was kind of a shitty guy, so to hell with him. Perhaps Shane’s most cruel act is hobbling Otis. Well he did that because there was no way they both could have gotten back to the truck with Carl’s medical supplies still intact, and as it was Otis’s fault that Carl was dying in the first place, the sacrifice seems unkind, but fair. (Yes, I am glossing over Shane’s attempted sexual assault of Lori, because if I could defend that, well I’d be a helluva lawyer). And even if you don’t accept any of these explanations for his actions as worthy of clearing him of all charges, he certainly makes for interesting drama, and that’s just damn good TV.
This brings us to Daryl. Daryl doesn’t appear in the comic and was created just for the show and damnit, am I happy they did. Right from the get-go they made it pretty clear you weren’t supposed to like this guy. He was the racist hick brother of the racist hick that nobody minded getting strapped to a pole on the roof with a dozen or so Walkers approaching. But I knew right away there was going to be more to him. I instantly saw him as the equivalent of Lost’s Sawyer: instantly detestable, but proves how useful and kindhearted he can really be. This is most demonstrated in Daryl’s incessant search for Sophia (anyone actually miss that girl?) He consistently searches for her for seemingly no personal gain. He particularly shows his soft side in the most recent episode “Cherokee Rose”, where he brings a rose to Carol and tells her a story about Cherokee roses sprouting from the ground where mother’s tears had fallen. He also saves T-Dog’s life several times, at great personal risk.This all takes me back to Lost: survivor situation and a good character based drama. You feel for these characters, whether you hate them (did I gain any Shane fans? No?) or love them. A lot of the characters seem to be pretty similar to the ones on Lost and that is by no means a problem with The Walking Dead (when a show has something like 35 main characters like Lost did, some shows are going to have similar ones). Rick and Jack seem pretty similar. They both have a hero complex and constantly need to fixing or helping. But Rick lacks the occasional lightheartedness that Jack could sometimes exhibit. I’ve already mentioned that Daryl is comparable to Sawyer. Shane shares a lot with John Locke, operating with their own personal moral compass while seemingly making some pretty questionable decisions. Glenn is Hurley, the funny one that you can’t help but like but is just begging for his own serious storyline. While I still don’t believe anything will match up to Lost, if The Walking Dead keeps this up I’ll be prepared to give it honorable mention, right after Lost.
Don't be dirty, keep it Nerdi.