March 16, 2013

John David Ebert On The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead 
Reviewed by John David Ebert
Cinema Discourse 
December 5, 2012
As I have pointed out elsewhere, television is now the great new medium that is taking over the role once occupied by cinema, especially the role of miniaturizing ancient and long forgotten cosmologies. And so, from now on, I will be including reviews of television shows on this site, along with contemporary films. Frank Darabont’s television show, The Walking Dead, based on a series of graphic novels, is one of the best of these new shows and I want to say a few words about it here.

The Walking Dead is a sort of experimental laboratory for probing utopian societies, and the evolution of the show thus far — currently in its third season — has progressed through a series of such miniaturized societies. In this respect, the show is continuing where the great utopian / dystopian narratives of classical literature, from Plato’s Republic to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (and then onward into such celluloid narratives as The Truman Show and Dark City) left off. Film has currently traded the exploration of multiple utopias for precisely one utopia, that namely, of comic book Gotham, and has left the exploration of other utopic / dystopic possibilities for television.

The show’s first season explored, and then rejected, the modern megalopolis as ideal society, finding it a corrupt world of the walking dead, an old, very old metaphor for the spiritually asleep and ignorant human being locked into the mode of forgetfulness of Being. The first season polarized the corrupt and decadent metropolis against the exospheric nomadic society, privileging the latter social formation as a stateless mode of wandering and exile in which experiments with new social structures no longer bound and constrained by the City as a pressurized apparatus of social capture were undertaken.

Continued. . .