AMC Announces New Walking Dead Series to Totally Suck
Better Call Saul is a prequel, and it doesn’t yet suck. Good for it. And yet, its main character’s world is already painfully small. The first real threat Jimmy runs into is Breaking Bad’s Tuco, and his transformation into Saul Goodman is apparently woven around Breaking Bad’s Mike. To the extent that the show insists on filling in blanks that would have been filled in on Breaking Bad if there was any need to do so, it’s falling into a trap that will inevitably lead to suckitude.
Prequels are pure cowardice. It’s the direction you go when you’re scared to move the story forward. Hey, look at these characters you already love doing stuff… tangential stuff… irrelevant stuff… stuff that winks at the original story but can’t affect it. At that point, it’s nothing more than fan fiction, even if it’s particularly well written fan fiction and even if you’re the one who created the original story.
Consider Frasier, which ultimately surpassed Cheers in quality and longevity. The show never genuflected at the altar of its predecessor. We were never elbowing the person next to us over clever homages and sly references. On the rare occasions when other Cheers characters stopped by, the point of the episode was always that Frasier had moved on from that point in his life. A prequel sitcom about Sam Malone’s baseball days never could have surpassed its originator—unless and until its link to the established Cheers universe became entirely irrelevant. And at that point, why make it about Sam Malone at all?
Likewise, Better Call Saul better stop worshiping Breaking Bad and establish its own reason to exist. It’s not impossible for a prequel to do it; it’s just amazingly difficult. Step one is to stop telegraphing what’s going to happen in the already-established future. Go your own way.
Which brings us to the new Walking Dead series, as of yet still untitled. AMC just announced that the story takes place in the past—during the opening days of the zombie apocalypse. Hey, who doesn’t want to the zombies rise and the world fall apart? Pretty damn exciting, right? No, it’s not—not when you’ve already spent five seasons exploring the post-apocalypse. You’re just filling in blanks that The Walking Dead would have already filled in if there was any need to do so.
The red flags are flying high: This is a story set in the world of The Walking Dead that can’t really have any effect on the world of The Walking Dead. Therefore, as exciting as the opening episodes may be, the pointlessness of it all will soon catch up with it…and the audience will drift away.
AMC obviously disagrees. The network has already renewed the drama for a second season, despite not even having a title or a premiere date yet.
Here’s what we know of the plot so far: A high school guidance counsellor with a slacker son who’s a recovering drug addict and an ambitious daughter who’s ready for college is romantically involved with a divorced teacher who shares custody of his son with his ex-wife. Then the apocalypse hits.
The opening season will be six episodes long.
(Recap of this week’s The Walking Dead coming later today!)