We’ve Run Out Of Villains

zombieA couple of years ago, I thought one more season of The Walking Dead was finally going to finish all this zombie crap — for good.  Wrong!  In a couple of weeks, AMC is going to be back at it again with Season 6.  (Not only that, but word around the campfire is, the production team has plans for a Season 7, and an 8, 9 and 10.)  It’s like Route 66 with butcher knives.  Plus, now they’ve come up with some nonsense spinoff, “let-me-explain-the-apocalypse prequel: Fear The Walking Dead.  What’s the deal?  The original Night of the Living Dead lasted 96 minutes.  Rick and his minions have been killing zombies for 5 years!  How many different ways can you blow somebody’s head off?  And more importantly, why is any audience still interested?

I’ve figured it out.

As a society, we’re starved for villains, and zombies are the last ones available to us.

Check it out.

1) Hollywood has clichéd Evil Corporate America out of existence.  When a movie has a white guy in an expensive suit in it — he’s the bad guy.  D’uh!  Audiences have been there/done that so many times even Disney has quit trying to sell that lame old story line.

2) No film maker is ever going to risk making the ethnic guy the villain.  That’s like throwing gasoline on the Eagerly Offended fire.  Every self-appointed activist this side of Mars would be on his ass faster than you can say “Don’t you ever show your face at Sundance, again!”

3) Point #2 goes double for all other identifiable groups.  Try making a gay guy evil, or a single mom, or a paraplegic and the Social Media would go berserk.  They’d threaten to blow up your car, burn down your house, slap your face, kick your dog and pee in your porridge — you insensitive bastard.  The last time a guy in a wheelchair was the villain of a movie, it was Kenneth Branagh in Wild, Wild West and even Salma Hayek’s boobs couldn’t pull that dog out of the fire.

4) The entertainment industry has made bad guys look good.  Tony Soprano was a Mafia Boss.  He was a criminal.  He stole things.  He cheated.  He lied.  He killed people.  WE SAW HIM DO IT!  But who cares?  We were still cheering for the guy when family night got cut short by the blackout series finale.  Dexter?  Totally psycho!  Walter White in Breaking Bad was a meth dealer.  A METH DEALER!  There are no redeeming qualities to that profession.  Yet there are people in this world who think the moral of that story is we should pay teachers higher wages!

So who’s left?  British accents and pretty girls.  And even that doesn’t always work.  I cheered for Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl just because she knocked the snot out of Ben Affleck.

No, folks.  We’re stuck with zombies for the foreseeable future.  In a society where vampires are cozy, crime is a career choice and everybody’s entitled to a rainbow, zombies are the last bastion of evil.

And to demonstrate just how far our world has descended into Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, never once — in the entire Walking Dead series — does anyone ever say the word “zombie.”  I think the producers are scared skinny that Z.A.C (the Zombie Awareness Coalition) is lurking in the shadows somewhere.

I’m On Vacation — International

denmarkEver since Swedish director Ingmar Bergman went to see Elvis, Danish TV has enjoyed an incredible renaissance.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Check it out!

Crime drama – The Killing

House of Cards with nice people – Borgen

And for anybody who was born after Blackboard Jungle or To Sir With Love – Rita

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Writers never go on vacation.  They just turn off their computers and hide for a while.  That’s exactly what I’m doing for the next couple of weeks.  Enjoy!

Throne Of Endless Games

game-of-thronesI don’t mind that George R.R. Martin is a dick to Starks.  But he better finish Game of Thrones before I die, or Hell won’t hold half my fury.  I will reach out from the grave and pluck your heart out, you egomaniac!  Plus, in the end, if you try pullin’ any of that Sopranos fade-to-black crap, I swear on the souls of my grandchildren, I will hunt you down and make you pay.  Here’s the deal, George: you gave all of us the disease — you did it — now it’s time to come up with a cure.  Give it some thought!

The thing is it’s been five television years and Game of Thrones is still going sideways — in all directions.  I’m not the only person on this planet who’s looking around for a hint of the storyline.  There are lots of us, and our concern is that Martin has become so bloated with nerd worship he’s going to carry on writing into nowhere indefinitely.  Look, Sword and Sorcery centre stage has got to be a total buzz — I get it.  And being compared to Tolkien at every turn must be the ultimate ego stroke.  However, Martin needs to remember that not every fan is hanging on his every word.  Sure, the Fire and Ice people who’ve been around since the 90s spend tons of time looking for clues and constructing theories and making videos and writing fan fiction etc. etc. etc. on into the wee hours.  They love that stuff.  They’re added Cersei Lannister to Luke Skywalker in the Comic Con Pantheon, and they’re happy as puppies.  However, the rest of us — Game of Thrones folks — came to Westeros by way of HBO.  We don’t care about the detailed genealogy of the Targaryen dynasty.  We see a great tale that captured us with an imaginative premise and an uber-cool beginning.  We were willing to let it wander a bit in the middle, but now that it’s started to waddle, we’re concerned that it might not ever actually have an end.

Honestly, no audience will allow itself to be cliff hanger bait forever.  For God’s sake, George! Let’s start tying up a few loose ends and get on with it!