Do Stories Need To Be Realistic?

img_6887The Walking Dead is my favorite show, and the day after an episode shows, there are a million articles about what happened, analyzing it endlessly.

People are still talking about last season, calling out The Walking Dead for some unrealistic moments, and how they “cheat” sometimes, so that the audience “can’t trust them.”  (Excuse me while we take a moment of silence for the “unrealistic moments” in a show about zombies).

But it’s not the real world, is it?  I mean, I read stories for a break from the real world.  In the case of TV shows, why would I necessarily want to see realism?  It’s nice when my favorite characters get close to death but don’t get eaten.  In the real world, bad things happen to good people. In the fantasy world, it doesn’t always play out that way. Last minute escapes happen.

In The Walking Dead, beloved characters do die; no one is safe. But sometimes they also make amazing, no way out escapes. And that’s why I keep watching. Despite everything bad that happens, it’s a hopeful show. Most of the characters survive, and the ones that do survive thrive.

I know a lot of people don’t see it as a hopeful show, because of all the killing and dying and apocalyptic stuff, but I see it as a show about how nothing can squash the human spirit. People keep doing what they do, falling in love, finding friends, balancing how to to live with what they need to do to survive.

That’s what keeps me watching week after week, and it’s what I love about the graphic novels as well. I don’t care how “realistic” the situations are, as long as the relationships feel real.

What do you think? Do you prefer realism in your TV/ books?


Season Finales Bring Me Sadness

It is with great sadness that I bid another season of The Walking Dead adieu until fall.  With great characters, an interesting plot, and plenty of conflict, my Mondays (we got the season pass from iTunes and watched the next day) will be just a little bit emptier.

I know that sounds dramatic, but I really do get sad when a season ends.  It took me weeks to get over Dexter Season 5 ending.  We watch Dexter when the entire season is released, so I won’t be seeing Season 6 for another few months.

If you haven’t seen the season finale of the Walking Dead, consider yourself warned: below are spoilers!

I’m not sure how I feel about this season finale.  On one hand, I’m excited for some of the foreshadowing as to what will happen next season.  Some of the plotlines in the graphic novels may have a chance to show themselves, which promises to be interesting.  Michonne (the hooded figure with the kitana swords) is a character I was hoping would appear at some point.

I’m disappointed in Rick, and am hoping that his breakdown at the end of the episode was an inevitable result of too much stress and having to kill his best friend.  Lori, in her typical selfish fashion, was not supportive when Rick confessed all to her.  I’ve seen other blog posts in which people cut Lori some slack for her reaction; after all, she had real feelings for Shane.  Well, I’ve been defending Lori all season, and I’m a little tired of it now.  Rick needed her support and didn’t get it.

Daryl continues to be my favorite character on the show, which I find funny as he wasn’t in the graphic novels (at least not up through #8).  Daryl does what needs to be done.  He’s moody, but doesn’t ask for anything from anyone.  When Daryl chooses a side, you can count on him to stick to it.

I just wish there were some stronger/ more likable female characters.  I don’t particularly like Lori… less every episode, in fact.  Andrea is too reckless for my taste, like even though she is no longer suicidal, she’s still rapidly careening toward self-destruction.  Carol is still grieving for Sophia, though she was always a quiet character anyway, just wanting to be a mom and quietly supportive.  Maggie has potential to be a good strong character; I’m anxious to see how she develops.  With Michonne coming on board and the main setting changing, I anticipate next season being less about character building (which a lot of people complained about, but I liked) and more action packed.

Here’s to next season!  Cheers!

The Walking Dead-Graphic Novel

I never went though a stage where comics were interesting to me.  The Sunday funnies, yes.  I read them every week when my parents got the paper.  But as far as comic books… I just never saw the appeal.

As I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve become more open minded.  I’ve read some of the Odd Thomas graphic novels (written by none other than the wonderful Dean Koontz) and the Twilight graphic novels.

The Walking Dead is a graphic novel written by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, and Cliff Rathburn.  I’m not sure where to start with my praise.  First off, the artwork is great.  The artists do a great job of conveying the story through the action and through the characters’ facial expressions, hand gestures, posture, etc.  Second, it’s just well-written.  Third, the characters feel like real people, three-dimensional with their own sets of motivations, secrets, and problems.  There are 14 books, and I bought the first compendium, which includes the first 8… I’m up to book 3, but I’m so excited about it that I had to write about it.

Graphic novels tell a story in a minimalist way.  They use action and subtlety to convey meaning.  The action has to be fast but the story still has to draw in the reader.  I think there’s a lot to be learned from graphic novels.

Even if you’re not sure that you like graphic novels, if you do like zombies and apocalypse stories, give the first book a try.

Incidentally, I can’t finish this without saying a few words about the TV series of the same name.  I love the TV series, which stays true to the spirit (though not the plot) of the novels.  Many of the characters are the same, and the characters they do share are pretty congruent.

I recommend watching the TV series and reading the books.  Both get two thumbs way up.