Wednesday , 13 December 2017

Speaking of Talking Dead….

Talking_Dead_logo

…. how about the talk show that follows AMC’s mega-hit, The Walking Dead? Hosted by Chris Hardwick, Talking Dead is a unique and, in fact, rather groundbreaking show. Launched in October 2011 along with the second season of The Walking Dead, the show consists of Chris and guests discussing the show that aired that night. Guests generally include a key member from the show, from producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and Greg Nicotero, to cast members like Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus and Lauren Cohan. They also bring an added guest or two, often times a comedian, from Kevin Smith to Sarah Silverman, or just a big fan of the show, like Nathan Fillion and Marilyn Manson (an ‘interesting’ recent guest). Chris and guests give their interesting take on what preceded and what may come. And when someone from the show is on, they do a great job of offering their inside perspective without giving away any spoilers.

Begun as a half hour show, Talking Dead expanded to an hour after the midseason premiere of the third season of Walking Dead in February of 2013. There are a number of regular features included, such as an “In Memorium”, where they look back at those we just lost on the show (mostly walkers), an online poll, a Subway “Fresh Buzz of the Week”, which reveals fun facts from the just aired episode, plus questions via Facebook, Twitter, phone and even their studio audience. At the end of the show, they also preview a short clip from the next episode of Walking Dead to whet your bloody appetite. It’s a fun-filled, lively hour that can vary depending on who the guests are. Naturally, the comedians tend to offer a more humorous take, but they can also have surprising insight into the show too.

1280-chris-hardwick-20-TalkingDead

Talking Dead works so well mainly for two reasons. One is host Chris Hardwick. Amiable, funny, intelligent, and clearly knowledgeable of and a huge fan of The Walking Dead, Chris is the glue that holds everything together.
Confident in front of the camera due to his years of acting, hosting shows from MTV’s Singled Out to G4’s terribly missed Attack of the Show, doing stand-up, hosting his podcast and moderating panels at comic conventions, Chris does a terrific job at keeping things moving. He really seems to be everywhere these days, as his The Nerdist podcast has a YouTube channel and a companion show on BBC America, and his game show on Comedy Central, @ Midnight, was just given a 40-week pickup. But with all these other outlets for his talents, Chris throws his heart and soul into Talking Dead, and he comes across as very likeable and has a great chemistry with his guests.

The other main reason Talking Dead is so successful is due to the strength of The Walking Dead itself. With a lot of television shows, you watch them, and move on. Not so with Walking Dead. When an episode ends, you want to discuss it and know even more, whether it be about a shocking character death or some mystery hinted at but not yet fully revealed. One of the things that makes The Walking Dead so compelling week to week is the surprises that appear, from a long lost character suddenly showing up to a mystery plot device revealed little by little. And Talking Dead provides a great outlet to learn more about these developments. Also fascinating are the behind-the-scenes segments showcasing the incredible effects by Greg Nicotero and team.

la-et-0330-talking-dead-pictures-009

There really isn’t any other show like The Talking Dead on TV. (There was another AMC show, Talking Bad, also hosted by Chris Hardwick, that aired briefly during Breaking Bad’s final season.) Yeah, there have been a few after shows for other reality-based programs like Jersey Shore or the various Housewives, but they aired sporadically, and certainly didn’t deal with the intensity and craftsmanship of The Walking Dead. What’s interesting is that Talking Dead’s ratings are even higher than that of AMC’s other acclaimed show, Mad Men. Truly remarkable that a show about a show can consistently beat an Emmy-winning series in numbers of viewers.

As mentioned earlier, while a lot of television has worthy shows, they don’t warrant a lot of discussion afterwards. Certainly, Breaking Bad was one to a degree. Game of Thrones is another. Defiance on SyFy also has a lot going on. In the past, how great would it have been to have a show discussing all the conspiracies and mythology behind The X-Files? Or one involving the intrigue and continuing journey to find ‘home’ in SyFy’s rebooted masterpiece, Battlestar Galactica? Luckily, for those fans of The Walking Dead in search of something more, Talking Dead definitely fills the bill.

6 comments

  1. The Talking Dead is the Desert after the Undead main course!

  2. Dude no one expected Hershell to get his head sliced in half, but I really feel this brought the most badassness to the show in a while. For instance, that little girl killed that one dude! I was also surprised when the generals “girl” finished him off cause she finally realized how crazy he was. Classic episode oh and btw..

    GORE4 RULES

    • You’re right about the show being bad-ass, this last episode in particular. There really isn’t any other show on television where every character is under such constant threat of danger and death. Aside from Rick, and probably Daryl, no one is safe, even children (though I bet ‘lil “ass-kicker” is still alive and kickin’). It was very devastating to see what happened to Hershel. He was the glue that held everybody together. Glad we got to see Scott Wilson on Talking Dead after. And happy too to see the Governor get his, though I would have preferred seeing him torn apart and eaten alive by zombies. Can’t wait ’till Feb. 9th! And btw, thx for liking the Gore 4!

  3. I have to say that the mid-season finale was one of the most shocking and intense shows I’ve ever watched on TV! Hershel was a fan favorite and Scott Wilson deserves an Emmy for best supporting actor for his role. Him getting “the axe” (or should I say THE SWORD!), both ON the show and FROM the show, was devastating to me. I feel I’ve been traumatized! I’ve never had reactions like this to a show. It was not only the shock of Hershel dying, but also in such a brutal way. Now the show needs a heart transplant, because Hershel was certainly the heart of the show. It would be the show’s second heart transplant, since Dale was the original heart that Hershel came to fill.
    When The Talking Dead came on after, with Scott Wilson, everybody seemed so somber. It was obvious that they were all affected by the episode in a similar way to how I was. Poor Scott Wilson – he was hit with a double wammy – his character was killed brutally AND he’s out of a job, which he seemed to love very much. Hat’s off and glasses up to Scott Wilson! May Hershel rest in peace and may Scott get an Emmy!

    • Yes, that’s one of the things about killing off a character on a TV show. You may feel bad for that character, but you don’t really think beyond that. There is, however, an actor portraying that character who is out of a job he or she may have loved. And the rest of the cast are also losing a friend they may have been working with for years. These points are especially brought home thanks to the show, Talking Dead, as they usually have the actor playing the recently departed character on as a guest. You could see how emotional Lauren Cohen was to not getting to work with someone she considered a mentor anymore. And Scott Wilson seemed very disappointed in seeing his character’s arc come to a grisly end. He did put in an amazing performance that is absolutely Emmy-worthy. No one else, in what would be considered a supporting role on TV, went through what Hershel did this past season. He deserves to win.

      And, yes, Hershel was the heart of the show, as Dale was before him. Tyrese, when we were first introduced to him, had a strong moral center, so I could see him picking up that mantle. Though he did lose some of his humanity when he lost Karen, hopefully that won’t change him entirely. Rick, as evidenced by his handling of Carol and his desperate attempt to avoid an all-out war with the Governor, seems to have his humanity intact. If he can combine that along with making the tough decisions necessary to protect the group, he can once again be a strong leader. Of course, the group seems to be somewhat separated for now. We’ll see when season 4 resumes in February!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*