Here it is, folks, the final stretch of the Walking Dead Marathon on AMC. If you’re like me, you’ve been glued to your television since Thursday (or your DVR has been running non-stop) starting with Season 1. And now, on this lazy Sunday afternoon, we will finish out Season 3.
I’ve had people make comments to me, questioning the logic behind watching the shows again. They can’t wrap their heads around it. They are just holding out for the “new” episodes to air in October. What they don’t understand is that for many of us, especially those in the #TWDFamily, every episode is “new” for us.
How many times have you seen the original Star Wars trilogy? Rocky? The Godfather? The Wizard of Oz? The Lord of the Rings? Titanic? Casablanca? The Breakfast Club? The Rocky Horror Picture Show? The Princess Bride? Raiders of the Lost Ark? Die Hard? Pulp Fiction? The Lost Boys? The Mummy? Mary Poppins? T2: Judgment Day? Jaws? Love Actually? Sound of Music? Braveheart? Pitch Perfect? Toy Story? Harry Potter? Anchorman? Friends? I think you get my point…..
The easiest reason would be that when you truly enjoy watching something, you look forward to watching it time and again, just the same as you would re-listen to your favorite album or re-read your favorite novel. But if you dig a little deeper into a true fan’s mind, you’ll find that with each time they view a movie, or in this case a television program, they find something new to appreciate.
The first time I saw the movie the Sixth Sense, I was so wrapped up in the story that I didn’t think to look for the clues. Mind you, that film was released before we had to worry about the internet spoiling secrets for everyone. The same was true for the Crying Game. A film could actually hold surprises. And when you went back to watch the film a second time, you could pay less attention to overall story/dialogue, and more towards the more subtle details. For example, in the case of the Sixth Sense, the use of the color red. Doctor Who was always good about leaving little bread crumbs throughout the season (Bad Wolf, Saxon, Doctor/Donna, etc) that culminated in a grand finale, leaving you either smacking yourself in the head for missing the signs, or fist-pumping the air and shouting, “I knew it!”
The first thing that you need to do to enjoy the series TWD, is to accept that it does not follow the source material. I grew so tired of people complaining about how “different” the Potter movies were from the books. That may be true. But when you look at them as a separate entity, they were perfect. The 7 books told their story. And the 8 films followed their own similar story. Trying to jump between the two can leave some confused and/or disappointed. It’s the same way for TWD. Just sit back and enjoy the show as it’s own little universe. If you can stop comparing it to the comics, and embrace your suspension of disbelief, you will be hooked.
Then, once you’ve watched each episode, do yourself a favor and watch them again. And again. With every viewing, you will notice all of the little things that the show’s creators throw in to make the show wonderful down to the tiniest detail. Go back and look for subtle exchanges between characters, little nuances. Pay attention to the things that were intended to be foreshadowing, but on the first viewing either went unnoticed or were just so horrifying you couldn’t focus. In season 2, look for the first signs of the Governor’s presence, or of the “secret” told to Rick at the CDC. Go back and make a point to examine a character with a different set of eyes, especially once you’ve seen their fate, you might be surprised to see that you misjudged them. Go back and appreciate everything from the costumes, special effects, cinematography, even the music (thank you Bear McCreary). Anyone who has only seen it once is missing so very much!
The other wonderful thing about a marathon, aside from the fact that it was a Season 4 Preview Weekend, is the connection you make online with the rest of #TWDFamily. Sharing jokes, favorite moments, and occasionally chatting with the cast and crew themselves. These interactions make the show that much better!
My daughter thought the marathon was a lead-in to a premiere tonight. I reminded her that the show doesn’t start again until October. She said,”Then what’s the point? Why the marathon?” I had to explain to her that it is a marketing coup on AMC’s behalf. The show is too new to be in syndication just yet. “Syndication?” she asked? I explained about what that meant, citing some of her favorite examples, Friends and the Big Bang Theory. The only way to watch TWD is to purchase the DVD or BlueRay sets, or wait until October. That’s a very long time to wait. Airing the occasional marathon (or the black & white reissues) is a genius move! Not only does it provide new viewers the opportunity to discover the series, but it’s like throwing a bag of organs to a hungry horde of rabid walkers…er…fans. It gets us all riled up again and excited about the show. You keep your brand in circulation with peaks and valleys until the final build up before the October premiere explodes into pop culture history. I guarantee AMC’s ratings were through the roof this holiday weekend. It didn’t hurt any that the weather was a little wet, putting the kibosh on a lot of people’s 4th of July weekend plans. So what are they to do? Grab some friends, grab some food, log in to Twitter, turn on AMC, and relive the nightmare!
I was obsessed with Lost when it first aired. Now that it is in syndication, however, I do not feel the same love for the show. I have tried to watch re-runs and they do not hold my attention. TWD, on the other hand, has claimed more hours of my life than I care to confess. Not quite as much as Friends has, but it’s fast becoming a close second. Every time TWD is on, I am glued to the television, discovering new things to love and appreciate.
How can I watch an episode I’ve seen already? How can YOU not?
Thank you, AMC for giving us this preview weekend. And thank you, as always, to the creators, cast, and crew of what will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest television programs to ever air.