TV dramas used to be fast-paced. Every episode would introduce a new problem — a horrific unsolved crime, a patient with a mysterious illness, a falsely-accused defendant who can only be rescued by Perry Mason — and resolve that problem by the closing credits. That’s all changed in the last decade. A diverse array of brilliant series — thrillers like 24 and Lost, ensemble community-portrait epics like The Wire and Friday Night Lights, interior dramas like The Sopranos and Mad Men — have explored the narrative potential of season- and series-long storytelling.
But there’s a thin line between “ambitiously decompressed storytelling” and “aimless narrative stasis.” Take, for example, The Walking Dead, which has spent the first four episodes of its second season meandering through the forest, the characters searching for a Lost Girl and having lengthy conversations about their relationship to God. Dead is clearly trying to model the slow-burn storytelling of Breaking Bad and Mad Men, but it’s beginning to feel more like those other AMC dramas: Rubicon and The Killing, which too often just felt needlessly slow, if not outright boring.
We badly want The Walking Dead to live up to its full potential, so in the new episode of The No Doctor Cop Lawyer Show, we discuss the show’s pacing problems in depth. Watch the video, and let us know your thoughts in the comment boards. Do you like the show’s leisurely pace? How does the show’s momentum compare to the original graphic novel? And do you think the series will speed up at the halfway point, when new showrunner Glen Mazzara takes over?
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