Student Leader member Jonathan Wilder submitted this interesting and informative take on AMC's The Walking Dead:
Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead is undeniably one of the most popular and successful modern shows. According to an article by the Hollywood Reporter, the midseason premiere this past Sunday had 15.8 million viewers. Why is this show such a success? It could be a cultural trend.
Divergent, The Hunger Games, and The Walking Dead. What do these all have in common? They are all widely popular and take place in a dystopian universe. The success of the aforementioned may be an unintentional, yet profound statement by the youth of this era. Dr. Beth Weiner, a clinical psychologist, astutely stated, "I think there is a certain amount of hopelessness in our society and we channel it into fantasy movies and books with those kinds of themes. So, we can divorce ourselves from that despair." This phenomenon is heavily embedded in The Walking Dead universe.
The Walking Dead questions to what extent humans are willing to go to in their fight for survival. The viewers inherently wonder: Would I be the steadfastly moral Rick or would I devolve into the likes of the Governor? The fourth season's midseason premiere connected with the audience on an emotional level while following the typically stoic Michonne as she finally broke down. The audience was able to project real-life vulnerabilities onto Michonne. Truthfully, we are not that much different than the people of The Walking Dead universe and that is definitely why it is so compelling.
Even if the correct conclusion is that dystopian genre is representative of modern day society, it does not mean the world is entirely dark and gloomy. This is just a trend in the spectrum of popular culture. Who knows what will come next?
O'Connell, Michael. "TV Ratings: 'The Walking Dead' Outperforms Winter Olympics." hollywoodreporter.com<http://hollywoodreporter.com>. The Hollywood Reporter, 10 February 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
Weiner, Beth. Personal Interview. 13 Feb. 2014.
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