The Tyranny of Boxsets

I finally caught up on some tv series recently, allowing entry into that blissful state where the merest risk of spoilers no longer requires running out of the room with ears covered. It lasted all of a week or two before the new series of Game of Thrones arrived. Excuse me while I cover my ears, and type with my nose.

I am the One Who Knocks ... to be let out, then to come straight back in again five minutes later

I am the One Who Knocks … to be let out, then to come straight back in again five minutes later

Breaking Bad I had held off from, to cling tenaciously to a world where there was still more Breaking Bad to see. Sorta like Shroedinger’s cat having HBO inside its box, and hence having no reason to escape its fate.

I go the occasional boxset binge, so as to contain the guilt of not doing something more productive into reasonably controlled bouts.

“But it’s the 21st century,” you cry. “Get with the streaming already.”

Gawd no. I got rid of my tv years ago to avoid plonking down and watching any old keck that was on. It’s enough strain defying ABC iView and Youtube, without even considering the arrival of Netflix in Australia. Boxsets at least allow a modicum of discipline.

And so we come to The Walking Dead.

The Watching DeadI persevered through series two, sympathising with the writers’ plight of double the episodes on half the budget, despite it largely being a bunch of annoying people bickering on a farm for 12 episodes.

Series 3 was enjoyable, despite watching Charlie Brooker’s “A Touch of Cloth” at the same time, which mercilessly satirised a particular cliche/trope that was prevalent in Rick’s story arc.


But in catching up on series 4, in order to not be too spoilered by series 5 whispers, I think it’s time to draw the line.

The reason? One of my pet hates: Plot driven by people doing spectacularly dumbarse things.

  • Rick insists on going wandering without his gun. Whuh? That’s dumbarse.
  • Then he follows a bedraggled survivor, despite her staggeringly suspicious behaviour. Surprise surprise, she goes him one. Dumbarse!
  • He hangs round for a chat as she dies. Enough lingering around people about to suddenly change into a zombie, Walking Dead! And completely oblivious to the approach of, you know, zombies.

Meanwhile, back at base, everyone is incredibly blase about life in general. Is that hubris I can smell in the air, besides the rotting flesh?

  • A young girl claims zombies are still people, no doubt setting up for her to let some free or something dumbarse.
  • A young guy gives his girlfriend a peck on the cheek before casually going on a supplies run. Well, at least he didn’t wear a red shirt.
  • A couple get all smoochy and devoted, but elect to take it slow. It’s a post-apocalyptic world of survival, people. Taking it slow is a bit of a luxury. At least get to first base before one of you inevitably gets munched in ten minutes time.

But most galling of all, it seems the series’ inciting incident is to be a young boy getting ill and karking it in the bathroom in the middle of the night, in the middle of the compound.

Which demands of me to ask: Where the hell are these people’s risk management protocols?

You live in a story universe where a person dying will quickly turn into a flesh-eating horror. Surely then, you’d keep a bit of an eye on anyone even remotely off-colour and, like, isolate them or something. Say, in a prison cell, given you’re camped out in a massive jail.

Spoiler alert for Walking Dead Series 6

Spoiler alert for Walking Dead Series 6

For that matter, all it would take is to slip on a freshly mopped floor. Or indeed, trip over the mop.

Hit your head on tree branch.

Cut yourself shaving *really* badly.

The modern non-zombie world is pretty trecherous at times, so the logistics of living in the world of The Walking Dead is an Occupational Health and Safety nightmare.

Yet, everyone blithely roams about by themselves, for lonely, wistful rememberances of fallen loves, their subsequent hasty beheading of those loved ones, or heavy philosophical musing oblivious to walkers lumbering up on them.

Sigh. Here we go again ...

Sigh. Here we go again …

It’s an accident and subsequent disaster waiting to happen. Travel in pairs for pity’s sake! Keep watchful about each other. Don’t mop floors without putting out a number of “Slippery Surface” signs in appropriate places.

It seems to me, come the zombie apocalypse, your best bet is not to stick with on-the-edge policemen, survivalist enthusiasts, or superficially charming governors, but to hook up with OHS officers.


They know where lean a mop where it won’t cause a sudden outbreak in your midst, or will stick a “Mind Your Head” on low door beams and the like. Even the odd “Careful now” wouldn’t hurt. Human survival is at stake people!

No, without due risk management, observe common sense safety practices, or even simple precautions being observed to even a basic level, I’m afraid this is where The Walking Dead and I have to part ways. It’s the same problem I had with the film 28 Weeks Later, whose plot is triggered by two kids doing something spectacularly dumbarse.

At least abandoning them to their fates saves me a good ten or so hours per series, time I could more productively use for writing.

… Though, I have been meaning to check out House of Cards, just to compare Spacey’s version to the brilliance of Sir Ian Richardson’s Urquhart.

Time poor writer? You might say that, I couldn’t possibly comment.

If a Problem Comes Along, You Must Mop It

If a Problem Comes Along, You Must Mop It

Disclaimer: Okay, so I work in a Risk Management company, and get a little het up about these things. But mops, man, how hard are they to put away?

This entry was posted in Story Plotting, Story Structure, Writing, Writing Productivity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.