With The Walking Dead shattering ratings left and right, it should come as no surprise that geek god Nathan Fillion counts himself among the fans of AMC’s hit zombie drama. That’s why the Firefly and Dr. Horrible alum penned a love letter for EW:
If you are looking for a recap of the last episode, you are going to be disappointed. There are no tidbits or insights about “What do you think this character will do?” here. This is a love letter.
Let’s talk about entertainment. Some television I watch for the escape, and some, for the journey. The difference being is whether this show is distracting me, or can this piece of work suspend disbelief and transport me to a realm of “what if.” I certainly won’t tune in next week if I don’t care about what happens next. Give me a story that has me asking what I’d do in that same situation. Let me be concerned for characters I’ve come to know, watch them learn and grow, or stagnate and fail. Let me hate them, let them disappoint me. Let me see them make choices shaped by their experiences.
When I really sink into a program, it transcends the typical watching at home alone experience. I want to share it, to gather my friends. I have beverages and food, sometimes in the theme of the show. It becomes an event. We revel in the excitement of having waited all week, chatting about parts that moved us, predicting what will happen next and why we think so. I bring new people who have never seen the show into the fold, and I see the excitement grow inside them just from being surrounded by others who are already swept away. We gather in front of the TV and dim the lights. Everyone finds a comfortable position, we make our last minute jokes and comments, and then—silence. The show begins. The waiting is over. The week spent talking about the last episode is over. The anticipation is satiated. The journey continues.
We spend commercial breaks hooting, gasping, and commenting, positively or negatively, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are being made to feel. Emotions are welling up from nothing—nothing but a well-crafted story.
Thank you, Walking Dead. Thank you for enduring the heat in Atlanta. Thank you for the sacrifice of displacing yourselves from your homes. Thank you, cast and crew, writers and producers, casting and costumes. Thank you, make up and hair departments, PA’s and all the artists who play walkers. All of you, thank you.
For those of you who have not yet seen The Walking Dead, you don’t have to be interested in the apocalypse. You needn’t enjoy wondering about how you’d survive if society, commerce, infrastructure, and civilization stopped. You don’t even have to like thinking about defenses against zombies to enjoy good storytelling…
but it helps.