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Here’s the thing: I am completely caught up in all of the hype surrounding The Walking Dead TV show. I have read the interviews, watched the trailers, been slightly skeeved out by the people dressing up as zombies and walking around the place to promote the show. I am entirely waiting for this show to knock my ever-lovin’ socks off. And that terrifies me.
It’s not that I don’t think that the show will be any good. Just the opposite, in fact; from what I’ve seen – which isn’t the full pilot because I am not one of those lucky people who got a screener, dammit – it looks like the rare adaptation that’s faithful to both the spirit and the letter of the original source without being a slavish recreation of it. But that just makes me more nervous, because it reminds me of how I spent my summer. Cue the special flashback effect, why don’t you?
I might be alone in saying this, but Scott Pilgrim Versus The World was easily my film of the summer (If it wasn’t for The Social Network, it’d have easily been my movie of the year, but that’s neither here nor there right now); smart, funny, fast-moving, a visual masterpiece and exactly the kind of movie that I had wanted the graphic novels to be adapted into. I remember seeing it for the first time, and just having a sense of “Well, that was amazing.” I couldn’t believe that it was so good, and also couldn’t imagine that the rest of the world would fail to recognize that. It had even gotten me past my dislike of Michael Cera! How could it fail?
I think we all know how that turned out.
This is what I’m reliving as I wait for The Walking Dead. It’s not that I’m worried that, if the show tanks in the ratings, then somehow the comic will go away and we’ll be left with nothing – Robert Kirkman’s head is, thankfully, much more screwed on than that, and I’m perfectly convinced that he’ll keep going with the series until he’s finished at this point, no matter what – but more that… Well, more that I don’t want to go through that odd, crushing rejection of realizing that everyone else doesn’t love what I do all over again.
There’s a much-discussed fan mindset that says that fans never want what they love to become beloved by the mainstream because it means that they’re no longer as special, and I’ve definitely had that moment once or twice. But more often, I have the opposite, when something I completely adore goes mainstream and the mainstream pretty much shrugs its shoulders and wanders off to watch Dancing With The Stars or whatever, and, man. That’s so, so much worse. Maybe we’ve just become spoiled by this whole “geek takeover of pop culture” thing, but it’s not enough for something like The Walking Dead to be made into a television series anymore; now, it has to be made and be accepted, and I’m not entirely sure why. At some point, being a fan of things like this has changed from “They’re making it into a movie/TV show? AWESOME!” through “They’re making it into a movie/TV show? Please don’t suck please don’t suck” before landing on “They’re making it into a movie/TV show? Please let it have a great opening weekend,” and I’m not entirely sure why.