It is what it is: Fear of ‘The Walking Dead’

OK, I have a fear of commitment.

Or maybe I just have a fear of zombies — but a fear of commitment is less embarrassing to admit.

Certain other family members have been watching “The Walking Dead” over the past few months. I’m not usually around when they’re watching, so I haven’t seen much of the series. In fact, because I’m usually in the office evenings — such is the lot of a small town newspaper editor — I haven’t followed more than a couple of TV series over the years.

It wasn’t too long ago that, if you weren’t able to be in front of your TV at the same time each week, following a series meant programming the VCR, always a hit-or-miss proposition.

More recently, TV series were released on DVD, which was a good option for me. Friday night is movie night for me, and we could watch a couple episodes at a time, then rent the next season the following week. Perfect.

But now with streaming video, there are entire multi-season series are ready for the viewing. You can watch any show you want, any time you want. While that sounds like it might be even more convenient for someone like me, it’s proven to be anything but when it comes to watching shows with someone else. The script writers for these shows have proven to be adept at making sure that when one episode ends, you are dying to know what happens in the next one.

So, even though I might start a series with other family members, it’s a sure bet that I won’t finish it with them, as they like to plow ahead without me. As it stands, you can give me a list of popular series available to stream, and chances are I’ve caught parts of a few episodes from each season — just enough to know who the characters are, but not quite enough to really understand what’s going on.

That brings me back to “The Walking Dead.” “Walking Dead” viewers in my household — they’re not called dead heads, are they? — were finishing up the last few episodes of the last season available on Netflix. With the holidays, I had a couple days off and joined them for it, and even got myself hooked. I found myself watching the next couple of episodes even after my wife went to bed — I had to find out what was going to happen next, right? (Spoiler: It usually involves traipsing through the woods in the dark being followed by zombies, and the stresses that result from such endeavors. That’s pretty much the plot of the entire series, in fact.)

In any case, I got to the end of the season and thought maybe I should go back to the beginning and watch the series all the way through. It was suggested to me that it would be great way to really understand what is motivating each character — at least the ones who haven’t been killed off by that point, which is a pretty short list. In fact, shortly into the first episode, while watching a scene involving several characters, it was pointed out that only one makes it.

I watched a little more of the first episode, but ended up turning it off. I’ve never really been into blood and gore, and while a good scare can be fun, that’s not really the type of fun I’m looking for right before bed time, which is when I have time for TV viewing. Catching a late-night talk show monologue and usually falling asleep on the couch halfway through it is more my speed.

But I also looked at the episode list for “The Walking Dead” and started doing the math: 67 episodes already, most close to an hour long with some special episodes going longer, and the next season sure to be added down the road. At my pace of one or two episodes a week, that’s months to get through it all.

So I think I’ll pass on watching the series start to finish, because it’s really the commitment — not the scary zombies.

Maybe “Downton Abbey” is more my speed — there’s only 52 episodes of that.

And no zombies.

Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at

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