How to Fix 'The Walking Dead' in One Easy Step
While a spinoff of the highly successful series The Walking Dead has been rumored for years, it was finally confirmed when AMC recently ordered a pilot. Though the creators have released some vague tidbits on the cast of characters, they've been tight-lipped on the location, only stating that, while this series will be in the same post-apocalyptic universe (no way!), it will not be set in the same state as the companion series, which takes place in the most soul-crushingly boring part of Georgia imaginable.
Which is wherever these people are.
That sounds like a joke, because it is, but it's also completely true and a gigantic problem for this show. Starting out with their sights set on Atlanta was great, immediately giving up and fleeing to the woods to talk things out for eternity, at least from an entertainment standpoint, has turned out far less great, whether anyone wants to admit it or not. You can only hide so many places in rural Georgia, as it turns out, and most of those places are barns or abandoned houses.
Reminder: The kids on this show are the worst.
Sure, the occasional walker jumps out from behind a tree or something, but that's just silly more than anything. Those things growl constantly and the only other sound for miles is the deafening silence of nature. If a zombie gets the drop on you in that environment, it's nothing more than evolution at work. Again, sounds like a joke, but it's also a problem in that it makes every encounter with a walker seem like the most unlikely scenario imaginable.
Fortunately, this is a problem the spinoff can easily fix. Just set that show in a place that doesn't lend itself exclusively to rampant boredom.
There has been plenty of theorizing and debate about possible locations, with no single idea seeming a whole lot better than the next. Having weeks-long discussions about how you should maybe find a safer place to live while fighting off a ceremonial swarm of zombies every 30 minutes is something you can literally do anywhere. That makes it super hard to choose.
Nevertheless, choose is what we're about to do, because we know exactly where the Walking Dead spinoff should be set. For the best possible results, they should set up shop in Detroit. Here are a few reasons why.
Detroit Already Looks Like the Apocalypse Hit It
Sounds harsh, we know, but it's the damn truth. When Anthony Bourdain shot an episode of his CNN travel show, Parts Unknown, there, he compared the city to Chernobyl. You've seen Chernobyl, right? If not, it looks like this ...
... and this ...
... and this ...
... except just joking, that's actually all Detroit. You wouldn't have known the difference if we didn't tell you, though. At present, there are 78,000 abandoned buildings and 66,000 abandoned lots in that city. So, hey, great news, apocalypse survivors -- no more talking about where you're going to live! Everyone gets a building!
Obviously, given its present state, Detroit could use any economic boost that might come as a result of the show filming there, but you don't need us to tell you that. Don't feel bad about that, though, because ...
There's Precedent for Exploiting Destroyed Areas for Entertainment
OK, maybe that doesn't make you feel better. Still, it happens. For starters, AMC already shot one series in Detroit. It was Low Winter Sun, so nobody saw it, but that doesn't change the fact that it happened.
We're sure about that?
Of course, that's a far cry from flat-out saying, "Hey, this looks like the end of civilization, let's shoot here." For a prime example of that, look no further than The Hunger Games, which used an abandoned South Carolina town to represent the shithole that was District 12.
It's neat how those huge TV screens were still there!
The Discovery Channel took this idea a step further, setting an entire reality series called The Colony in a Hurricane Katrina-ravaged section of Louisiana.
You didn't watch it.
The premise was that a group of strangers had to band together and learn how to survive after most of the world has been wiped out by a deadly plague. Sound familiar?
Also, one more thing ...
Michigan Is Ready for Zombies
Here's the most compelling thing about the prospect of The Walking Dead: Detroit -- Michigan has the second-largest concentration of anti-government militia groups in the nation, behind only Texas. In the original series, everyone is caught off guard by the chaos unfolding around them, which gives the walkers a huge advantage. That wouldn't be the case in Michigan, where untold numbers of arsenal-stockpiling zealots are just itching to put all of that weaponry to use against anything they perceive as a threat.
In the meantime ... screen printing wacky T-shirts.
How much more watchable would this show be if, instead of the hopelessness that permeates every episode now, we got a series about the people maybe winning? For one thing, it would be conflicting as all get out, because in this case, "winning" might mean pinning our hopes on the fringes of society, and who knows what things will look like once they take charge.
A "Faces of Meth" poster?
At that point, is it even better to win or should we just let the zombies have their way with the world? That's an interesting question that will never have to be asked of the show in its current setting, because those people are not going to win, and everyone knows it. The show is called The Walking Dead for a reason, and it's not because of the zombies.
It could be called The Walking Dead for way more interesting reasons if they move to Detroit, though. We're only half joking when we say that, if you have the kind of resolve to stay in that city as it stands right now, a wave of zombies probably won't change that much. Detroit won't flee to the woods. If anything, the people in the woods will come to Detroit. Throw the inevitable harsh winter that will blanket the city at some point into the mix, and that has every chance of turning into a war the zombies do not win. That, in turn, eventually makes this a show about rebuilding society in the last place you'd expect it to happen.
It's also the last thing you'd expect from a show like The Walking Dead, and that's exactly why they should do it.