Top Culture: Zombie TV Returns!

Top Culture: Zombie TV Returns!

Good Friday morning citizens of Earth! It’s time for another instalment of the formerly weekly, now bi-weekly segment we like to call Top Culture. We take the very best of what’s happing in pop-culture news and regurgitate it back to you, momma bird style!

This week we have cover the return of TV zombies, an unexpectedly good detective show and some honesty from Elrond the magical elf.

The Rocking Dead
The Walking Dead, famously the show everyone loves to hate. Yes, from Carl’s uncanny ability to get lost to the talking CDC computer, there has been no shortage of things to nitpick about the AMC interpretation of Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel.

Last season I came within a hare’s breath of giving up on the series. The show was suffering from staffing shake ups as then show runner, Frank Darabont, was shown the door shortly before production began on season two. There was also a serious haircut to the production budget because AMC needed to find a way to pay Matt Wiener to continue work on his over rated show (I’m talking about Mad Men).

The first three episodes of season two were failures on just about every possible level. Clunky writing, poorly paced and virtually no zombies. In fact, aside from the final two episodes, season two was nearly devoid of zombie kills.

However, fans of the graphic novel have been keeping hope alive that this uneven show would find its legs in its third season as the story shifts to the prison, by far the darkest chapter in the comic.

This past Sunday gave fans cause for optimism as The Walking Dead came flying out of the gate with one of its most zombie splattering episodes yet. Nearly the entire hour featured Rick and the survivors shooting, slicing and stabbing the undead – many kills were joyfully disgusting.

While it has only been one episode, there seems to be an effort to more closely follow plot lines from the comic book. Time will tell if this is true, but I was very happy with what I saw Sunday and hope this trend continues as the season progresses.

It’s Elementary my dear Lucy Liu
Are you guys fans of Sherlock? If you aren’t you should be. Sherlock is an excellent modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books staring Martin Freeman and a guy with a really funny name.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s (see?) performance as Sherlock Holmes is masterful, weaving together a man exceedingly intelligence yet completely and utterly socially retarded. He’s a little bit Walter Bishop and a little bit Data.

Benedict Cumberbatch

He’s weird looking too.

Anyway, the point is Sherlock’s a super great show that everyone likes, so naturally American TV tries to copy it. But hold on there, American TV, you can’t just create your own modern day Sherlock Holmes series, that would be far too obvious you ripped of the BBC. Something needs to be different…what can you change? Oh! I know. Watson is a women! Brilliant.

And thus Elementary was born! A show I assumed was a tepid attempt to score off an existing popular franchise. Classic Hollywood thinking.

Then I watched Elementary…and it was good. It may still be a cynical money grab, but I really enjoyed the first episode.

The tone of Elementary is very similar to Sherlock. Both shows feel dark and raw as they explore this deeply flawed, yet impossibly intelligent man.

However, the character of Sherlock Holmes himself is slightly different. In Sherlock, Holmes is very robotic, emotionally stilted and incapable of empathy. He’s a sociopath, at the very least. In Elementary, Holmes feels warmer and more relatable, yet still very odd.

Both work, in my opinion. So I guess I’m watching two Sherlock Holmes shows now.

Hugo Weaving

When did Hugo Weaving become Creepy McBeardo?

Elrond just doesn’t give a shit
I’m not sure if this story really works in the spirit of Top Culture, because it is inherently negative. However, I found it really interesting. It seems Hugo Weaving really didn’t give a shit when it came to playing the voice of Megatron in the Michael Bay eyesore Transformers. Here’s what Weaving had to say about his voice work via Collider:

“It was one of the only things I’ve ever done where I had no knowledge of it, I didn’t care about it, I didn’t think about it.  They wanted me to do it.  In one way, I regret that bit.  I don’t regret doing it, but I very rarely do something if it’s meaningless.  It was meaningless to me, honestly.  I don’t mean that in any nasty way.  I did it.  It was a two-hour voice job, while I was doing other things… my link to that and to Michael Bay is so minimal.  I have never met him.  I was never on set.  I’ve seen his face on Skype.  I know nothing about him, really.  I just went in and did it.  I never read the script.  I just have my lines, and I don’t know what they mean.”

I imagine there are a lot of jobs for actors and actresses. They can’t all be artistically fulfilling, right? Sometimes you’re just doing a job for a paycheque. As a graphic designer, basically all I do is draw dumb things all day for a paycheque then go home and try to justify myself as an artist by making an even dumber web comic.

I’m actually shocked Weaving’s voice work on Transformers took two hours. Through the entirety of the trilogy I’m not sure Megatron has more than 6 lines.

Michael Bay, being Hollywood’s more insecure director, decided to respond:

Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15 million a picture, or even $200,000 for voiceover work that took a brisk one hour and 43 minutes to complete, and then complain about their jobs? With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job wasn’t ‘artistic enough” or “fulfilling enough”? I guess The Hollywood Reporter thinks so.

What happened to people who had integrity, who did a job, got paid for their hard work, and just smiled afterward? Be happy you even have a job – let alone a job that pays you more than 98% of the people in America.

I’m going to make a suggestion, Michael. Instead of paying a big name $200,000 to not give a shit about your robot movie, how about giving the job to someone who might appreciate it? Someone like, I don’t know, the original voice of Megatron, Frank Welker?

Just a thought.

That’s all for Top Culture this week, see you all Monday for another brand new Inglorious Hipsters!

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