AMC’s massive hit zombie drama The Walking Dead has been more popular than anyone initially expected. They’ve found ways to capitalize on that and take your money in a variety of ways, with games, toys, and all manner of tie-in merchandise. Now, they’re basically just going to take all of your hard-earned cash straight out of your pocket, casino style. That’s right, kids — or at least those of you old enough to gamble — the world is now getting Walking Dead slot machines. Soon you’ll be able to stand in front of an undead one-armed bandit and pump in an endless stream of shiny quarters.
I hope that when you win, instead of a flood of coins, these slot machines dispense cans of food, or maybe ammunition. You know, things that would be useful in keeping yourself alive after the zombie apocalypse. Money isn’t going to have any value, unless you need something to help start a fire, or loose change to load into a homemade landmine. And if you lose, maybe a zombie pops out from the top and eats your brains.
The Walking Dead, and its merry band of survivors, doesn’t return to the airwaves — or cable boxes — until this October, but if history is any indicator, we’re due to start seeing leaked photos and hearing casting rumors any day now.
Season four will pick up with the gang still entrenched at the prison. Only now their numbers have swollen with all of the strays and leftovers from Woodbury. That can only mean one thing: zombie fodder. And of course the Governor (David Morrissey) is still alive, skulking around the Georgia woods, plotting revenge.
Even for fans, The Walking Dead can be horrifically frustrating to watch. Season three was easily the best thus far, but the episodes still vary wildly in quality from week to week. The second half of last season alone had some of the best episodes of the franchise right next to some of the worst. And I have to admit, I was so, so happy when they killed off Andrea (Laurie Holden). In Robert Kirkman’s comics, she is such an incredible character, but the show stripped away every redeeming quality about her. The TV incarnation was Andrea in name only.
There are fans out there who want the show to stick to storylines from the comics, but the more I think about it, the more I hope they don’t. Andrea’s death is a good sign that they’re moving away from the source material, and the best character on the show isn’t in the comic. I want them to take the show in its own direction, to make it more of its own entity. Right now it feels like the producers are trying to have it both ways, like they’re afraid to choose one path or another. Let’s hope they pick one and go with it.
As much as I gripe about it, I do have a modicum of hope for the upcoming season. “Clear,” an episode from last season, may be the best installment since the pilot. It’s quiet, tense, grim, and powerful, and shows what the series can be. That script was penned by Scott Gimple, who is taking over as showrunner in the wake of the very public parting of ways between the show and previous leader Glenn Mazzara. My dream is that we’ll wind up with more episodes like “Clear.”
The release of the slot machines is scheduled for this fall, to coincide with season four of The Walking Dead.