Over at Entertainment Weekly, writer Darren Franich is arguing that The Walking Dead is beginning to morph into a fantasy (or has been one all along) … specifically high-fantasy of the style of The Lord of the Rings.
I don’t watch TWD (or much telly at all) so I’m going to have to let you all argue this one out yourselves. But the one point I will make is that, if you buy that stuff about there only being seven fundamental plot archetypes, you’re bound to get a certain level of resemblance between any two works. Now, I’ll get out of the road and let Darren have his say…
And now, I think, [The Walking Dead] has transformed again. It’s an evolution that’s been brewing in the background for a long time—since at least the middle of season 3, when it became clear that the characters on the show had left Georgia and entered an exciting magical forest where people and plot points constantly ran into each other, and key settings were simultaneously a million miles away from each other and right around the corner.
But now that we’re clear of Terminus, and the new season has established a rough narrative goal, we know exactly what kind of genre The Walking Dead is now. It’s a fantasy. And, to be specific, it’s The Lord of the Rings.
Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that it has been Lord of the Rings all along—that the show’s early attempts toward something like “realism” were just a cover for a long-game move toward high fantasy that absolutely no one (not even the show’s creators) could’ve conceived.