Spoilerific Review: Walking Dead

Season 4: Rick gets an iPod. Photo: AMC



I know I know, I’m a bit late with this one. But The Walking Dead just restarted, and I wasn’t totally aware of the fact because I live under a rock. A rock that has internet, but that avoids ads like the plague. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you have either watched all of Walking Dead including S4 Ep1, or don’t care about spoilers.


The Walking Dead’s Season 3 finale was incredibly disappointing for me, mainly because it forgot that finales are supposed to have some sort of climax. Andrea’s death would have been it if I hadn’t stopped caring about the character several episodes seasons before, and the big clash with the Governor never really went anywhere. That episode ended and I thought that somehow half of the broadcast had gone missing. Not good.

But I’m nothing if not loyal to my TV shows, so Walking Dead lives on in my watch list for now. Season 4′s first episode – 30 Days Without An Accident-  gave me a bit of hope for the future.

Random question for the Norman Reedus appreciation society – has the man dyed his hair?


Daryl’s hair dye find wasn’t the only thing that caught my attention. In the gap between seasons the crew seem to have found a whole heap of useful stuff. There’s a mini farm functioning in the midst of the zombie horde, Rick has acquired an iPod and Herschel has a nifty prosthetic that magically fits him and guarantees that the actor doesn’t have to fake limp everywhere to the expense of the special effects team.

Despite the fortunate acquirement of extremely specific goods I do like the jump in time. It distances this season from the ending of the third and puts the Governor firmly out of mind – great tactics for later I’m sure. It allows Carl to justify his voice breaking, allows Michonne to have sorted out a bit of distance and Daryl to have got his own in-show fan club (Norman Reedus has moved up in the billing too, kill him off at your peril producers).

As far as the actual meat of the episode, there were two main strands to feast on. Rick’s adventure with a loony Irish survivor chick, and a team expedition to an army base that unsurprisingly goes a tad haywire.  Rick’s adventure was deemed ‘pointless’ by the person I watched the show with, and whilst I can understand where that point of view might come from, it’s not what was running through my head while I watched the show.

Rick has had a hell of a time over the course of the show and season 3 saw his entire family mutilated before him. Lori died during childbirth, his son lost his humanity and Rick struggled to deal with survival whilst holding his newborn daughter, coping with the knowledge that she too was infected.

Coming across the woman was a stark reminder to Rick of what he could become, and served to remind the audience that not everything is fine and dandy with the man just because some time has passed. I enjoyed the fact that they didn’t show what was underneath the blanket, and the three questions philosophy that the group have adopted plays well with the whole ruling council idea. The group is starting to take on more of the traits of a real community, which can only mean different dynamics and plot lines – excellent.

There were a handful of new characters that got some voice time, amongst them D’Angelo from the Wire who adds to the fact that multiple black actors now seem to be allowed to appear in the show without fear of imminent death. Fresh characters are part of what the show needs to pull some decent punches, so hopefully some interesting backstory’s and character ticks will be revealed to give the newbies some hope of survival – D’Angelo is already dealing with the fact that his alcoholism cost someone his life (presumably), so I’m looking forward to seeing what other issues crop up.

The internet tells me that D’Angelo is actually Bob Stookey from the comics. I don’t remember that dude. Let’s stick with D’Angelo.


I really expected Tyreese to pick up a hammer at some point in this episode, but that disappointment aside it’s nice that he got some screen time. His character in the comic books is a lot more developed and central than it is so far in the show, so hopefully that balance is finally going to be redressed. Sasha seems to have levelled up to kick ass female warrior chick – hopefully not following in Michonne’s grumpy face footsteps before finding her voice. Another character I want to see more of is Carol. The fact that she’s teaching the kids somewhat deadly survival skills without Rick’s knowledge and that early scene with Daryl seems to hint at her having a greater prominence in this season. *fingers crossed*

Beth seems to have lost her soul but that’s not really something that bothers me. Her character up until now has primarily functioned as emotional baggage for Herschel, a weirdly inappropriate crush for Karl, and someone to sing when the show needs a reflective moment of pathos.

She’s also gone a bit Miley Cyrus. Moving on.


Is Maggie pregnant? Is she going to be soon? Do I want to see another pregnancy in the zombie apocalypse story played out? Maggie and Glenn need something new in their arc and it shouldn’t involve a baby. I forgot Glenn’s name when writing this and the dude’s been in the show AND the comics from the beginning.

Nothing really happened but the new characters and group dynamics should throw up some fresh angles for the show – I’m guessing that the extremely virulent ‘flu thing that killed off one of the new kids is going to kick off next episode. The zombies also seem to be making a comeback and it’s great to see that they are following the comics by making them a little more juicy as time goes on. 30 Days is a solid foundation for a season that I hope can give the show back some of its former glory.

Overall: Cause for hope.


Swinging from Vine to Vine

Viner Albert Birney’s creation Simply Sylvio. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/simplysylvio



If you had an idea, any idea, a funny idea, an artistic idea, a story idea, how do you think you could portray that idea in six seconds? Like advertisements on TV, on radio or even in newspapers and magazines, we’re limited to a certain time limit or word count. People actually get paid to do this for a living, but there are people who sketch their creative ideas all in just six seconds, on the not-even-a-year-old app, Vine.

Founded by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll in June 2012, bought by Twitter in October 2012, officially released as an app in January 2013 and became the most downloaded app just 3 months later, Vine has evidently evolved over a short time… but why? Why is it so addictive?

1 video = 6 seconds = 10 videos a minute. I find myself watching Vines for longer than an hour and wonder how I fell into this whirlpool. Vines are interesting, artistic, witty, a little bit ridiculous, oddly hilarious and tell the great stories of not only the user’s lives, but our lives too.

These creative minds and viewers are a part of this whirlpool of ideas, an insight into people’s lives, and like the loop feature, once you start you won’t stop; it’s way to kill time, and plenty of it. The Vine community is flourishing more and more with users (13 million of them) who are, as Mat Honan from Wired.com describes it, “distinctly younger, distinctly blacker, and distinctly, well, gayer than society in general.” (You’ll understand once you start watching)

Instead of having one consistent shot of a video (of course you can choose this option too) users are able to create various cuts in their footage to make a total of a six-second clip. You then post it on a ‘News Feed’ type page, just like Facebook, but the difference is, where the users can scroll down and watch these clips, they are on a constant loop. They’re like the infamous gifs (but with sound), and we all know how much people love gifs.

Albert Birney, a Viner originally from Delaware, now living in New York, says that he uses Vine as a “way to express” himself. For him, it’s getting the ideas, filming them, then watching people respond.

As versatile as Vine can be, none can be as unique as Birney’s character, Simply Sylvio, an “ordinary gorilla trying to live a simple life”. Birney gets his ideas for Vines “from many things in our real life, movies, weird props and stories from friends.” It’s easy for someone to think that not much effort goes into creating a six-second clip, for some Vines, that is plain to see, but for others and for Birney, sometimes it may take weeks to plan one. Storyboards are drawn up, practice Vines are made, then the final one is shot. “Other times,” Birney says, “an idea comes and we shoot right away.”

Vine is a great medium for Viners everywhere to work together. The app affected Birney’s social media use and life in a sense that he started to understand the term “social media” once he began using Vine. He says that he’s “met some amazing people… With something like Facebook you meet people in real life and then friend them on Facebook. It’s the opposite on Vine. You follow other Viners you like and comment on their videos. When I’ve met people in real life that I’d been following on Vine, it was very natural and easy. It felt like we were already friends.”

Vine holds this place of what reminds me of Judd-Apatow-like-humor; the witty dialogue, those quick cuts, some modern slapstick comedy, incredibly absurd situations and of course, the use of cameos. And who doesn’t love a great cameo?

Birney had recently done collaborations with other popular Viners, Nick Gallo, Nicholas Megalis & Jason Mente. With Birney and Gallo’s plans to team up, they ended up making a Vine short film, called ‘The Hunt’.


He simply wanted “people to watch and be entertained.”

Vine proves to be a creative medium that is not only entertaining for us, but for the users who make them. Creators like Birney are passionate about it and it’s something that is important to them. “Sylvio is real,” he says – and it is something that is real to us too.

Birney explains that the reason why he thinks Vine is such a successful app, is because people just love to watch videos. Everyone has at least once experienced becoming victim to being lost in YouTube limbo. “It’s modern channel surfing,” says Birney, “Anyone with a smart phone can make a Vine. It’s a level playing field.”

With the recent instalment of video on Instagram, it gives users more room to play with, with 15 seconds to record, various filters and allowing users to delete previous clips if you’re not happy with it (where as Vine restricts this).

With Instagram having been created around two years before Vine, and with its 130 million active Instagrammers, it is definitely one of the most well-known social media apps amongst our smart phone world.

Although, even today, people are still learning about Vine, so would the additional video time and editing features for Instagram users soon end the competition? Birney says that “Instagram videos are too long. The limitations of Vine are one of its strengths. You have to figure out how to tell your story in six seconds. Trim all the fat, and they loop.”

Marcus Johns – How I feel about Instagram getting video

Kevin Hart – First Instagram video

Eric Dunn – Vine Vs Instagram

As with Twitter, following the right people will define whether or not you like Vine. The users are different, extraordinarily creative and modern, which allows Vine’s spectators to learn more about the raw intricacies of the internet age.

A lot of people on Vine aim on making their viewers laugh, but Birney’s seem to have more meaning to them, Splitsider.com describes his ‘actual artistic talent’… but what is it that makes his so unique to other users? He says “We’re just trying to follow Sylvio on his journey. Wherever Sylvio goes, we’ll be there.” And so will his 100,000+ followers.
Favourite Sylvio moments:












“It’s so true. I so do that!”








Expert Editing



















Ridiculous (in a good way)