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Nerd's Eye View – Fall TV offerings bring 'Dead' to life (Nov. 19, 2014 issue)

With the fall television season now in full swing I have quite a bit to discuss in this installment. However, first I would like to say how sad I was to hear of the recent passing of Tom Magliozzi.
Those of you who have never listened to the National Public Radio show Car Talk most likely have no idea who I am talking about. But those of you who have listened to the show during its decades-long run know Tom as one half of the hilarious duo “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers.”
It was a Saturday morning ritual for me to drink coffee and listen to the show broadcast on WETS, which is our local public radio station in East Tennessee.
Along with his younger brother, Ray, Tom hosted the one-hour talk show each week. You may be thinking that I am a “car person” because I listened to the show. That, however, is not the case. I know next to nothing about cars and unless something is wrong with mine I have no interest in knowing what a spark plug or alternator does.
I listened to Car Talk because of Tom and Ray. During each show it was guaranteed the two would tease one another as only brothers can and it was always kind hearted and funny. I frequently laughed out loud along with them.
The premise of the show allowed callers with car trouble to call and ask the brothers, both of whom earned degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, what to do with that old clunker or vintage auto.
If you listened to the show you knew that Tom would ask each caller how to spell his or her name. First he would guess. For example, “Is it Kathy with a ‘K’?” He was either elated or dejected by the accuracy of his guess.
Following this ritual, the caller described his problem and the brothers did their best to identify the problem and offer advice on how to fix it. While giving their advice, the infectious personalities of the two came through the radio loud and clear. They always seemed like two guys you would want to hang out with. You could tell by listening to them they loved what they did. Plus, I know I learned a thing or two about cars that I wouldn’t know otherwise.
I’m not sure what the future of Car Talk is, but I hope reruns of the show will continue to be available. Listening to Tom and Ray tease one another and laugh hysterically can always brighten your day.
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One of my favorite television shows – The Walking Dead – returned to the small screen in October. (Spoiler alert: If you are not caught up with the show through the first four episodes and plan to watch them, I suggest you skip to the next section.)
The fifth season of The Walking Dead picked up right where the fourth left off – with Rick Grimes and his group of zombie apocalypse survivors trapped inside a rail car by the people of Terminus. At the end of last season many fans of the show who have also read the graphic novels on which it is based, including myself, believed the people of Terminus were the cannibals Rick and the gang encounter after they flee the prison. After the first episode, it was abundantly clear that the people of Terminus were cannibals.
Luckily, thanks to Carol pulling a MacGyver meets Rambo stunt, our group of survivors escaped Terminus before they became dinner for either the cannibals or the herd of walkers that had arrived at Terminus. This put them out on the open road in a world full of walkers.
They find shelter `at a church, but aren’t there long before the survivors of Terminus find them and try to get revenge. One of Rick’s friends, Bob, is kidnapped and one of his legs is used for dinner. Bob is later returned to the church, minus a leg, to scare Rick and his group. After Rick and a few others go to find the survivors of Terminus and wipe them out, the Terminus survivors arrive at the church planning to kill all who were left behind. Before they could, Rick returns and along with his friends brutally murders the Terminus survivors inside the church, bringing an end to the cannibal story line. At least I think so, though you never know what’s ahead in The Walking Dead, so who knows what will happen.
If the television show follows the plot of the graphic novels, the group will begin heading in the direction of Washington, D.C. As of the end of the third episode, some of the group – Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, Glenn, Maggie and Tara – begin their journey toward what is left of D.C., leaving Rick and the rest of the gang waiting for Daryl and Carol to return from who knows where after the pair went chasing after a car with a white cross on the back window. According to Daryl, the same white cross appeared on the car that kidnapped Beth.
At the end of episode three, Daryl emerges from the woods near the church. Michonne, who was keeping watch, spots him and goes to greet him. She asks about Carol, who hadn’t appeared from the woods. Daryl responds by telling someone to come out of the woods, but the third episode ends before we know who it is. (I have a theory, so keep reading.)
The fourth episode of the season (this column was complete on Nov. 14; the sixth episode premiered on Nov. 16, so this column only covers what has happened in the first five episodes) told viewers where Beth had been taken when she was kidnapped from Daryl. She’s not in a very pleasant place to say the least.
Beth is being held in the Grady Memorial Hospital inside Atlanta by a group of police officers under the leadership of an officer named Dawn – who is not at all a bright ray of sunshine – who is a domineering presence over those officers under her and the individuals, like Beth, who were “saved” by the group.
Turns out being “saved” puts you in debt and Dawn’s group forces you to work off this debt before you’re allowed to leave. It’s the indentured servitude of the apocalypse, I guess. Needless to say, Beth isn’t very happy with the situation, especially after she finds out that part of working off her debt could mean being frequently raped by some of the male guards.
Beth tries to escape with a new character named Noah, who is serving as a janitor and laundry worker for Dawn’s group, at the end of the episode. They successfully make it outside and Beth, who has become much tougher than when we met her in season two at her family’s farm, fights off several walkers, allowing Noah to get free from Dawn’s group. Unfortunately for Beth, she is captured by one of Dawn’s officers and is returned, at least for now, to her life of dangerous servitude.
Back inside the hospital, Beth stands in a hallway while an unconscious woman is wheeled in on a gurney. It turns out the woman is none other than Carol. It’s a small post-apocalyptic world after all!
The episode ends before the two can speak. So, we’re left wondering what happened after Daryl and Carol chased after the car. I’m assuming they had a confrontation with the officers which led to Carol’s capture, but Daryl managed to escape and return to his group at the church.
We don’t know the timeline of the events of Beth trying to escape and Carol and Daryl going after the officers in the car. My theory is that Noah and Daryl run into one another after Daryl has lost Carol and Beth helps Noah escape; therefore, it is Noah who appears with Daryl out of the woods at the end of episode three. That’s my theory, anyway.
If this is the case, no doubt Rick, Daryl, Michonne and the rest of the gang will use the information Noah has to rescue Beth and Carol. This means that a major fight is looming in a future episode.
The characters at Grady Memorial Hospital are not in the graphic novels, so I don’t have a reference point for what could happen next. After killing the group of cannibals in the graphic novels, Rick’s group doesn’t split up – the entire group heads toward D.C.
The show has frequently strayed from the graphic novels in the past and that is fine by me because it keeps me guessing. We’ll see if my guess on who comes out of the woods is right in a future episode.
The fifth episode of the season, which aired on Nov. 9, only showed us Abraham, Eugene and the rest of the group heading toward D.C.
(End spoilers)
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The late summer and fall television seasons have been interesting with several new shows that proved to be worth watching. The Strain, The Knick and How to Get Away With Murder have been three of the more interesting ones.
Also, returning to the small screen were American Horror Story and Doctor Who. I’ll discuss all of these in my next column. Until then, happy television watching to you!
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