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TV Blog Buzz: Explaining the popularity of 'Walking Dead'; Amy Poehler tells all

Chad Coleman, left, as Tyreese and Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha in AMC's "The Walking Dead." Five seasons in, "The Walking Dead" marches on triumphantly more popular than ever.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-AMC-Frank Ockenfels
October 20, 2014 - 5:07 AM

Five seasons in, "The Walking Dead" marches on triumphantly more popular than ever.

The post-apocalyptic zombie series set a new ratings record with its recent season premiere by attracting more than 17 million U.S. viewers.

Time magazine explored why the dark, endlessly harrowing show is gathering more and more viewers as time goes on.

"Extreme is the new mainstream," the magazine concluded.

"It's grim — unrelentingly, punishingly (which is not to say unentertainingly) grim. It kills beloved characters; it kills children; it gives very little reason to hope that, in the long run, any human will end up anything but a walker or meat for walkers," wrote TV critic James Poniewozik, who calls the show a type of disaster escapism.

"Look, I resist over-psychoanalyzing the American public on the basis of one hit TV show or two. I don't think that 'the zeitgeist' anticipated years ago that, say, there would be an ebola outbreak in 2014 and prepared 'The Walking Dead' to resonate with it. But: if there is no such thing as a time without bad news, there's a specific cast to the bad news of today. Often, it's about systemic collapse, or the threat of it: pandemics, global financial crises, climate change and rising sea levels, the threat of mass-casualty terrorist events. In one way or another, we're constantly asked to envision how we and our own would thrive if everything went to hell and we lost all our societal supports."

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Amy Poehler knows how to sell a memoir.

In her forthcoming autobiography, "Yes, Please," Poehler has a chapter titled "Obligatory Drug Stories," which has enough stories to build buzz for the book.

Radar Online reports that Poehler cops to using a number of drugs over the years, including cocaine, ecstasy, magic mushrooms and marijuana.

"I tried cocaine, which I instantly loved but eventually hated," Poehler writes. "Cocaine is terrific if you want to hang out with people you don't know very well and play Ping-Pong all night. It's bad for almost everything else… The day after cocaine is rough."

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Image Credit: The CW/Greg Gayne

If you're looking for a new show to pick up, critics are loving CW's "Jane the Virgin."

"Like a sweeter 'Ugly Betty,' 'Jane the Virgin' is a telenovela, but one with a sense of irony and wit, simultaneously winking at and embracing its own format. It is easily the most charming new TV series of the fall, a highly stylized, big-hearted, zippy Technicolor dramedy that is also, uncloyingly, another example of network TV's growing — at least for the moment — diversity," writes Slate's TV critic Willa Paskin.

"Like 'Scandal' and 'American Horror Story,' 'Jane the Virgin' is not praying at the altar of typical prestige television, but instead, updating the wrongfully maligned melodrama in delightful, provocative, culturally specific ways. It's not self-serious, but it is serious — about being more entertaining, more emotional, more garish, and more gonzo than so much on television."

New York magazine's Vulture blog also calls the new series "miraculously good."

"This is my dream for all shows," writes Margaret Lyons. "That they have a clear idea; a way in which that idea is uniquely theirs; a cast that can give a rich, full life to those concepts; and the savviness to use both comedic and dramatic elements to explore and enrich those characters and the articulated world they inhabit. We see this in harsh, gritty dramas and in bubbly, joyous comedies, and here we see it in, of all places, a CW telenovela."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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