What did you think of that weird black and white time jump thing AMC’s The Walking Dead had going on in the season 6 premiere episode? Let’s have a look at why this format was chosen in Episode 1 of The Walking Dead and whether it was successful.
SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information about season 6, Episode 1 (entitled “First Time Again”) of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed all available episodes.
Episode 1 of the season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead contained, in between the current time events, flashbacks. These flashbacks were black and white footage spliced in between the current time colored footage. While The Walking Dead has used time hops and flashbacks in the past, this color-coded effort is something entirely new. Tech Insider spoke to The Walking Dead’s executive producer and the director of Episode 1, Greg Nicotero, and asked him why they chose the black and white footage to show the time changes.
“We took sort of a rather bold move because we wanted to play with our non-linear timeline. We wanted to sort of make sure it wasn’t confusing for the audience, so we had initially explored the idea of doing a desaturated flashback versus an oversaturated present-day.”
So, the plan was to originally have an oversaturated version of The Walking Dead. As Greg Nicotero explained to Tech Insider, this didn’t work, instead it made the present day look more like something out of The Wizard of Oz rather than the zombie apocalypse.The effect also made the walkers look prettier than they should, so Nicotero decided to bleed out the color in the flashbacks instead.
But why even differentiate with a change in color? Why not just do what The Walking Dead usually does and show the flashbacks in the same color as the present time? Well, considering just how much time hopping was done in Episode 1 of The Walking Dead season 6 premiere, it was decided the episode would have been too confusing if left all in the same color.
While ET Online found the black and white flashbacks “a visually compelling storytelling tool,” others were not as eager about the format. Lenika Cruz from The Atlantic was not at all impressed with the effect. The episode “moves back and forth in time, indicated by badly rendered black-and-white scenes,” she said in her recap of the episode. Her partner in the recap, David Sims, was just as condemning, calling the black and white effect “unforgivably bad.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, it seemed AMC made sure people were aware of why they were using black and white footage to get the message across. Sonequa Martin-Green (who plays Sasha in The Walking Dead) was one of the cast members online during the season 6 premiere ready to answer questions from fans. It wasn’t long before someone asked about the color differentiation.
For clarity. This episode plays with time a lot so there needed to be differentiation. https://t.co/RBgjqxLEx6
— Sonequa Martin-Green (@SonequaMG) October 12, 2015
And it seemed, while the black and white footage helped to explain the time hopping, it didn’t help with explaining what was going on. Many fans on Twitter were not sure why there was a massive herd in Episode 1 and how that many ended up in the quarry to start with. Once again, Sonequa Martin-Green and Twitter came to the rescue.
While some found the flashbacks confusing or not to their taste, at least fans now know why AMC released all those black and white portrait images for season 6 of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 18, 2015.
What did you think of the black and white footage being used in Episode 1 of The Walking Dead’s season 6 premiere? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!
[Image credits: AMC / Gene Page]