Whoa… how did this ever get cleared to air on American TV? I don’t care if it was at 3AM on a late nite programming block that’s explicitly marketed to adults - - this a toon with a middle school massacre as its inciting incident. People have kept saying that DEADMAN WONDERLAND is an intensely bloody and, damn, if they weren’t kidding.
This is also a damn good pilot that’s got at least five razor sharp hooks dangling off of it - - at least five. I’d definitely group it with titles like DEATH NOTE, BATTLE ROYALE and GANTZ that start off with very morbid, button-pushing premises that take your usual escapist fantasy thriller and push far outside the comfort zone immediately. No dressing it up - - the set-up here with this kid’s entire class getting butchered and him getting the blame made me pretty uncomfortable.
However, as I’ve said about T&A in the Vice Pit, if there’s intelligence behind the material and an understanding of how to properly use the more exploitative ingredients, then nearly any subject matter can be handled tastefully. This definitely is a smart show and, I guess, it’d be a bit of double standard to draw the line over this sort of violence when we’re OK with almost every other sort.
More than anything, I’m incredibly intrigued to see what comes next. This isn’t a case of me saying, “Yeah, I guess I’ll check out the next episode.” I’m legitimately hooked.
How does this diabolically satirical prison-cum-amusement-park actually work?
How long will our poor, poor lead be imprisoned in this waking nightmare?
How does candy extend prisoners' lives?
What other points of demented wisdom will the psycho girl extoll once she’s come to?
These are answers I need to have - - now!
Watch this episode, “Death Row Inmate” below and decide for yourself.