Before I get into the quoted posts, I want to add that the Dark Ages never happened, especially not as some sort of Dung Age where every smelled, everything went backwards, and horses were replaced by coconuts to save money.
The Roman Empire didn't actually fall till about 1453, if you want to be technical. In Western Europe, many people didn't even truly notice that the empire went away--they knew that they paid their taxes to some guy named Heinrich or Henri instead of Pacifius Decimus Imperator Caesar, but life went on quite well.
At best a few cities became smaller in size.
I think I have two problems with this show and it will bug me until they are either addressed or rectified:
The backdrop on this show is that it's set 15 years into the future after the blackout. To me, this is almost as if the writers said we don't want to go to a deeper level and actually show what life is like right after the lights went out and how Humanity de-evolves into what we've seen. It's the writers saying, let's set the show 15 years into the future where society is somewhat stable...
While I wouldn't mind seeing more of the meat of the collapse, I don't mind that they set the series after things had settled down a bit. I think their plan is not so much a story about the collapse of civilization but a story about rebuilding it. Having the first season or three be about people starving to death and eating each other would probably mean they'd never get to tell a story about the reconstruction.
This kind of ties into problem one, but it was something that irked me last night and that was how clean everything looked.
Yeah, things are well too preserved. Big cities should have burned without fire departments after everyone left to find food. A lot of the small towns they pass through seem to have suffered a hurricane rather than 15 years of neglect, but I can chalk that down to suspension of disbelief (I'll just ignore what they can't do on a TV budget) and think that maybe some of the small towns survived longer than the cities.
But I can understand things being clean and well maintained--though they still look too pretty. The heart of this show isn't that people became 18th century types again, they just lost their technology. Knowing what we know about disease, as long as people have access to clean enough water I can see them taking the time to keep themselves clean--even if that means washing their clothes in a lake and taking a swim while they dry. People were dirty in the past (when they were dirty) because they didn't know any better, not because they were unconcerned with cleanliness. Cultures that cared about keeping clean, kept clean. If nothing else, think of the Roman baths.