on January 2, 2012
I'm not much for zombie shows or movies of any kind. It's the human aspect of the show that drew me in. What they do, how they survive, the relationships that are made when the basic tenents of society as we know it have been broken down. I'd watch something like that even if there were no zombies. However, the zombies aspect of this show adds a wonderful scary element of danger that can't help but make one wonder what they themselves would do in such a situation. This is a drama. It's people plucked out of every day life and dropped into a new and terrifying world that looks exactly the same. It's about how they survive. It's not meant to be about zombies macking on people for an hour. Though the fact that that could happen does make it interesting. The zombies themselves are disgustingly well done and gross and the gore is quite graphic and realistic. When a zombie bites into someone's neck and rips the flesh free and blood spurts and sprays...it looks real. There is a very disgusting scene involving a well in Season 2 that I will not go into other than to say...Wow. I've seen R rated horror movies that weren't that well done or dramatic. Granted, the zombies are thankfully dense and sheeplike and they have only one purpose. To feed. On you. Add in a little imagination as to how you would survive in such a world and the show is quite compelling.
I wont get into characterization too much other than to say there is a hodge podge to choose from. Some you will like, some you wont. Some will be easy to identify with and others will really make you think about what choices YOU would make in their place. All will surprise you at some point and you may just cheer for the most unlikely of hereos as well as the obvious ones. If you can handle the gore - this is a show not to be missed.
I read the first 12 issues of Robert Kirkman's epic graphic novel The Walking Dead back in 2006. Late fans to the story can now pick up the first 48 issues of the graphic novel in a convenient single work titled The Walking Dead: Compendium One. As of today, Kirkman has published almost 100 issues in the series (that I now anxiously check my mailbox for every month).
What's all that mean? It means that there are years and years of TV seasons ahead if AMC stays the course of excellence that it has so far done in the first two seasons. Why? Because as far as the graphic novel issue-by-issue storyline parallel to the TV series goes, I would guesstimate that the TV series is MAYBE through only about the first dozen issues.
Has the TV series taken some liberties and made changes to the story(ies) presented in the graphic novel? Sure. But are those liberties just as well told as Kirkman originally laid out? So far so good. Actually, so far: excellent! Kirkman's oversight has brought The Dead to life in this surprisingly fabulous adaptation of the graphic novel series. Why surprisingly? Because it is a rare occasion that a film or TV adaptation is as good as and so true to the source material. This is one of the best shows on TV.
The Walking Dead continues the story of (former) Police Officer Rick Grimes and his band of normal-world-refugees across a world suddenly infected by a Walking Dead sickness. Civilization has been replaced by vicious hordes of the undead. But at its core, the story is much less about zombies and more about what happens to society, its morals, laws and standards when government is lost and the planet becomes mostly uninhabitable. There's real, heartfelt emotion in The Walking Dead series combined with believable scenarios.
Rest assured, there is no lack of unfathomable chaos and horror in Season 2 of The Walking Dead...although like I said...not just because of the zombies, but mainly as a result of human survivors in desperate situations that must do the unthinkable to stay alive. Fans of the graphic novel will be screaming for Season 3 because of Season 2's final episode cliffhanger glimpse of a certain person and place to come.
The Walking Dead is a compelling, thought provoking drama. And if you can't wait until the next season, the good news is you can cheat and start reading the graphic novels if you want to get ahead.
Check it out.
on December 1, 2011
Oh man, this show has it all. Have you ever watched a scary show or movie & been screaming at the characters, "what in the hell are you doing man! Don't go off in the dark alone! Don't leave your gun! Moron!!!" Well, this is one of the very first shows where I see people making decisions similar or identical to the ones I would make in the event of a zombie apocolypse. Sounds corny but it is a great show! I think probably my favorite show I've seen in years!
on September 9, 2012
Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors have escaped from Atlanta. Making for Fort Benning and the hope of rescue, the group is waylaid on the highway by a horde of walkers. With one of the group missing and another severely injured, they find a safe haven at a nearby farm and the hope of a new home. But as the days and weeks pass, the unresolved tensions in the group threaten to tear it apart.
The second season of The Walking Dead picks up shortly after the events of the first. Whilst the first only had six episodes to tell its story, the second has thirteen, giving it more time to explore the premise and characters.
Things get off to a strong start in the first few episodes, which focus on the confrontation on the highway and the attempts to bring the group back together. New characters - the Greene family - and a new location - a large farmstead - are introduced and events unfold with some vigour. However, after the third episode the story bogs down a little as characters start spinning their wheels at the farm. This is where the ramifications of a major pre-season production crisis - a budget cut that infuriated showrunner Frank Darabont and saw him leave the series - are at their most noticeable. Whilst the budget problems ground the series for a little too long at the farm, the producers do make the most of the money they do have. The zombie effects are a cut above the more variable effects of the first season and there are some truly gruesome moments that equal the most visceral scenes of any zombie movie that comes to mind.
The long pause at the farm does allow some effective character development, particularly of Shane (Jon Bernthal), whose growing disillusionment with the group and his inability to accept the new status quo and move on is depicted quite well, even if the story does take a few too many episodes to come to a head. However, probably the best characterisation is left to Daryl (Norman Reedus), who evolves from the quieter brother of racist redneck Merle in the first season into a conflicted, complex character who refuses to fit easily into any stereotype. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), our main protagonist, gets a little lost in the mix this season with storylines focusing mostly on other characters, but comes back strong towards the end of the season as he starts to show signs of not handling the stress of command very well. However, his dynamic with Herschel (Scott Wilson) and the twists and turns it goes through is fascinating, with Herschel moving from a pacifistic man of faith to shotgun-wielding zombie-slayer under Rick's (not entirely laudable) influence. The introduction of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) as a love interest for Glenn (Steven Yeun) also adds a rare glimmer of sunlight to a dark season.
Whilst the season does suffer from some slow pacing in its central section, it remains highly watchable, and the pacing issue is mitigated considerably on DVD without a week-long break between each episode. There are some effective moments of dark humour (the 'zombie well' scene is hilarious), the writing is pretty good and the actors mostly effective. Aside from the pacing issue, the character of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) suffers the worst from inconsistent writing and motivations, which the actress does her best to make sense of but can't quite sell.
Events culminate in a fairly epic two-part season finale in which the bubbling tensions within the group boil over and the biggest battle between the survivors and the zombies to date takes place. Despite some longeurs and niggling problems, Season 2 (****½) ends on a high that leaves a lot of balls in the air for the third season and its promise of introducing some of the best characters and storylines from the comic book to the TV series. The series is available now in the UK (DVD, Blu-Ray) and USA (DVD, Blu-Ray).
on March 12, 2012
I was a big fan of season one and I will say that season two had a slow start but picks up big time midway through the season. Even though it is a "slow" start, it is not a "bad" start. I think many people were expecting the same thrills we experienced in season one. Season two has a lot more dialogue and character development which, although not as exciting, becomes necessary for later episodes to be as suspenseful as they are. Seriously, after around the halfway mark, the episodes are more thrilling and fun than the first season.
on October 31, 2011
If you're unfamiliar with the comics on which this show is based, it might be helpful to know the title could just as easily be "Desperation" since this whole concept is exploring the depth of humanity: how far will you go to keep your family safe, save your son, and be with your wife? What's one life worth compared with another? Whose life? What about your own? These sorts of questions are the root of the series. Obviously, any basic philosophy class deals with these issues, so to keep it interesting to people like me zombies are thrown in there as the catalyst forcing the questions to find resolution.
In this episode we start to see some of the characters coming together into the cohesion the comics are so highly regarded for. Mainly, Shane comes into his own. It's a slow burning wick to be sure, but the payout is so, so worth it. I was definitely impressed. Rick and Lori as well, although they're a tad more relatable. Glenn, Maggie, Dale, and Andrea all turn in solid performances that build their characters and it's great to see some teetering on the brink while others are grounded in their resolve. (Daryl is great too, but hey, it's Norman Reedus. The sky is also blue, in case obviousness isn't your strong suit.) And of course, the whole point of watching the show, the zombies that give chase to Shane and Otis are well done and convincing. The entire sequence in the high school was all around solid.
Very well crafted piece of entertainment. Handshakes all around.
on March 12, 2012
Finally I think we are seeing what Dr. Jenner was telling Rick back at the CDC. The virus has now mutated into a non-blood borne pathogen. This has nothing to do with the weapon being used with some sort of residual residue on it like when Rick is forced to stab Shane. If you remember, Shane broke the neck of the captured gunman, and he turned into a walker also, without any bites or scratches, just like at the public works facility and the two security guards. The look that Rick gave when he saw the two security guards reflected a look of "of course...I knew that".. He also gave the same look when confronted with seeing Shane become a walker as well. This is telling that perhaps the virus has now become an airborne virus, and no longer requires blood contact, like the avian and swine flu virus became. If this is the case, then the risk is even higher now. Anyone who came close to a walker and had them breathe into their face may now become a walker. At the public works facility, Rick had three walkers on top of him breathing into his face also. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
The captured gunman told Shane that the camp he came from was 5 miles up the road. With all of the shooting going on around the farm, the people at that camp have to know that somewhere in the vicinity of this farm there are other people. This is going to bring the group of thirty to the farm for a huge showdown soon. Being in the Army for over 25 years, I can tell you that 5 miles is nothing when it comes to hearing a gunshot, especially alot of them. I would not put it past the director of the walking dead to have the group of thirty's leader none other than Merle, Darryl's brother.
So, we have three threats now... The group of walkers coming across the field to the farm, The group of thirty, and the possible airborne virus confronting them. Everyone is at risk. So, this leads me to a very, very disturbing subject...
Will Lori have her child as the first hybrid walker? Will the possible airborne threat enter through her bloodstream and create a baby who has already been infected as a walker? How is that for a WTF for you?
Already establishing itself as one of the best written and produced shows on TV, The Walking Dead ended Season 2 in fine form with a tour de force of gripping action sequences, dramatic set pieces and most importantly the final move from the farm to the prison.
Rick finally drops his nice-guy-mister-policeman routine and tells everyone to put up or shut up, squarely setting the tone for what lies ahead. A couple of major characters meet their demise and overall it feels like the cast has been resharpened to eliminate the less interesting characters and enable the more engaging ones to take up more screen time.
Personally, I couldn't have hoped for a better finale. This season at times became stuck at the farm and wallowed in the Rick-Shane love triangle story - the finale put these issues behind us and showed that the writers have plenty more material ahead.
on November 14, 2011
If you read the comics then you pretty much expected a few slow episodes to set things up. I understand why people want to see more zombies, but I also understand why the writers are only giving us a couple at a time. If every week we watched a zombie army attack the camp we would all become numb to it and when the story called for an epic zombie bloodbath it would just be another drop in the bucket.
The thing that surprises me the most about all of these episodes is how closely they follow the comics. I expected the writers to go where ever they wanted but they're staying pretty true to the original story. So as a fan of the comic I couldn't be happier watching the comic being brought to life for TV. Before the late 90's any comic to TV or Movie adaptation was pure garbage and rarely even attempted. I guess that's why I think this show is so great.
on August 28, 2012
holy crap - when the UPS fellow came to my door today with my package containing my limited edition version of this series set, i was shocked. the box was gigantic! i opened it up thinking that perhaps amazon used a much bigger packing box as they usually do for my orders... but nope, the walking dead limited edition box was itself huge as well! i've got to say, this is the best limited edition bluray release i have ever purchased. i knew it was going to be pretty good in terms of quality, given that the zombie head is a creation of mcfarlane toys, but i didn't expect it to be THIS good. it's not only life-sized, but it's also very life-like (well, as life-like as a rotting zombie head gets). fantastic job on the packaging of an even more fantastic show. if only my season 1 bluray set had such a container! if anyone out there is wondering whether spending the additional 30 bucks for this edition is worth it, i can state with absolute certainty that it is TOTALLY worth it.