show creator: Frank Darabont
starring: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies
first aired: October 16, 2011
based on the comic book series "The Walking Dead" by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore & Charlie Adlard
As much as I would love to praise the continuation of "the Walking Dead" series, its difficult when there are so many things I dislike, disagree and think could have been averted. To list off, forcing your creator away, lowering the budget, creating scenarios that drags the show and not taking advantage more of plot points or events from the comics. All of this in my opinion, lower "the Walking Dead" from its upstanding first season, to another good TV show that has lost its way, too early.
The group of survivors lead by former cops Rick Grimes and Shane. Try to regroup and continue on to safety after then sad events of the first season. There journey takes them down south to a farm owned by doctor Hershel and his family. There Rick's group and Hershel will try to live a normal life once again. Whatever that may mean in a zombie world. Rick and Shane will be at constant odds on how to save the group and move forward. Rick's honor will be tested, Shane's true colors will be shown and the group will be put at odds on the direction there going. Living amongst the Walking Dead isn't as difficult, as having inner turmoil and conflict.
Many people do love this show and its not often that I hear negative criticism. There are still reasons to watch the show, as its still better than most of the competition. The show is though falling into the category of not reaching its potential. When you get Frank Darabont to be the creative force to one of the best written comics in history. Then you better keep him. I wished I could say, that show's fall in quality was due to previously written material. But its not that much of a coincidence, that the second Darabont left, quality left with him.
I'm not going to go on and lay my concerns solely on the show straying away from the comics. That would make me too much of a fan boy and I also believe its a good idea that they do so. I love when you can combine your own ideas with the original plot and mesh them well. Films have done that greatly, so could TV.
The issue more isn't what they place in extra or were they divert from the source material. Its that the show dosen't drags its plot to far. Each episode seems to drag each situation to unbearable lengths. When the episode ends, you wished you could see more. Not because you loved it, but because you didn't see enough that was worth it.
Another occurrence of mediocrity, is in the shows handling of existing and new characters. Some of the introductions this season have been stellar like with Hershel and his daughter. But when it comes to the other members of the farm, you could just say, that there entry is laughable and there presence is only meant to the level of filler. Best example is with the suicide story sub-plot of episode 2.10. To much time spent on one character we barely know and don't care if she meets her fate or not.
Which brings us to the original characters of the first season. Like redneck Darryl. For several episodes we've been shown of his connection to Carol. Its been shown, and shown and shown but with no pay off. With Carol's daughter missing. They were searching and searching and again searching. With Rick son's injury. He was hurt and in pain and might die. Every climax we reach is good, but takes far too long to get there. Rick Vs. Shane has been the theme of the season. Did we really need to state there adversity at every turn, every episode and make dramatic scenes to state this over and over again. So once we get to the final showdown, we just want it over with.
My criticism could continue even further. I could nitpick and bitch, but there is no point. How the characters change there stance on things, from one second to the other. Or how huge amounts of ammo are wasted, but we never see them reloading. In short, "the Walking Dead" has become a show, to focused on the petty events of a group that bitter and fight over the same issues for over a season long. Every event takes importance and wastes too much time to solve or to get through. This has made me lose my patience with the show, as I had high hopes. I'm more pissed with the fact that the show, went from being the hit with drama and zombies. To the show that dragged things along, as if they didn't know what to do. (We don't need filler!)
Once you've read the source material, you expect better. As a fan of the comics, I expected more than just being different, but also being good. The story though, is not the only place to take a hit in the second season. It also has been the budget of the show. In the first season, you saw movie level of zombie blood, bodies, effects and set pieces. Season 2 with its greater episode count, lowered the budget substantially and it shows. Bodies look less detailed, blood effects more noticeably fake and zombie less threatening and unique.
Lastly the connection to the comics has to be mentioned. As a adaptation, you pick and choose what to put and what to exclude. What I have never understood in adaptions in general, is the need to exclude the pacing elements, that would benefit the story and the inclusion of characters and filler material that only ruin the experience. The best thing the show has done, is keeping Shane. Compared to his fate in the comics. The show's worst accomplishment is its pacing, and making character episodes into long dialogue exposition. Instead of creating action, character development and plot progression.
"The Walking Dead" is becoming from the best horror zombie show on TV that we were all proud of, to the show that fell way under its potential. I mean, its still better than a lot of other shows. But if things don't change with its third season. Then, Ill be first to say, put it out of its misery (Cancellation). The most obvious things that need to be done are: raise the budget or order less episodes, move the plot quicker, make episodic arcs or season arcs to resemble the comics, have more antagonists and create a overall purpose or goal for these characters. If this dosen't change, then we will bitch some more..