Walking Dead, Discussion Three
Well here we are, the Walking Dead series lurches onward and the AMC TV show airs its Season 2 premiere next Sunday. As a conclusion to our three part discussion, we'll try to guess where the comic series may be going and discuss the relative merits of the TV show.
Maybe someone will finally lurch his lumbering mass to a prediction.
Editor's Note: Anthony is bringing the fire.
Ah, come on man, the book gives us a great cliffhanger and a huge shakeup! Kirkman milks their situation just about as long as he can (in typical fashion) and then attacks the one seemingly untouchable character: Carl. I think the book will keep the two of them together, since it is the central dynamic of the story. You?
My gut tells me Grimes gets eaten alive, having to trade his life for his son. Carl has demonstrated the skills needed to survive, he's ready. Seeing what it's like for a boy stranded in a world gone to shit is where we are headed. Carl will grow into a capable nomad of the wasteland - but still hold a deep seeded grudge for the choices his father made that stole his family away from him.
That is quite the long view to take on the series. It may be a bit of a stretch to assume we'll be getting into Zombie Apocalypse Year 20 or whatever. It would definitely make for a long TV series if things went that way.
Yeah, we've only seen about 1 year pass in the 14 trades so far. Following the same characters through to "Year 20" would sure break new ground though, wouldn't it? Regardless of what I want to see, I love the split between comic and TV series so far. The series is not hampered by trying to emulate every detail of the comic. Instead, it is carving its own way through the apocalypse, using the premise of the comics as a sounding board.
It is definitely emulating the same desperate tone, which is good but you're right that it is easing off of a straight 1:1 copy (to decidedly mixed results at times).
Wait, what do you not like about the series? Is it the plot deviations? Lacking character development? Try to remember we now have the advantage of 8 years and 14 trades of comic to compare what, 6 episodes to? Let's hear it.
It is early nitpicking on my part, for sure. The initial characterization of Rick, Glenn, Andrea and Dale is very good but the characters after that are a bit sketchy. Lori is very much the damsel in distress, Shane is a bit one note and I won't get started on the stereotypes that are T-Dog and the Dixon brothers.
For the sake of TV timeslots, I doubt we see much from characters that are going to get munched on early on. Maybe Lori bites it early on, before the pregnancy comes to term? Maybe the stereotypes you mention are going to be turned on their heads. The apocalypse may help with prejudice! It's still very hard to tell where the series is headed but we'll see how things shake out in Season 2. So, how long until Carl offs Shane? I predict by the end of episode 1 we see Shane's brains. You?
It definitely will happen this season, but I think it is going to take some time to develop Carl a bit more as the person to do it. Granted, they could have someone else kill him so I don't know. I'm more interested to see how they will move the characters along and introduce the rest.
Keeping these survivors on the move seems difficult to do in the series. We saw two primary settings during season 1: first, the camp outside Atlanta and second, the CDC. The bits with Rick travelling alone were cool, but if there are no character interactions for long periods of time we risk running in to Castaway territory! Not necessarily a bad thing -- I'd love to see an extended Rick & Carl Vs. The World arc -- but there needs to be a clear direction / goal or the series will lose steam.
In that way the conclusion of those first 6 episodes was, to me, very strong. The first story arc went a long way in setting up the desperate tone of the series. Unlike most zombie movies where the goal is to get to some lab where the cure is, the show ends with the ultimate cliff-hanger: There is no immediate rescue on the horizon.
Yup, they're screwed. Great use of that single grenade though, Rick! The whole "cure" topic was also alluded to in the books, but it turned out the guy, Eugene, leading them towards Washington was a lying SOB. Hopelessness established, now where does the show take us?
Much like the books, I foresee the show capturing the nightmare odyssey the characters are now embarking on. We have the ongoing love triangle (a TV show staple) and the looming menace of Merle Dixon (you don't cast actor Michael Rooker in your TV show and then run him off forever). What is your take on it?
Well, as you said, now that the CDC has been destroyed, the audience is now to believe there is no higher power working to aid us, no magic cure, no military aid! Our TV survivors are going to have to accept, much sooner than the comic Survivors: things are not going back the way they were, ever. We will delve in to that reality in Season 2.
Of course, but the big question is: Will we see Michonne show up at some point? The Governor? Cannibals? Hell, is a Tyrone character possible or are we left with T-Dog?
Michonne is too cool to leave out -- she's in! Unfortunately, I fear we will gloss over the plethora of dangers the comic survivors had to elude. Let's hope some of the plot points you mentioned are used to drive the survivors onward in some fashion (ie: being hunted by Merle). I think Season 2 could bring us to a safe haven like the Prison or Alexandria (the gated community), but the illusion of safety must quickly be rattled, or the show will lose momentum.
I have to believe that some of those settings will be re-used. The prison is such a great idea that the producers would be crazy to not re-imagine it for TV. I will say that the show came up with a very original new setting with the gang protecting the old age home. I remember seeing the promo for that episode and thinking it looked ridiculous. It was a nice twist to see a different gang of people also working to survive. Of course, we know there is a lot of horror in store.
Will you just predict SOMETHING?
Ok, crazy prediction: Merle returns as some sort of Governor-like character. His character was really redneck-cartoonish when he first appeared but maybe with some time off-screen he could be used more effectively. What's a crazy prediction from you?
My tirades have been chock full of predictions, but here's another one: there will be a farm and/or barn! OK I cheated, there are posters leaked for Season 2. Also, Lobster Dog will make an appearance:
Editor's Note: Despite his best efforts, Lobster Dog will not be appearing on the show.
It appears the pieces are all in place. A successful short first season, huge ratings, and a steady hand at the helm. Wait, what's that? AMC is in the process of short-changing all of its shows without the words Mad or Men in the title? Frank Darabont has been fired? Ummm, maybe our optimism is a bit too... optimistic.
Aw, man - if they cancel this show, that will be my 2 of my 3 favourite series cancelled in the last decade (only one that made it being BS: Galactica - Frak Yeah!). We'll enjoy it while it lasts, I guess. I'll be looking forward to every episode, and can't wait to contrast the two distinct but similar universes.
I wouldn't worry about cancellation just yet, the ratings are very good. To be honest, I don't want to be too pessimistic about the creative reach of the show. In general, TV shows based on comic books are pretty hard to come by. There has been talk of series based on Fables and Chew but who knows if they'll ever get made. Right now, the zombies are our best hope!
Editor's Note: Powers is currently being filmed by FX.
I wouldn't be surprised if we see an influx of post-apocalyptic survival shows pop up on other networks (enter: Falling skies!). We consumers are painted as zombies, so in this case I implore, nay, challenge HBO, FX: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Don't you see? We are the Walking Dead!! Urrrrghhhhh...