I’ve been wanting to write something about The Walking Dead for awhile now, but for whatever reason just never got around to it. But after just watching episode 7 of Season 2 I feel compelled to get my feelings about this series out of my system. Firstly, let me start with the usual stuff.
The Walking Dead is a live action drama series from AMC. It is based on the ongoing comic series of the same name created by Robert Kirkman. Both the TV series and the comics centre on a small group of survivors of an apocalyptic Zombie outbreak, led by for Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes. The TV series was developed by renowned film Director, Frank Darabont, but he has since left the program.
The main drawcard for both the comics and TV series is that it is a story of humanity. A ragtag group of people struggling to survive in a world of pain and fear and terrible danger. It is also the story of ‘what happened next’ that we have all wondered about when watching classics of this genre like Dawn of the Dead as so forth. And let’s face it, I’m a sucker for a good (and sometimes even so bad its good) Zombie story!
The TV series differs from the comics on some key points and some people have disapproved but I for one am generally pleased with the changes. The most important change was keeping Shane around. The comic has him dispatched quite early, but his continued presence in the TV series brings much needed drama and conflict. Not all of the changes are for the better. The final episodes of season 1 saw the group make it to the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta. These are the weakest episodes of either season and almost derail the entire series. They have also changed Andrea a bit and she is one of my least favourite characters in the show. The comic version is feisty but level headed whereas the TV version is pig headed, emotional and annoying.
But despite these very minor gripes the quality of this TV series cannot be denied. The pilot episode is not only the best episode in the series so far, it is almost a masterclass of TV making, and the first few episodes of season 1 (until the awful final 2 episodes) and all of season 2 only continue to maintain that quality. None have reached the awesomeness of the pilot, but all are excellent. Then we come to episode #7.
As to be expected, I am a huge fan of the comic series. Up until the current storyline, it was the most consistently excellent comic on the racks, with a story that kept me coming back for more. I not only buy the single issues, but I also pick up the trades so I can read them again in big chunks. If you haven’t read them yourself, stop reading this article, head down to your local comic store, and buy them now (and tell ’em Nerd Culture Podcast sent ya!). The quality of the series was so good, that when a certain event happened I was so traumatized that I immediately closed the comic and vowed to never read them again. Now to give you an idea I am not squeamish by any definition of the word. I sat through Cannibal Holocaust without battering an eye, not to mention some of the earlier extremely disturbing scenes in the comic itself. But I had become so invested in these characters that when this particular event happened I just couldn’t go on. (Obviously I don’t want to spoil anything for current readers not up to this point, or possible future readers, so all I will tell you is that I’m referring to the end of issue #48). It will be no surprise that I eventually got over this and continued reading. My need to know what happened next was too strong. Now I’ve come to a similar situation with the TV series.
I watch the episodes on my iPad while travelling to and from work, and while I have enjoyed each one so far, #7 was the first to make me gasp out loud. One of my fellow travellers even asked if I was all right!
I pride myself on being able to predict the third act of a show or film, but I didn’t see this coming and I was too shocked for words. Episode #7 is without doubt the second best episode from both seasons. Not only for the magnificent ending, but also everything leading up to it. Shane’s deteriorating mental state, the deepening relationship between Glenn and Maggie, Rick pleading with Herschel to stay on the farm. It is a culmination of two of the main plotlines and doesn’t disappoint. In fact, my only negative is even against the show itself, it’s that I now have to wait until February 2012 for the next episode! Damn US TV scheduling!
Just like the comic series, if you haven’t discovered The Walking Dead TV series I implore you to give it a go. If you value good human drama and/or Zombies, you will not be disappointed.