Tag Archives: Shane

The Walking Dead Season 2 (so far)


The second season of AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead is taking a break until February 2011 (most likely coinciding with the return of Mad Men) and for the first time since the very first two episodes I’m excited. It only took seven or more episodes for The Walking Dead to actually get decent again, especially after the horribly embarrassing season one finale. I’m willing to suspend my belief and go along for a fantastic ride on most occasions (after all, we’re dealing with corpses rising and eating the living here) but believing the CDC is a time sensitive, thermonuclear device is ludicrous. Please, prove me wrong.
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The Walking Dead episode 5

Episode 5: Wildfire

So I’m going to start my essay about episode 5 with a minor rant. I hope this doesn’t detract my piece, but, as a reader of the Walking Dead comics, I feel it necessary. The show is riffing along a different tangent at this point, taking elements from the comics, shaping them into a different beast altogether. This isn’t a bad thing. For a devoted reader it gives suspense. Nothing is predestined at this point and anything’s possible. Am I one of those people who dislike when liberties are taken with a quality text? Yes. Do I condone and even enjoy when liberties are taken? Yes. It’s not how unfaithful an adaptation is, it’s when the integrity of feeling of the original source disappears, like Robocop 2 or 3 being devoid of Paul Verhoeven’s dark brand of social comedy. A faithful representation isn’t important; it’s capturing what the original manuscript imparts. Any adaptation demonstrating this sentiment seems valid.
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Further ruminations on The Walking Dead episode three

I really like Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. I wasn’t sure if I would at first, but three episodes in I’m quite satisfied. It has a cinematic feel, the acting is pretty good, and the casting isn’t all that bad (except Andrea, who looks about 35 instead of around 25 like in the comics). Last night’s episode, “Tell it to the Frogs,” was by far the least action packed episode yet, but it was still good. As I sat at my laptop with the replay running in the background I had a few complaints that I brought up in my first post, primarily involving Rick’s reunion with his family. I felt the scene was over the top, melodramatic, and the score was cheap and contrived – bringing to mind the sounds of a Hallmark commercial. The only thing missing was a singing card congratulating Rick and company on surviving the zombie apocalypse. This overtly saccharine moment, albeit necessary, is clichéd – lowering the standards set in the first two episodes and appealing to the lowest common denominator. Rick’s emotional outburst and Morgan’s tearful reluctance in the pilot episode were about as sappy, yet the score (reminding me of Apollo era Brian Eno) bridged together Morgan and Rick’s scene; it was the glue holding together a histrionic moment and plucking it out of the mundane. The reunion from last night’s episode missed the mark due to inept scoring, which can sometimes make or break a scene. In this instance it didn’t work.
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The Walking Dead episode 3

Episode three: “Tell it to the Frogs.”

“You take that stupid hat and go back to On Golden Pond.”

The episode begins on the department store roof from the second episode. From above the camera focuses in on Merle (Michael Rooker), handcuffed to a pipe. Merle has a problem: the keys fell down a drainpipe on the previous episode and the only thing separating him from a horde of zombies is a door barricaded with a lock and chain. Merle relates a story to himself, about punching somebody’s teeth out, the time he served for it; a look of genuine satisfaction on his face. This quickly turns sour, as Merle pleads to Jesus; acknowledging his past behavior but still begging for forgiveness. Merle’s going through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief originally discussed in the book On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Following Merle’s bargaining, depression sets in and finally leads to acceptance. This is where Merle’s survival instinct kicks in and he uses his belt, attempting to reach a saw left behind by T-Dog (IronE Singleton).

Unlike the prelude from the first two episodes, this episode doesn’t feature gratuitous sex or violence. That doesn’t negate how frightening the scene is, since Merle’s actions (wonderfully executed by Rooker) are quite honest; I’m sure the best of us would react similarly in the same spot. Seeing another person at their most vulnerable is awful, displaying how Frank Darabont’s rendition of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is a multi-faceted television series. It’s cinematic, explores many features of fear and terror, and investigates social issues. Instead of relying on non-stop action The Walking Dead is primarily a character piece, exploring character traits, morality, and the human experience. Of course an army of the living dead is an excellent catalyst for watching the show in the first place, but I’ve always found the people in zombie stories more fascinating than the gore itself. This week’s episode gives you just that. It’s a character piece, furthering the protagonist and surrounding players. The episode still features a good deal of violence, but it takes a back seat.
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